Under the gaze of his googly eyed glasses, I’m lost in thought.
Every January and June, I have an appointment with my dentist, but also with myself. January is the start of the new year for most humans, and June, the start of a new (different kind of) year for me. My birthday’s in June, so no matter what, whenever I’m laying down under some routine dental procedure, I’m contemplating some existential life thought: something to the effect of, what has happened since I last sat here? Often stimulated by Dr. Ravelo’s banal question of, ‘how’s it going?’
From one visit to the next, I — got braces, got them off, started college, graduated college, started a company, fell in and out of love, got a dog, lost a friend, gained a friend, lost a few pounds, gained a few pounds. I think it’ll slow down at some point, but for now, a lot happens in 6 months.
I’m not on my phone — Not even reading a book to distract myself from reality.
The brightness of the lamp reminds me of the unrelenting shining of the sun, strong enough to force my eyes shut.
And eyes shut. Hands free. I’m gone.
The only distraction from my thoughts are when he asks me to lift my fingers for the X-ray or to ‘rinse’; the rest of the time, my body is under his care, my thoughts, free to wander.
Needless to say, I love going to the dentist, not for the process of whatever is going on in my mouth, but surely for the silky smooth feeling I get after running my tongue across these tiny bones.
Mostly though, for that feeling of freedom, that which you get when there’s no place you have to be but in the present. No distractions. Just you and the drill.