Few things in life have left me this stumped. I am not usually so easily ruffled but the incident from last week has left me questioning my own ability to face the many curve balls that life tends to throw at us.
My kids and I went for a routine dental cleaning appointment last week. It all started out uneventfully with me exchanging the usual string of meaningless pleasantries with the receptionist at the front desk. Before I could finish enquiring after her hairdresser’s new neighbor from Bimini, we were herded in to a private room to meet a person that I have come to greatly admire. Our oral hygienist! Usually I can get away with colorfully exaggerating the truth with anyone. Well, almost anyone because this guy is very hard to fool. He can take one quick peek at my teeth and know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. All it takes is one little disapproving shake of his head to make me feel very small and that, my friends, is no ordinary feat considering the fact that I look like the poster child of ‘chubby cheeks’. Two minutes of facing him, his folded hands and narrowed eyes, I am usually ready to confess my sins, both real and imaginary.
As my kids were the first ones to be attended to, I was politely asked to step outside the room and wait. This meant that I had at least 30 minutes of free time sitting on a couch waiting for my turn. I decided not to be frivolous and spend the whole time admiring the many shiny models of fake white teeth artfully spread around the room. It is not that I wasn’t entertained by those perfectly sculpted white teeth but you have to admit that if you have seen one set of teeth, you have seen them all. Anyway, unwilling to waste those precious minutes, I got busy indulging a great passion of mine.
There sitting in the middle of my dentist’s office, to the utmost horror of my children, I cleared my voice and started practicing a carnatic composition in ‘Punnagavarali’ ragam that I had recently learned. I am positive that I heard whimpering noises from behind the closed doors of the room but I chose to ignore it as always.
I confess, I do have this nasty habit of breaking out into song in public places with a blatant disregard to the sensibilities of those around me and I guess waving fingers in public by way of putting ‘talam’ doesn’t help my image either. Ok, so I have very little talent but honestly, does it justify my kids’ behavior? Every time I step out of my home and open my mouth, my children publicly disown me these days. Is that any way to treat the one that lugged you around for 9 months in a very small pouch inside of her? Is fairness just a fairytale, I ask you.
Call me the Queen of digression today. I haven’t even come to the point yet. At last my turn came to go in and see the oral hygienist. I went through the routine motions of pleading guilty to not flossing every night and eating sweets regularly before going to bed. This confession left me feeling cleansed so much so that I ended the session profusely thanking him for absolving my sins. In walked the Dentist now for one last check up of my teeth before I would be let out. I obliged her and dutifully lay down on the dentist chair courageously looking up at a light that could very well be Sun’s evil twin. So there I was, with my mouth stretched wide open so my dentist could quickly look in and pronounce me healthy until next visit and what did she do? Deciding to take a break right at that time, she relaxed, put her feet up and started sharing the happy memories of her recent vacation with me.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love my dentist. She is as awesome as awesome can be. It is just that I wanted to get out of that office before the combined sound of three growling stomachs got public attention. In a few more minutes, I knew that we had to start shouting to be heard over all that growling. As the clock continued to tick away with the dentist showing no sign of stopping, I decided to help speed things up. Angling my head towards her face all the while nodding enthusiastically to her remarks, I stretched my mouth open even wider (if that is possible) and put on the most pitiful look I could manage. My idea helped but only for a second. She came out of her happy memories long enough to stuff two pieces of big, thick rubber pads in between my teeth to help keep my jaws open and frozen in position.
And that is when I faced the toughest challenge of my life. The curiosity bug apparently bit my dentist when I had turned away for a second because now suddenly she wanted to know all about my family’s last vacation – our destination, transportation preferences, favorite cuisines, tolerance to sunburn and even more. Hmmmm.....wait a second! Wasn’t she the one that just put a rubber gadget between my teeth so I couldn’t move my jaws? Wasn’t it obvious that I was in no position to answer even nature’s call at that very moment let alone her questions? Did she know a secret way to talk with one’s mouth wide open? Did I not look pathetic enough lying on the table with my mouth stretched open trying to howl the answers to her questions? For that matter, did my ‘Ewewewew......uhuhuhuh....awawawawa’ really answer her questions? It just goes to show that one can never be prepared for everything in life.
Got any interesting dentist stories to share?