absurdity, creativity, moaning, teeth

On the Horrors of Dentistry

“Is it safe?!” – gif from http://mindinfection.tumblr.com/

This will probably not come as a great shock to anyone who’s seen me smile, but I’m not entirely fond of trips to the dentist.

I’m really not sure where this anxiety stems from. I can’t say I’ve had any memorably bad dentist experiences that I can remember. I’ve had teeth pulled, but it wasn’t any more unpleasant than you’d expect it to be. I like anaesthetic. Anaesthetic is my friend.

Today I went to the dentist for a checkup for the first time in about 5 years or so. I’d been nagged into it for my own good, but I still felt resentment and anxiety. Resentment that I need to take myself off to be prodded and inspected and  poked. Anxiety that I don’t meet muster.

I think that’s the crux of it. I don’t like to be judged. I do plenty of that to myself, thank you very much, I don’t really need the extra help. I’m fairly certain that my mouth is a festering, sweltering cesspit of filth and rot (queue starts here, ladies and gents, kisses £1 a go). Do I really need a Certificate of Foulness?

And so the avoidance begins. “Oh, er, dentist appointment? Er, can’t afford it this month. Now? Er, far too busy. Tomorrow? Er, I have to accompany a group of Dwarves to their faraway mountain to find their long forgotten gold. Sorry, can’t get out of it, Ian McKellen’ll be disappointed in me otherwise.”

The excuses ran out when I started recycling film plots. So I booked today’s checkup and swallowed my pride (along with several thousand malign bacteria, probably). I trekked through the snow – not that big an exaggeration, actually, given the recent snowfall – and sat in the waiting room, disturbing visions building up in my mind.

I saw the dentist’s office as a filthy, squalid torture chamber. Cockroaches scuttled in dank corners, drinking from muddy bloody puddles. The chair was a horror freakshow contraption, all straps and buckles and razor sharp implements. The dentist cackled madly in between huffs of gas while their assistant gibbered and danced luridly, gleaming instruments slashing through the foetid air. Screams and howls echoed down the corridors, helpless victims enduring their own hellish torture. The screams, the howls and the drilling, the relentless drilling!


None of that happened, of course.

The dentist was lovely, if patronising. She told me off for the state of my gums and gave me strict instructions to brush more, start flossing (oh god I am NOT looking forward to that) and using some sort of specialist mouthwash.

My mouth is not a cesspit. It’s not even a gutter, or a puddle of sewage (roll up and pucker up). I just need to take care of myself more.

Which is good – it ties into my aims for this year. Rather than make resolutions (which are easily broken), I have gone with aims. I aim to unfuck my habitat. I aim to improve my health in small ways. I aim to resume climbing, sell some writing, and various other small, easily achievable goals. I have the whole year to do them, but there’s nothing wrong with starting early.

So here’s to 2013. A new year, a beginning to a new me. I’ve moaned about self-discipline and the lack thereof before, so here goes. I’ve taken a week off work to reset myself and, irritating cold and mild eye infection aside, I’m raring to go. I’m writing, I’m taking steps to ensure I start climbing again and, yes, I’ve been to a dentist and intend to do so regularly from here on out.

This is my world. It’s about time I stopped existing in it and started living in it.

With fabulous teeth.

frustration, moaning, whinge

The Lost Art of Conversation

Me, trying to have a conversation.

Conversation happens. It happens every day in every place where humans dwell. In some ways it happens in places were humans don’t dwell, but that’s neither here nor there; it’s human conversation that concerns me at the  moment.

I’m sure I don’t need to insult your intelligence by defining conversation; suffice to say that if you’d care to post a comment below this entry then I’d be happy to engage you in it. I quite like conversation – I find it’s the best way to talk to people.

Unfortunately, not everybody seems to feel the same way.

Conversation is not the harsh thuds of a battering ram hitting the gates of a fortress. It’s not a fist slamming into a face, or a car crashing into a wall. So why treat it like one?

Conversation is a dance.  Sometimes it’s a slow waltz. Sentence. Pause. Reply. Question. Pause. Answer. One, two, three, one, two, three.  Sometimes it races along like a Charleston. Sometimes it goes a bit ballistic and everyone looks at you like you’re a drunk uncle at a wedding, lost and unable to keep up.

The problem with a dance is that you need a suitable partner. I’m no conversational Fred Astaire, but I flatter myself I know a few steps. Lately though I’ve been left feeling that I may as well hang up my shoes, move off to a cabin in the woods and never dance again.

Over the past few weeks it’s become increasingly evident that either the art of conversation is on the wane or I’m badly out of practice. Both in work and out of it, I’ve been getting quite frustrated at conversations that start out promising and come to crashing, jarring, painful halts.  

Perhaps (probably) I’m just growing increasingly intolerant. Every time I’m interrupted, it’s like a heel jabbing sharply down on my toes. Every time someone doesn’t bother to listen, it’s like I’m leading where they have no interest in following.

Over the past few weeks I’ve become a pent-up ball of frustrated hot air. My sentences are cut short in their prime, leaving me gasping like a fish out of water. I find myself repeating myself and repeating myself and I find myself repeating myself ad nauseum.

Come on, people. Stop interrupting me. Stop shouting at me. Stop ignoring me and then getting frustrated because you didn’t hear what I’d told you. That’s not how conversation works. It’s all about give and take.

I just want to dance. Is that so wrong?