By the time I was 17, I’d had five years of braces, all four wisdom teeth taken out and two root canals, which were the result of my over-zealous orthodontist and his too-tight braces.  Anyway.

Like lifts, if I were afraid of dentists, I’d be screwed.  I’m not afraid of them.  Even with all my previous ‘work’, I hadn’t had a regular old lay-off-the sugar-please cavity, until my new dentist found two last month.

I know the difference between good dentists and bad dentists.  I liked my old one.  My new one is a sadist.

The only time I read tabloids is when I’m in a waiting room.  I was flipping through one on Monday, not particularly nervous.

I wasn’t bothered at all until they called me in.  While I transferred from chair to chair, the dental assistant put her hands on me. On my hips.  Without asking.  Now, I have a, shall we say, Can You Touch This? Questionnaire.

It goes like this:

Did I ask you to help me?

Are you any of the two people who made me?

Do I like you?

Are we friends?

Have we drank/laughed/slept together?

Are you my boyfriend?

If you can’t answer Yes to any of these questions, don’t touch me.  Even to help.  Because I lose my balance when people grab me.  Which doesn’t help.

I told her to let go and got into the chair.  And the dentist said ‘Well done!’ as if I was 3, and not nearly 30.

Getting back to the reason for my visit, even the novocaine jabs hurt, and most of it apparently landed on my tongue.  And I think the dentist got a little to drill-happy.  She said at one point, ‘Oh, look!  There’s still some left!’, and started drilling some more.

And I know that dentists like to talk to you when you can’t really speak.  I was expecting to nod in agreement when she said the weather was turning colder.  But she didn’t mention the weather.  She was more interested in how I took a shower in the morning.  With soap and water, like everyone else.    I didn’t smell of anything except maybe fear, so she had no reason to know my morning routine.

When she finally finished inflicting all kinds of pain, she asked, ‘How are you?’

‘…’Ine.  Ow ur oo?’   I then found my tongue, and said that what just happened was worse than two root canals.  It would have been better if she hadn’t slept through Small Talk 101 in dental school.

I went to the desk to get my 6 month appointment card.  And the receptionist asked if I lived in ‘sheltered housing’.   All housing is sheltered.  The walls, windows and roof keep my boyfriend and I sheltered from inclement weather and ignorant people.  Thanks so much for asking.  Have a nice day.

I came home and watched this.  Even though it hurt to laugh.

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