Now I know I haven’t posted in forever but as you will see, I was busy getting my tooth removed. Yes, it took close to a year to do so…
Waiting room, lobby, foyer, whatever you call it, it’s where nerves get irritated, anxiety builds up, anticipation heightened, it’s where wet armpits get their courage to turn up and stink up the joint. I hate such rooms. What gets to me is the waiting, waiting for my turn, waiting to be served, waiting to get turned down, waiting to have my balls handed to me, waiting, waiting and waiting.
It’s eleven AM that I find myself in a waiting room waiting to see a dentist. There’s a bit of a queue in the waiting room and I’m shocked at that merry fact. I didn’t realize that dentistry was such a lucrative field. There are too many people in the waiting room than I anticipated but the more the merrier, right?. As long as no one tries small talk with me I can withstand a small army of dentally challenged patients. Small talk gets to me, gets to the deepest pits of my nerves where there isn’t enough patience to deal with it. Luckily, no one feels inclined to so much as look in my direction. Those are the best kind of people. Come to think of it, it may have to do with the fact that they all have teeth problems and it makes sense to just shut up.
There’s nothing much to see in this particular room; there’s that receptionist/secretary/nurse at the front desk who looks like she would rather be anywhere else. That medical degree didn’t quite work out the way she hoped it would. She has a smart-phone on her right hand but her head is surprisingly not buried in it. Her left hand is caressing a pimple on her upper lip right in the moustache. Ha-ha no she doesn’t have moustache, that’s a preposterous allegation, she has a full beard! I keep looking at her from time to time waiting for her to give in to her urges and stick that forefinger in her nose where it so desperately wants to be. She doesn’t, much to my disappointment.
The glass tables give the room a bit of a meticulous feel; they’re thoroughly wiped probably by the receptionist/secretary/nurse who I suspect is also the cleaning lady. I hope they’re paying her well. What gives the tables a bad name are the old magazines callously strewn all over. They look like they were printed by the first color printer invented, the cover models look like they were alive when James Bond was played by certain Scottish fellow, they’re so old (the magazines not the models) that the guy who (presumably) hand stitches Njonjo’s stripped suits wasn’t born when they were printed. They’re so old… Ok, you get the point.
There are leather seats around the tables, too close to the tables that with a small crowd and the somber mood it looks like we’re gathered there to organize a funeral for a departed comrade. I almost burst into a speech:
“Family, friends, colleagues, random drunkard at the back who nobody knows, thank you for coming. We’ve gathered here to organize a decent send off for our friend, our brother and our son, Bonny. He was not the most decent fellow but we’re going to see him off in a decent manner. Is there anyone here who would like to say a few words about Bonny before we get started, did Bonny die with an unsettled bill that you would like this committee to know? No… not you random drunk at the back, put your hand down. We don’t know you…”
Anyway, from where I’m seated, the closest magazine I can get my hands on is of the classifieds nature. I’m fighting a lot of voices in my head telling me not to pick up that piece of literary abomination. The unreasonable voice wins in the end and I pick it up. Surprisingly to nobody, there’s nothing interesting in there and I almost immediately put it down. I get tempted to stretch my long arms to pick a magazine with a girl on the cover but before I could yield, a bell rings in the dentist’s office/operating room and the receptionist/secretary/nurse/cleaning lady calls out my name then motions me in the general direction of the dentist’s lair with her lips like I’m the reason her medical degree didn’t pan out like she had hoped.
The dentist’s office is only slightly easier on the eyes than the waiting room because there’s that dentist’s chair and that light that shines down your mouth to reveal nasty cavities. That’s about the only thing worth mentioning about this particular room. The rest is too dull to put in lively words. I take a seat opposite Arthur’s table. That’s his name, the dentist. Arthur, Arthur Owallo; that’s what it says on the card that was issued to me by the receptionist/secretary/nurse/cleaning lady in the other room.
So Arthur and I (we’re on first name basis now) get to talking about the purpose of my visit.
“I want my tooth removed; the last molar on my right lower jaw”, I say with a gallant tone.
“I don’t need it anymore…” I eloquently elaborate.
“That’s not reason enough, what’s the problem, are you in pain?”
“No, I don’t like the way it sits in my mouth. I want it removed.”
“Come on, man there are people waiting out there with bigger problems than yours. What’s the matter with your tooth?”
“Ok, it’s just that…” I get lost in my head. There’s something about what he just said that’s turning something in my stomach.
Oh, that’s right he has just suggested that I have small teeth. Shots fired!! Is this guy for real? Where do you get off telling people that they have small teeth? I want to bite his ear off now, that would really show him. Small teeth? I think that’s a cheap jab at my manhood. It is a cheap jab at my manhood right, right?
“What do you mean that there are people with bigger problems than mine? Are you saying that I have small teeth? You haven’t even peeked into my mouth yet.”
“That’s not it; all I’m saying is that you’re delaying in…”
“It hurts, okay?” I cut him off. “It hurts so much I haven’t slept in three days. There I said it, it hurts. Just yank it out!”
“I have to look at it first, sit over there.” He points to that chair that starts bending over backwards the moment your behind lands on it. From the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of his face and he’s almost laughing at me! Laughing at me! The nerve!!
“Open wide”, that is Arthur’s next instruction. Please don’t go to the gutter with it.
Arthur inspects my molar for less than five seconds and nods, “yes we have to pull it out”.
“Hold on a minute there, Arthur. That’s too fast! What’s the rush? Are you sure that we really need to pull it out. Can we go somewhere and talk about it, like over a beer or something!? And what’s with the ‘pull it out’ business. It sounds so suggestive.”
“Ok, if it makes you feel better, we’re going to liberate your gum of your last line of defense against food…”
Sarcasm! Well in Mr. Owallo. He’s a swell guy after all.
“… and yes we have to uproot that tooth because it’s too far gone.”
“Too far gone? What does that mean?”
“In simple terms, your tooth has a small pit, a small pit that will continue to cause you sleepless nights for the foreseeable future, it is best if we just remove it.”
I nod in agreement. There is no point in delaying this any further.
I lie back and get comfortable but only for a fleeting moment. My comfort is rudely interrupted by the sight of a freakishly long syringe in Arthur’s hand. He fills it up with a clear liquid which I suspect is horse tranquilizer because I have been a difficult person. I’m freaking out!
“Open wide”, ok you can go to the gutter with it, I think he’s saying that on purpose, dirty purpose.
Before I can protest at his foul language, there’s a needle stuck in my gum and horse tranquilizer is quickly squirting in. The needle prick is sharp and painful and I almost bite down on the syringe; a foolish move if followed through. I scream a little in my head like a little girl.
When he pulls out (grow up, damn it) I am relieved but again it’s only for a fleeting moment. It’s my first time at the dentist’s and no one told me that it takes three jabs to the gum to numb ones nerves or maybe this is a special dose for me because I have been a difficult person. I’m genuinely surprised when he loads another syringe and tells me to open wide. It’s not funny anymore and I raise my voice in protest. This time around I’m not going down without a fight.
“Wait, what’s happening, how many times are you going to prick me?”
“Three, now please open your mouth.”
“THREE? I don’t know if I can do three. I’m not that committed to dental health.”
“It has to be three, that’s what the procedure requires. Now please open your mouth.”
“How about a compromise, I can do one and a half and the next patient can have the remaining one and a half plus the three that you so philanthropically give out. How does that sound?”
“It sounds like medical malpractice.” Arthur is on fire.
I yield and two more jabs of horse tranquilizer are shot into my gum with near reckless abandon. He sends me out back to the waiting room to wait for twenty minutes for the tranquilizer to take effect. Yes, I’m still convinced that it’s a horse tranquilizer.
Back at the waiting room and I notice something I hadn’t seen before, there are mirrors everywhere. I don’t know how I didn’t see it earlier. I see everything, how did I miss this. It’s too big to miss. Three of the four walls in that room are covered with mirrors. What’s up that with that? I can see myself from multiple angles and I hate it. Everywhere I look there I am looking back at myself. I notice that my cheek is now swollen. I look like I was in a fist fight where I received a thorough beating, an embarrassing beating. The kind of beating that makes you shift neighborhoods to avoid eye contact with people who witnessed as your behind was handed to you, repeatedly. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
I try to keep myself busy with afro-cinema on a screen mounted on the one wall that isn’t adorned with mirrors. It’s right behind the receptionist/secretary/nurse/cleaning lady whose head is now buried in her smart-phone. She is probably tweeting, “Tall, dark, dude looking like he lost a fight to a dentist’s prick. #lol #swollenface”. She probably doesn’t realize the suggested depravity in that statement and now her 200 followers think the dentist is a pervert.
I’m feeling a bit light headed [I told you it was horse tranquilizer] so I try to sit still. Sudden head movements make me feel drowsy. I ignore the magazines [it’s a horrific sight anyway], I avoid looking at the receptionist/secretary/nurse/cleaning lady; she’s pretty but not intriguing enough. I stare ahead at the screen and let afro-cinema have its way with my soul.
Five minutes into this movie and my drowsy brain feels insulted. It’s a bad movie, not that there’s a good afro-cinema out there. For five minutes there’s a dude getting stabbed by a jilted lover. Why a stabbing takes five minutes is beyond me. The actual stabbing is shot from multiple angles and then played in slow succession while zooming in and out all this while and it feels like I’m in another waiting room with mirrors in all four walls. Inception stuff right there.
It’s too much for my lethargic brain so I close my eyes to fight disorientation. A while later a ding dong in the dentist’s office rouses me from my light slumber and the receptionist cum secretary cum nurse cum cleaning lady once again ushers me into the operating room with her lips but this time around she looks like she’s blowing me a kiss. Or perhaps I’m high from the tranquilizer and that was just a brief hallucination. I like this tranquilizer. I want more of it.
Back in the chair and before Arthur could chime in with his timeless gem, I open my mouth and deny him the pleasure of asking me to “open wide”. He looks dejected and I hooray in my head for that small victory. My mouth is numb and I can’t talk so I just let him go to town on my molar.
I will spare you the bloody details of the uprooting as I don’t want to spoil it for you. You will get your chance when you have your own dental problems. It’s not the point of this rumbling article anyway, if there is indeed any point at all. Thing is, as I’m walking to the bus stop I realize that I’m high from the tranquilizer. Seriously, it’s a horse tranquilizer you guys. I think I spotted a horse shoe emblem on the side of the bottle whose contents were squirted into my gum.
I loved the haze. I need to score another dose. So if you know someone who can hook a brother up, hit me up. If I don’t get a dose soon I may have to go back to Arthur to have another molar yanked out. Please don’t make me go have a molar removed, I kind of like how my remaining teeth sit in my mouth.