One of the things on my to-do list before leaving town was to get my dental cleaning out of the way.
I kept putting it off for obvious reasons.
I mean, it's the dentist.
So I called yesterday hoping they wouldn't be able to squeeze me in.
No such luck.
If I had wanted a haircut, or maybe a massage, I'm certain that I wouldn't be able to get an appointment.
But the dentist?
"Oh, no problem. How about tomorrow at 2pm?"
Do you think they know that no one likes to go see them?
But off I went at 2pm like a good patient.
It was the slowest cleaning of my life. Painstakingly slow.
Like 5 minutes per tooth slow.
This is weird, because my teeth are not that dirty. I know, because I spend about an hour before I go to the dentist brushing, flossing, and scraping any last food or plaque particle from every tooth surface. I'm a touch obsessive about it.
Then I have to explain why my gums are swollen and bleeding before I even get in the chair.
I think I have a mental hangup about the dentist.
You see, I was a good kid. I never got in trouble and I always got good grades.
I was a people-pleaser, and getting a good report in any event was important to me.
And I can still remember hearing that I had my first cavity.
I felt like a second class citizen.
I was so sure that the dentist would think I didn't brush.
But I did! I promise!
And my mom would check our mouths using this scary sharp implement from her sewing basket to scrape our teeth to see if she could get anything off.
If so, back to the sink.
(Incidentally, that was about the only instrument my mother ever used from her sewing basket. Hi, Mom! Remember how you used to try to keep us from joining any plays at church because you didn't want to have to sew the costumes? If I never win an Academy Award, know that I will always blame you.)
And yet, year after year, cavities and more cavities.
Apparently I have "soft" teeth. And a Swedish Fish addiction.
Back to today. The technician kept asking me questions, and then we would slow down the whole process when I stopped to answer them. Why do they ask questions when they have their hands in your mouth?
It's a mystery.
And do you know what else?
I have a cavity.