Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tooth Fifteen and the Tomato Lady


On the way home, I thought of the woman I had photographed at the market buying cherry tomatoes. I could probably eat cherry tomatoes if I put them in the blender...if I made gazpacho?

I had been to the dentist. I had spent two hours in the chair getting a temporary for the crown I've been putting off for five years. The Novocaine was wearing off. My jaw was killing me. But I didn't make gazpacho or anything else at home. I sat around most of the afternoon moaning at the computer waiting for the throbbing to stop.

Why me? Why now? Why did I decide to get the crown I'd been avoiding? I knew it was going to hurt. Tooth fifteen is the last molar on the top left side--opening your mouth that wide for that long was definitely going to put a strain on the jaw. And then they lean. Heavily. They poke. They prod. They drill and drill and drill the decay away. But it wasn't the decay that made me make the appointment, my tooth felt fine. It was my cool. I had to get it back.

I was tired of having to floss after eating just three pistachio nuts, after eating a simple dinner salad, after eating a couple of grapes, after eating anything. I was tired of being an obnoxious sneak who broke all rules of etiquette flossing in public. Lipstick, okay. Floss, no. In restaurants, I would point out to my friends anyone or anything I could find that could be called ridiculous to distract them as I would sneak a bit of floss from my purse and pry out that pesky piece of meat stuck between fourteen and fifteen. Sometimes I would find whole tuna salad sandwiches there as well. My food wasn't getting where it belonged. I had lost my cool. I had never been to Miss Evelyn's Finishing School for young gentlemen and ladies to learn table manners--yes, there were such places and yes, my mom thought her daughter needed some taming. The tooth had to be addressed. I couldn't take it anymore.

Wine helped. It wasn't called the "drink of the Gods" for nothing. And what better ice pack to hold against your hot and throbbing cheek than a cold glass filled with an elixir you can drink? To add to my distress, I couldn't think of anything to draw, so I photographed my pain. Well there may have been nothing to draw, but there was plenty to erase. The photograph clearly showed my deep wrinkle night cream wasn't working-- where's the damn air brush in this software anyway? Still hurting and knocked down a few pegs by the horrors I'd just seen, I got my sketch book and the tomato lady. Once into it, I once again was lifted to another plane where all was forgotten and all was well. This morning I'm fine--and you be fine too. Have a lovely weekend.

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