I'm habitual about things. I make appointments for the hairdresser and the dentist ahead of time, scheduled months in advance, to make sure I have a spot in their rotation. Unlike the hairdresser, where the most uncomfortable thing is putting your neck in the hair-washing sink, or maybe the odor of hair-coloring chemicals, a dental visit never runs out of ways to piss me off. And yet the masochist I am, I go every six months like clockwork.
First of all, the smell of latex, in any and all of its incarnations, is wrong. That should be the first thing to go: The latex. You get rid of that smell, all of a sudden the first reason for you wanting to run screaming in the other direction as soon as you walk through the door? Poof. Gone, just like that.
And seriously, has the dental field in x-rays not progressed ANY in the past thirty-five years? Those plasticky/cardboard things they stick in your mouth and make you gag while they take film of your teeth? No one can come up with something better than that? Those little gaggy things on top of the smell of latex... guh. They're lucky I don't spew up whatever I had for lunch right there on their little plastic-covered chairs.
But today, I got whatever twelve year-old they just made a dental hygienist. I swear, she was just so damned earnest. She checked my blood pressure, which was just fine the last time I wasn't about to have my teeth scraped with pointy metal torture devices, and she tutted, "A little high. You might want to have that checked."
I told her she should just take a blanket twenty points off the reading, because of where we were.
She just looked confused.
I would say, bless her heart, but because she evidently trained under Josef Mengele, I'll retract that. The first thing she did, which was heretofore unprecedented in my 35 years of going to the dentist, was to use this water pik thing that sprayed a fine stream of water between my teeth to (and I quote), "Break up all the bacterial colonies between my teeth."
Okay, sweetheart, look. I floss. I use that gross tartar control toothpaste. I rinse my mouth with both fluoride and mouthwash, so even if I do have some bacteria in my mouth, they haven't gotten together and created civilizations with fair trade and taxes. And I certainly don't want you drilling between my teeth with water needles, so that a fine mist of whatever is in my mouth gets sprayed up ALL OVER MY FACE.
Strike one, AMBER. If that is your real name.
Secondly, you could try to direct your little miner's spelunking headlamp in my mouth and away from my eyes. You shouldn't have to go blind to get your teeth cleaned. Fine, though. I'll close my eyes. I'll concede that one.
But another point? You don't have to look like you're having so much FUN while you're scraping the tartar from my teeth. It looked like it was the best time you'd had all day.
I wanted to punch you in the face.
And the last thing was the polishing. Usually, that's the part that bothers me the least, but Amber, with all her days (hours?) of hygienical experience, managed to make me BLEED with that thing, and hit my gums far more than she needed to. Which isn't any, by the way. That polisher is for my teeth, not my gums, honey. Were you sick that day in hygienist school?
And then my dentist, who is very sweet, but who might have a touch of Parkinson's (it's distressing when he comes at you with any implements), proclaimed me cavity-free.
So I'm in the clear for the next six months. But you can be sure that when my next appointment rolls around, I will be requesting ANYONE but Amber. Maybe she'll have changed careers by then; she joined something more suited to her temperament, like drug warlord. Or professional sadist.
One can only hope.