Well I went to the dentist again the other day. And I had the same hygienist who told me six months ago that I needed to
get braces to keep up my appearances
She’s a gabby woman and—maybe it was the cold temperatures and the accompanying dry skin—the talk quickly
turned to lotion. “The first thing I
reach for when I step out of the shower is my lotion,” she said.
“I just use olive oil,” I said.
“Ewww.” She wrinkled
her nose. “I want to smell nice.”
I wanted to tell the hygienist that olive oil is probably
better to slather on skin than petroleum and chemicals but I refrained. She was, after all, armed with a hook and a
“Open.” She hummed along
to the Christmas songs on the radio and drove her toothbrush across my front
teeth. “You put that on your face, too?”
“Uh hnnn,” I grunted.
She wrinkled her nose again and vacuumed my mouth—in my view one of the more humiliating aspects of going to the dentist.
“Sophia Loren uses it,” I said, vaguely recalling a story I’d
read on the internet.
“Really.” She leaned in, suddenly interested.
“Hmmmm….Open.” She was
silent for a moment. “What about when
your son reaches high school? Will you
continue to home school him?”
“Don’t know,” I mumbled.
“Moving to a farm.”
“What?” She drove the toothbrush across my upper lip
and came to a skidding stop just beneath my nose. “Why?”
“I grew up on a farm.”
“Will you have chickens?”
She gave me a long, lingering look. “Pigs?”
Her voice was weak.
She shuddered. “Why?” She asked again.
I smiled. “You haven’t
seen anything until you’ve seen a just-laid egg solidify.”
She stared at me.
“There’s nothing like producing your own food.” I thought of my father’s massive garden; my
mother’s rows of canning jars lined up on the basement shelves; the quilts and
the afghans my mother made; the piles of firewood we would stack with my
father every year in preparation for winter.
There really is nothing, I thought, like knowing you can take care of
yourself and your family. For the past
several years, all I’ve wanted to do is to be independent; to learn to do more
things on my own: to put up jelly and have a big garden and a barn full of
“I’m weird,” I said, wanting to let the poor woman off the
“You’re not weird,” she cooed. “You’re just…different. Everyone has something unique about
them. You’re…” She paused and looked at my red sweatshirt,
one I’d borrowed from my daughter, who’d borrowed it from my mother: there was
a tear in the side and a pink spot from where someone had spilled bleach on
it. She looked at my jeans and my white anklets
with mismatched stripes peeking out from my scuffed clogs. I am, I admit, not a fashionista.
She patted my shoulder. “And
there’s nothing wrong with that.”
The dentist came in and gave me a sixty dollar “exam” that
lasted all of ten seconds and dismissed me.
I headed to the exit, conscious of my white socks and the hole in my
sweatshirt. Could it be I was too down to earth? Could it be I was a frump?
“Squints,” I said. “Mind
if I go get a haircut before we head home?”
“That’s fine,” he said.
I went into the salon and checked in at the desk. “Hair cut,” I said. Then I caught sight of my eyebrows crawling
across my forehead. “And could you do my
They led me to the back and painted hot wax on my eyebrows
while I dreamed of doing for myself on a farm far away.
Labels: Country life, Farms