Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Through the glass darkly
It was a strange day yesterday, the Ides of March. I could blame it on the tooth ache and infection it caused as well as sleep deficit, but it was somehow larger than that. I found myself awake in the predawn and reviewing the seemingly disconnected vignettes.
My dentist is in Questa where my now deceased ex-husband and I once lived. I called Dr. Jameson first but he could not see me till Thursday and my toothache did not make me a patient person. So I made an appointment with Dr. Brown in Red River. He takes Jameson's overflow and has come highly recommended by several friends that find him being 20 minutes closer a definite plus. I am not overfly fond of dentists but once I find one I can trust I am excessively loyal so I began the day with a sense of betrayal. Very fitting for the Ides of March.
The 40 minute drive over Bob Cat pass into Red River had a surreal aspect to it which could have been the unseasonable spring weather, returning to a town I used to know intimately, or just the effect of pain meds. Ever notice that when you have a toothache that is all the world seems to be about? Everything seems to be through the haze of pain and the fear it will get worse. My father told me once that people seldom die in the dental chair but I have never quite believed him. I am even sure on some elemental level that toothaches can be fatal. Ethnic memory hawking back to the days (pre dentist) when if you couldn't eat your died?
The dentist Brown wasn't who I thought he was. I had a memory of having been introduced to him before but memory was evidently faulty. But I seemed to vaguely remember his hygienist. She was once going to buy the land directly behind me. I found myself thinking of No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre, but then dental offices do that too me. Stress seems to recall CBT symptoms too. I found myself feeling rather like Alice through the Looking Glass. Overwhelmed with information about my appointment in Santa Fe, feeling betrayed by my regular dentist that he had not spotted the beginnings of this HUGE cavity, and trying to just get back into my car and headed home, I was ambushed by Sherry.
Sherry once asked me to let Marcus go because she wanted him. Don't you hate those conversations? She didn't even know him well enough to know he was on the verge of re-marrying wife number 1. Sherry runs a hair salon by the dental office, something I had forgotten until she popped out to tell me that wife 1/3 had sold the house in Questa. The house I had lived in when married to Marc. She delivered this news on Main Street in the middle of spring break in front of a building Marc and I had done the electrical on. I remember the tattered green awnings and Sherry's awful hair do. Why do stylists always overdo their own hair?
Then the dentist pops back out to inform me that of course I should go back to Jameson for further work. He and my ordinary dentist are the best of friends. I seem unable to speak as if toothache and loss of voice are married to each other. I clutch my referral information and the little envelope of x-rays showing the offending tooth and head vaguely toward my car which I had to park blocks away.
Franz Kafka springs to mind. Or a film noir movie. Which leaves me with the question of which dentist to see for followup after the tooth is pulled and I need a spacer. Part of me wants to divorce Questa like I divorced Marc. Which would mean leaving Dr. Jameson and seeing Dr. Brown. I find myself wondering what else Dr. Jameson missed. What other time bombs are ready to go off in my month. And this morning I woke up feeling I owned an apology to Dr. Brown for some reason.
I think I will leave all decisions until I no longer have a toothache, and my vision clears.