On Thursday, I had to go to the dentist for a cleaning. I used to have this awesome hygienist named Harmony, who was as serene as her name, and we loved all the same TV shows. She did most of the talking but we had a good rhythm where she would take out the pick so that I could quickly reply about things like which series had the best ending, Breaking Bad or Dexter? But Harmony was off for a while and now she doesn’t work on Thursdays and Fridays, which are the only days that I have available now that I work at an antique market. So my last few appointments were with hygienists that I didn’t know. The one who cleaned my teeth a couple of years ago was hilarious and told me how she hides chocolate in Tampax boxes so her husband won’t find it, and the one I saw in the summer was very nice and not-crazy at all, but the one on Thursday was a legit nutbar. It started when she came out to get me:
Me: It’s Suzanne.
Hygienist: What’s the difference?
Me: Aside from them being two completely different names, they’re spelled differently.
Hygienist: How do you spell ‘Susan’?
After we’d sorted out the Suzanne/Susan debacle (seriously, it’s like seeing the name Derek and insisting that the person’s name is Drake), she got to work. And immediately launched into her life story, which I will break down here:
She used to be a world class professional athlete in a sport that I won’t name and she travelled the world from the age of 11 and lived with families in a variety of countries but came home rarely because her father was a mentally and emotionally abusive narcissist who only loved her when she was winning. She quit the sport because it was toxic and destroying her health and the people who are competing in the Olympics right now are the same people she trained with (which I thought was strange since she looked ((from the mask up)) about forty) and she is full of regret and devasted that she can no longer compete. Also, she hates being a dental hygienist because she doesn’t believe in dentistry—
At which point, I interrupted to point out that it was very important to one’s physical health to clean one’s teeth regularly—
Yes, she knew that but it was all the other stuff about dentistry she didn’t believe in, like fluoride for example, which is like a poison that will kill you and she doesn’t even use toothpaste with flouride in it and that I should watch this documentary from the 1970s that proves flouride is superdangerous, by the way, did I want fluoride this visit? ( I didn’t, not because it’s poisonous but because it’s sticky and I don’t like the banana flavour they use, and I don’t want to get into a debate with ANYONE about fluoride), and that people say that everything is meant to be but she doesn’t believe that because her life is truly awful, and people don’t realize that when they look at the sport she used to compete in how awful it is, and she did things that she thought were normal but now she knows that they weren’t, and what’s your favourite colour?( purple) so here’s a purple toothbrush and some floss for you to take home.
And I don’t want to sound judge-y because she was truly an unhappy soul but I DON’T KNOW HER and it was EXHAUSTING. Then the dentist came in, and despite the fact that my chart clearly, and for the last TWENTY YEARS, says I’m allergic to latex, he went for my mouth with latex gloves on. I stopped him and reminded him, and he did what he always does, which is to make a huge fuss about having to take the latex gloves off, re-sanitize his hands and put on vinyl—“Oh, my hands!”—to which I replied, “Your hands? Well, wait until you see my mouth after you put your latexy fingers in them. By the way, is my EpiPen close by?”
And even though I had no cavities, I didn’t even get a f*cking lollipop because the four-year-old ahead of me took the last one. At least I don’t have to go back for six months.