[Teefies (n): A play-word for teeth, used by Doug’s aunts with their children, as in, “Go brush your teefies and get ready for bed.” In spite of my general dislike for baby-talk, this has become a regularly used word in our household as well, as in, “When are we going to get your teefies fixed?”]
Today was the day. Not all of Doug’s teeth were scheduled to be fixed this morning, but the front ones, the ones that I can see, the ones that will make or break his smile. He was nervous, scared of the pain and the shots of anesthetic. I was ecstatic: this was the day I’d been waiting for. It was going to be the best day ever.
He was scheduled for a two-hour appointment (9-11 a.m.), and we planned to go to it together, then get some lunch, maybe sit at my parents’ house for an hour since the dentist is up in their neighborhood, and then head out to my therapy appointment at 2. Well, at 1:40, I was still sitting in that dentist’s waiting room, with the receptionist promising me – as she had been for the past hour at least – that they were “almost finished.”
I called my therapist and left a tearful message. “I’m so sorry,” I said, explaining what had happened. Not that I don’t trust her to understand, especially since I’d excitedly told her about the upcoming appointment at our session last week. It’s just that I hate to cancel plans. I hate to feel like I’ve missed out on something I was looking forward to, and I usually look forward to therapy. (For her part, my therapist probably thinks I’m even more crazy now, because I can rarely bring myself to cry in her office – even when I’m talking about devastating things like death and divorce and lost friendships – but here I am blubbering on her voicemail about a dentist appointment that ran far too long.)
We sat there for a total of five hours. Granted, Doug had it worse than I did. He was back in the chair getting stuck with needles and drilled and filled and scraped at and God knows what else, while I was sitting on a cushion in the (albeit windowless) lobby, drinking tea and reading. I wrote two letters, finished the 350-page book I was reading,* and read a disappointing sex article in a Redbook magazine. I didn’t do the things I probably really should have done, namely writing poetry and catching up in my planner.
I can’t shake the feeling that what was to be the best day ever turned out to feel like, well, kind of a waste. The rest of my week promises to be hectic, with soul-crushing late shifts for the next three days, and I hate this feeling that I often spend my free time doing nothing but sitting very, very still.
I am trying to hold onto the fact that, on the way up to the dentist’s office, it was still kind of raining, even though the sun was shining bright between the clouds, and we could see half a rainbow in the distance. If I tried to focus on the rainbow, it disappeared, but if I shifted my gaze just a little, as with a Magic Eye picture, the beautiful splay of watery colors became clear again. There must be a cliché lesson to be learned here, something relating to God working in mysterious ways, or not being able to see the forest for the trees, or both.
There’s also this:
*Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn. I do recommend it, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Every evening, when I sit down to write,
I keep lighting these three candles on the desk.
Maybe it’s warmth I’m seeking, or light,
or some semblance of luxury in this mess
I call my workspace/my home/my life.
The scents don’t even blend well: lilac blooms,
pineapple fusion, and coconut lime.
The result is that this corner of the living room
smells like a tropic vacation, which is fine,
because I’d rather be there than under this full moon.
Instead, I seek pleasure in these small, silly ways:
the candles, green tea, hugs held long and tight.
Constantly waiting for wax to melt, I’m amazed:
so short are the comfortable, candlelit nights;
so long the impatient, emotional days.