Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I Come Not To Clean Your Gums But To Praise Them

I realized today that there is nothing that I can achieve in life that is likely to garner me quite so much praise as what I receive from my dental hygienist after I show marked improvement to the health of my gums.
“Bravo,” she said, “They’re beautiful!”
Seriously, I never get as much praise for anything else I do.
Draw a picture that I put a lot of work into and am extremely proud of?  Greeted by collective yawns, if even that.
Write an especially entertaining, canny, insightful, and incisive Threshold entry?  Rolled eyes and a jerking off motion.
So it was quite a treat to be greeted with such gushing praise over the fact that my gums aren’t as swollen and red as they were six months ago given that the things that I actually take some amount of pride in (theoretically at least) generally receive a lukewarm response at best.
I have to admit, though, that I was a bit nonplussed by her exuberance, and I’m not sure what to make of being told that my tongue, like my gums, is beautiful.
Still, I guess you have to admire someone who can get so excited about her work.
The ironic thing is that for the past few days the thought that I had a dentist appointment today was pissing me off.
It wasn’t that I felt any sort of anxiety, and I knew that it wouldn’t take too long, but as my time off was coming to a close I found myself resenting the fact that someone else was placing a demand on what time I had remaining.
My mood didn’t improve any when I was getting ready to head off for my appointment and found that I didn’t have any water.
I did the best I could with the water in my Brita pitcher, which at least allowed me to brush my teeth.  I tried this trick I’d heard about years ago on the long-since departed X Show on FX which was presented in a sequence on tips for men who have to get somewhere in a hurry and don’t have the time or the resources to properly clean up.  The tip involved mixing a small amount of shampoo with water and using that to rinse your hair.  It doesn’t get it properly clean, but does at leas cut down on the greasiness.
As for the rest, I made use of some wet naps and lots of deodorant.
The most irritating thing was that I couldn’t shave, as I’d had too much growth to use the electric, and not enough water to shave with a disposable.
The end result was that I looked pretty skeezy when I arrived, but that seemed to be okay, as the hygienist was distracted by my beautiful gums and tongue.
While I was sitting in the waiting area I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between the two girls working at the desk.
The kind of cute girl with the big boobs was asking the tiny and cute Asian girl what state “MS” stands for.
She said, “Is it Massa-Mass-that state I can’t pronounce?”
I told her that it was Mississippi and she thanked me, but it turns out that whatever record she was looking up was incorrectly labeled anyway, and was, in fact, in Massachusetts, or, as she said it, very slowly and with deliberation, only to be greeted with laugher from myself and the Asian girl, Mass-a-shu-chetts.
After the comedy stylings of the girl with the big boobs was over and the hygienist had stopped gushing over my gums, it was on to the actual cleaning.
The hygienist said, “I’m going to use the cavitron on you.”
Not knowing what that was, but assuming that she knew what she was talking about, I said that was fine.
She went on to add that because my gums were so nice this was my little “bonus.”
After saying this she then attacked my gums with some sort of drill-like device that was considerably more painful than the usual poking, picking, and prodding you associate with getting your teeth cleaned.
She explained that she was going below my gum line – hence the discomfort – and that this was “really good for my gums.”
Perhaps so, but when I think of getting a bonus I don’t usually think of something that hurts me and makes my gums bleed.
I was thinking more along the lines of a gift certificate or something.
(Okay, honestly I was thinking hand job, but I wasn’t honestly expecting that.)
Once the cleaning – complete with painful, bloody bonus – the dentist came in, saw that I had a broken filling, and told me to schedule an appointment for that.
After that it was off to the desk and the girl with big boobs who scheduled my next check up.  I then told her about the filling and we settled on next Tuesday at 9:50 for that, but just as she was about to enter it in that slot was no longer available, as the Asian girl had managed to sneak in and schedule the woman she was talking to for that time.  We picked a time a half an hour later in the day and she wrote it down on a statement which she handed to me and told me to ignore the part where it says I owe them $109 because I don’t owe them anything and she doesn’t know why it says I do.
Oh, and for anyone out there wondering why I didn’t (and haven’t) tried hitting on the cute Asian girl or the cute girl with the big boobs, the Asian girl is married (to the dentist, I think), as is the cute girl with the big boobs (though presumably not to the dentist).  The hygienist is not quite so cute as the other two but is attractive, but that’s irrelevant anyway.  See if you can figure out why on your own.
From there I went off to Wal-Mart, my teeth feeling clean but chalky the way they always do after a cleaning, to pick up X3 on DVD.
If I’d known when I was going to get out of the dentist’s I might have contacted Kathleen ahead of time to see if she wanted to meet for a late lunch, but once I was out I figured it was too last minute to bother contacting her.
From Wal-Mart I went on to the Dulles Town Center to stop at the “Borders Express,” formerly Waldenbooks, and pick up a copy of Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman’s new collection of short stories which was recently released.
I got there and assumed that it would be with the new releases.  It wasn’t.  Nor was it with any of Neil’s other books.  I was just about to go so far as to – ugh – ask for assistance, when I noticed a couple of copies of it on the bottom shelf in a nondescript little display of assorted books that were arranged facing away from the storefront.
When I was paying for it I demanded of the cashier, “Why was this hidden?”
I tried to explain what I meant, but she had no idea what I was talking about and looked at me as though I were some sort of raving homeless person standing on a street corner proclaiming that the CIA has planted nanobots inside of shampoo that literally brainwash you and make you obedient to the orders of the Knights Templar, so I didn’t pursue the issue any further.
Anyway, the point is that if you’re looking to buy Fragile Things at a Borders Express you might have to search for it.
Once I got home I found that I still didn’t have water and was planning to walk down to the office to see who I needed to complain to after I ate my late lunch/early dinner, but while I was eating I heard the gurgling and spitting of air moving through my pipes as the toilet tank filled up.
So after eating it was time to shave and shower and get back to feeling at least mostly human again.
In any case, my vacation is finally over, and though I really didn’t do much I certainly spent plenty of money, and, honestly, probably had about as much fun as I would have been likely to have if I had gone somewhere.

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