Thursday, August 17, 2006

Moving Under Ice

I have not abandoned you, my pets, and couldn't bear the thought you might doubt my love. If all goes well, later today I might have a story to tell that'll knock your socks off. Please dab your shins with Crazy Glue and check back after dinner.

Of course, if all doesn't go well, please consider showing up at my place with lawn darts and a court order.

Until tonight, then -

Yesterday, at the orthodontist's office, the assistant was thrilled to see me. The young orthodontist was thrilled to see me. The office ladies were thrilled to see me. I make amusing remarks and do things other people do not. These people are so happy to see a person who isn't complaining. The irony of this is their other patients are probably perfectly nice and terribly interesting the other 99.9999% of their lives, while I am a menacing bitch in kitten heels. This is how much I want straight teeth! So back up about ten minutes, to when I arrive at the door to the building. It is locked. I stare. I tug on the door again. The door is locked. Because I have a very vivid imagination, I try it again. That door is still locked. I look around. A man and a sullen girl come up behind me. He grabs the handle and nothing happens. No one is more surprised than I am. That door is actuallly locked! He doesn't get excited. He takes out his cell and dials the office number.

Man: I'm here with your patient Martha and the outside door is locked.
Phone: Squawkity screech screech squawk squawk!

He hangs up. A moment or two later, a tiny woman in pretty pink scrubs rushes to the door and opens it. She was just there, testing keys, she tells us. The man, Martha and I walk inside. Martha and I take the stairs. There is no avoiding this. She walks slowly, only two steps ahead. I can't get around her and we're alone in the stairwell. She can practically hear me wishing I had the kind of magical powers that included wiggling my nose and sending her to GetAGripistan. We arrive at the desk, where my turning up causes celebration inches short of confetti flying through the air and a marching band, but I mean inches. I should bring the office ladies a pinata.

Martha and I are escorted to through the dental emporium's narrow hallways to the orthodontic suite which overlooks the intersection of Route 1 and Plainfield Avenue at an angle that is not parallel to either one, so I get giggly and seasick. This office - tidy, sunny and filled with people who tell me every four to six weeks how happy they are to see me - does not meet my OCD needs, and I want this building moved. I want that!

Inez gestures to Martha: you sit there. Inez gestures to me: sit! There are two chairs.

Tata: Eeny or meeny?
Inez: Here!
Tata: Eeny!
Inez: I'm so happy to see you!
Tata: Still?

I sit. The doctor sits down next to me, snaps on gloves. He is poking a gloved finger around my teeth. At a point I do not notice, he stops poking my teeth and peels off his gloves.

Dr.: Ever renovated your house? Bite down. Living in renovations really blows.
Tata: There was that time my sister Daria threw a party and the plumbing stopped working...
Dr.: It's terrible! Now the back teeth.
Tata: I have a new and exciting problem. When I use the rubber bands at night, my front teeth meet - SQUEEK! - and wake me up.
Dr.: Ow.
Tata: Why are you renovating? Did you buy a house?
Dr.: It's my Mom's. We're tearing up everything. Carpets, everything. We're going to put it on the market.
Tata: I'm sure you're a good son and all but that's silly. The buyers are going to renovate from top to bottom anyway. It's like a racket for contractors.
Dr.: Some people won't even look at it unless it's all new stuff. Martha, bite down...
Inez: We're going to use the chain rubber bands.
Tata: Ooh! Purple this time! I like the purple ones!
Inez: Usually, people who get clear braces get clear rubber bands.
Tata: They are not working hard enough at being silly. Okay, so the other day, my friend picked me up at Metro Park and I'd been on buses and trains all day, so I asked if I could take him to lunch.
Inez: You're such a nice person!
Tata: Um...thanks! So we went to the new Thai place. Right over here. Have you seen the signs for it?
Inez: By ShopRite?
Tata: Exactly.
Inez: I love when people try new things. I don't do it myself, but I love when other people do. My boyfriend tries new things.
Tata: Ah...the world is full of interesting things to taste. But I was exhausted and only ate a little. The lady came out of the kitchen and said, "What's wrong with my food?"
Inez: NO! The purple looks good next to your green sweater.
Tata: Thank you! I was horrified that I'd accidentally insulted her by asking to have the leftovers wrapped so I could have pad Thai for breakfast.
Dr.: From now on, we're going to need to see you every three weeks.
Tata: You are? Then I need to know more about those renovations!

We have been laughing hysterically for ten minutes. Martha has not said a single word.


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