Thursday, July 28, 2011

Naked at the Dentist

   What was I thinking when I scheduled a dentist appointment just a couple of days after vacation and quite early in the morning?  There is no excuse for it.  I should know myself and my tendencies better than this by now.  This combination of circumstances always leads to personal disaster.

   I did at least remember the appointment, thanks in part to a friendly office call ahead of time, but that is about where the good news stops.

   A wonderfully romantic evening the night before led to Handsome and me crashing downstairs then sleeping a bit late, so there you have strike one.  By the time I had scrambled to send him off with food and smooches for his day of toil at the office, I was already way behind my self imposed schedule. 
   The day before, I had planned to rise before dawn to do all of my normal outside chores PLUS about seven other good, worthwhile things and at least one load of laundry.  Then I wanted to drink some hot, perfect coffee while blogging, maybe grab a quick workout, and take a shower.
   Not just any shower, the full blown, head-to-toe kind.  Some people call this the Hollywood shower; I call it remodeling.  It takes longer than ninety seconds.

   What actually happened is this:  I worriedly kissed my good lookin' guy in the face then dashed around drinking only half a mug of now lukewarm coffee.  I did NOT start a load of laundry but instead silently cursed myself, knowing that I would be returning home too late to run these electricity-consuming monsters before Peak Time, which that day started at 2 p.m.

   I threw on Handsome's cast off gray t-shirt from last night, stabbed my feet into some mismatched flip flops, and bolted outside to do the Feed & Water circuit as quickly as humanly possible.

   The gray t-shirt was just long enough.  Just.  But we live in the country and passersby are usually moving at a pretty good clip, so I take liberty now and then in the interest of either time or laziness.

   Have you ever seen an expression of true bewilderment on a buffalo's face because someone is trying to run fast who doesn't have good running form?  In flip flops, not boots?  Or have you ever sprinted through a flock of already nervous chickens or fed horses with a long, skinny line of grain rather than neat and tidy, affectionate little piles?  Uncoordinated speed and extreme panic are effective paralyzers for large animals and definite scatterers for small ones.

   So my adrenaline-based chores routine ended up substituting (poorly) for a cardio session.   And thanks to the ongoing heat wave in Oklahoma, doing this even as early as 7:30 a.m. led to copious amounts of salty, pouring sweat.  I was ripe.  This necessitated a shower, but if you are paying attention you may have already predicted that I did not get the remodel that day.  Strike two.

   Here is what happened next.

   I flew back through the house, terrifying poor Pacino, and again cursed myself for wasting good coffee (now burning in the carafe) and not starting the automatic bread machine, laundry, Scentsy, you name it.  If it was automatic, electronic, and time consuming, I hated myself for not using it that morning.

   I landed in our upstairs bedroom and glanced in horror at the clock.  And then I glanced in even greater horror at the mirror.  With seven and a half minutes to go before time to leave the farm and make it to the dentist on time (not even early), I had some important decisions to make.

   Let's just say I left eighteen minutes later, and most of that time was spent sanitizing my mouth as if the future of the human race depending on it.  Strike three.  Out!  I maybe should have rescheduled at this point.

   Somehow, without speeding on the side roads and without having a nervous breakdown, I made it to the dentist's office only four minutes past my appointment time.  Fortunately, the folks there are so chill and so great that it was not an issue.  In fact the dentist is usually up to twenty minutes late himself, so it was zero problemo mon.  He has longish hair with french braids and feather extensions.  Yeah, I know. 

   You might think this is the happy end of my story.  Except that once I was seated in that weird vinyl chair-bed, all the evidence of my chaotic life started to unravel and betray me.

   I was wearing denim Capri pants, cuffed mid-shin.  This makes the bottom halves of my lower legs visible, and I hadn't shaved since the night before last, meaning about 40 hours ago.  They say that a good suntan covers a multitude of sins, but crossing my ankles together, attempting ladylike behavior when none could be had, felt like I was attaching myself to myself using Velcro, and I felt a little sick to my stomach.

   Then, while I sat-slash-lay there waiting for someone to attend to my unfortunate mouth, I caught a glimpse of my feet.  Ten days ago I had made them presentable for vacation.  Then we went on said vacation which consisted of four days of walking in flip flops at the beach, swimming in salt water, being nibbled by borderline dangerous fish, and finally walking approximately a thousand miles in New Orleans.  My feet were embarrassed of themselves.
   As I stared at them I had the sensation of the wicked witch when Dorothy's house landed on her and her striped-stocking feet shriveled and curled up and away from view.

   Then my empty stomach started growling, LOUDLY.  Nice. 

   Silently, I scripted excuses and apologies for my overall appearance, as if anyone would actually say anything aloud.  As if anyone in the world noticed or cared but me.  And of course the dental assistants always look perfect and gorgeous.  Must be nice to wear closed toe shoes and take care of yourself and eat a reasonable breakfast and not run late!  Just for extra fun, that day some visiting students were there, including a guy who made me feel even more awkward, if that's possible.  I think he was actually, umm, not really into girls, but for difficult to explain reasons this made me cringe even more.  I felt soooooo juuuuuuudged.

   It got so, so much worse.

   After about thirty more minutes of waiting, during which time I made some delicious progress on my Stieg Larsson book, the dentist appeared behind me.  My chaise-lounge type chair was facing away from the open hallway, so I only saw him peripherally. 
   He sat on one side of me while the gorgeous assistant stood on the other.  Someone switched on an exam light that seemed unnecessarily bright and aggressive.  I have been to the dentist millions of times in my life, but this was the first visit when I felt like I had been abducted by aliens and placed under the scrutiny of  a lamp with the power of the sun.  It was just plain rude.  My feelings were hurt.

   The upside to the next part of this sad tale is that suddenly my stubbly shins and unpainted, unrefined feet were the last thing on any one's mind.  Then, and for the next two hours, all that really existed was the lower half of my face.  And even after they numbed my gums and filled my blood with Nitrous oxide, my thoughts were as crisp and paranoid as ever.  This is the feeling of being naked.

   So I laid as still as possible, worried as much about my sunburned bottom lip, the zit on my upper lip, the conspicuous absence of makeup, and other unwaxed, unmentionable things, as I was about the drill whirring dangerously close to my right ear.  Oh, and my stomach was still growling.
   The only thing that made me feel better was hearing the dentist say in his surfer speech to his in-training assistant, "See?  This is how gums are supposed to heal.  This is a best-case scenario."

   At least I did one thing right that morning.  I may have slept late, skipped both exercise and nourishment, and done almost nothing to groom myself, but by-golly I know how to heal my own gums!  And so for the rest of the day I floated around running errands in town, wildly unkempt but with the confidence that can only come from a healthy mouth.
   I forgot to tell you that before leaving the dentist's office, I scheduled my next surgical appointment.  For a Monday.  First thing in the morning.


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