Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Private Hell

Don’t talk to me. I went to the dentist today, and let me tell you, I don’t care how soft spoken he is, how double-hand-clasping when he shakes my hand, how “Gee, that’s neat,” dentists come straight from Medieval Purgatory art. I’m talkin’ intestines-on-a-spit, Beelzebub chewing your heart type stuff. And I have good teeth. Well, at least I don’t have cavities, I brush and I try not to eat Oreos for at least a week before visiting. You’d think that’d give me some extra points, but apparently dentists are also “glass-half-empty” people.

This is what I hate. Just making the appointment, you know you’re in trouble. It’s their job to make your gums bleed. They call it “scraping below the gum” but we know it’s really latent homicidal tendencies. And, not only do they feel the need to prick very sensitive skin, but they talk while they do it. Do they discuss the weather? Do they quote Plato? Do they sing along to Michael Bolton? Oh, no. They talk about your teeth. Specifically, the myriad things you do wrong. You don’t floss enough or correctly, you don’t brush in small circles or rinse with the right stuff. For 20 minutes, you have to sit there, mouth open, blood swishing down your throat, listening to Mother Superior lecture you on the plague of gingivitis that will surely descend if you don’t repent. And you can’t even spit your mouth full of blood at the blasted woman because she’s got sharp objects in your mouth that she’s already proven she can use.

Not even my underground book group’s discussion on Johnny Depp can soothe these wounds. I bet his hygienist doesn’t lecture him.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Swagger

“My skin is soft. My sisters’ skin is soft. But your skin is all wrinkly,” remarks the 7 year old.

Well, thank you, child. I had felt good about my appearance for a whole 4 minutes and I appreciate you knocking me down a peg.

At church, I work with a woman who wears hats all the time. Not little beanies, but big floppy hats. Another friend was headed to England for a wedding and was talking to me and Hat Friend about the hats her daughters had bought for the event. I mentioned that I’d love to be able to wear hats. The Hat Friend replied, “Just do it! You can wear whatever you want, just put it on your head!” Well, I may be seen with snot marks across my t-shirts when I head to the grocery store, but even I will not subject the viewing public to ’70’s style straw hats with flowers. No, I am not kidding.

This same dear friend gave me a shirt that matches a sweater my son frequently wears. It is a good match--same colors, same material, etc. And with the size of the shoulder pads in the shirt, I could try out for football and not even need the gear. What do you do with that? I see her every stinkin’ week, and I know that every week, she’s waiting for me to show up in my matchy-matchy. And every week, I look at the shirt, take a deep breath, and start crying at the thought of it. She’s so nice, so thoughtful, and was so excited when she gave me the gift-wrapped “Spring sweater.” And I realize I’m shallow and heartless and completely vile, but I just can’t do it. I could put it on and take a picture for her, but I can not wear it to a building where I already feel like the ugly stepsister.

What would you do? And don’t give me any pep talk about being honest with her, because that just ain’t gonna happen.