If you're an introvert like me, you may have spent some of your formative years (um, like, ages 13 to 25) imagining that someone, a big-name movie director or photographer, would someday happen upon you while you were reading in a cafe or on the bus and say, "YES! YES! THAT is the face I have been looking for ALL MY LIFE! Come with me now, and I will show you new things." And you would fit into this person's artistic vision in such a new and amazing way it would be revolutionary.
I got a feel for what that must be like at the dentist the other day. I had been a little nervous to go to the dentist because it had been a couple years* since my last visit. I have never had a cavity and have generally had strong teeth, so I wasn't too worried about it, but with John's front teeth starting to cuddle with each other in an alarming fashion, and Maia showing a tendency for her permanent teeth to erupt behind her baby teeth, we figured a checkup might do us all some good.
I used to hate going to the dentist, but now I love it. Remember that awful gritty tooth polish and huge rotary toothbrush they used to do for the cleaning? This guy has a baking-soda and salt blaster that took two minutes and felt rather like having my mouth scanned by a Cylon. But in a good way. There was very little picking, because the blast takes care of most of it. The TV tuned to HGTV was a bit much, but at least it was muted. **
But the very best part was when the dentist, a so-wry-he's-dry businesslike man, took a look in my mouth for the first time. If you've never seen me, I will tell you that I have a big smile full of big teeth. I had seven years of orthodontia done, including tooth extraction and jaw widening with an appliance that looked something like this:
So this dentist looks in my mouth and just about jumps in. "Whoever did your teeth...wow...it's like..." He's so impressed he can't complete a sentence. "Who did this?" he manages, reverently.
I twitch my jaw to get him to move his hands. "I grew up in Omaha," I said. "I'm sure you don't know him. He died recently. Yes, I had a lot of work done."
"The work he did...." he trails off, and opens my mouth again. I feel like he's found a previously unknown da Vinci in there. "This is beautiful. This is...this is amazing. And I never give compliments." He snaps straight up, as if I have accused him of saying something nice. Then he melts again. "But this is really something else."
I was insufferable for the rest of the day -- despite the four cavities (my first) he then found my wonderful, perfect teeth.
* Like, five.
** Seriously, I love this guy; let me know if you're looking for a dentist and want his name.