Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Filling up the spaces in my head

I went to the dentist today. I had two fillings. Need I say more?

Actually, she's a very gentle dentist. I have a friend who has a phobia about dentists, and with good reason, since one put a drill through her cheek and another had to sit on her chest to wrench out a wisdom tooth while she was still conscious. I've tried to get her to see my nice gentle lady dentist, but I don't think she has mustered the courage yet.

I did quake a bit when I saw the needle in my dentist's hand; it was rather large. But to my surprise it turned out she hadn't been packing my jaw with cotton wool beforehand -- she'd been numbing my gums with cotton wool and some magical solution. So, bless her, I didn't even feel the needle as it went into first my top left gum, and then my lower left gum.

So there I was, lying back in the chair, mouth gaping, with Lady D chatting away about how she likes Melbourne more than Sydney (and understanding my grunted responses), and I started drifting away, thinking about how all her movements felt so big in my mouth, and in reality how small they would be from her perspective. It's like when you can feel a spot coming up on your chin, and it feels enormous to your fingertip, and you're sure that everyone else can see it clearly, and then you look in the mirror and can hardly find it with your eyes.

Do we all feel like giants in our skins? Or maybe it's not a sense of scale, but a sense of hyper-reality? Things on the surface of ourselves feel bigger, more sensitive, more tangible. For a brief dreamy moment I had one of those epiphanies that can come when you ingest magic mushrooms: everything makes sense, but only for that brief dreamy moment. Suddenly I could see why the personal was political; why people found it easier to engage with their immediate comfort than with the troubles of other people; how the perception of other people's pain and suffering really does depend upon how much you can both shift out of your own skin and how much you can use your own experience to relate to theirs. We know what a headache feels like, but only our headache. We have to use the knowledge of our own pain (or use our imagination, if we have one) to have compassion for someone else's headache. We have to take small concepts and relate them to the larger. Or we can take large problems and miniaturise them to allow people to feel comfortable with them. Hmmm...


I get tangled up in knotty dreamy thoughts, and then I can't make sense of anything real for ages. Sometimes it happens to me in ordinary conversation with people. When I came out of this tangle (and the above was just a taste of it), the dentist was asking me to rinse and I found that I had absolutely no control over my mouthful of liquid, which slipped out of the left side of my mouth and down my front. Oops. The Lady D laughed and said that the anaesthetic should wear off in an hour, and I should be fine to have my planned lunch with my mother.


An hour and a half later I was sitting in a quite smart cafe in north Canberra trying to suck a Ginger-ale-with-lime up a straw and eat nachos only in the right side of my mouth. I had a napkin discreetly up in front of my face, my mother was giggling into hers, and my lovely old nanna was trying to tell me a story about her cute but wayward dog while I made revolting slurpy drooling noises. I couldn't move my bottom lip, and I also couldn't move my jaw sideways easily. It was very unsexy, and my darling mother thought it was hilarious. I have a LOT of sympathy for stroke victims.

Luckily I'm working from home today, so I could go home and change out of my spit and crumb-flecked top and sit in front of the computer until it all wore off, which took THREE AND A HALF hours, not ONE, thank you very much.

I've got a hell of a lot of work to do at the moment, mostly for other people, and I'm trying desperately to get it all done before the art school starts up again in mid-Feb, so that I can really get working on my books. Tonight I'm going to bind a new diary for myself, and make my entry for issue 5 of bookmagazinebook before I pass it on like a hot potato.

And no, no news from Zoe. Well, I mean, I talk to her most days, but there's no baby movement. The little tucker is hunkered in, waiting for the shift into Aquarius. Do visit the otter post, though (linked to her name). The comments will have you snorting into your cold beverage.

I'll leave you with a bedtime story. You might need to turn your sound up a tad. This is Best Beloved reading some Tolkien to Bumblebee (who seemed to need to rub his hair obsessively; he doesn't usually do this) and Padge, who fell in love with Bumblebee's new bunkbed and became its doorbitch for the evening, scratching anyone who moved up the ladder. I wish my camera could do justice to BB's reading voice; it's lovely to fall asleep to. Unfortunately, when I can't sleep, he's usually already asleep, so he's pretty useless in that respect!


Mummy/Crit said...

Oh wow, that head thing, i had briefly after D was born (he was born at home, but the ensuing haemmorage meant a trip to the local - they tried to expel the retained placenta by hand, pushing on my abdomen...) in the end I got nitrous oxide, and it had a very strange effect on my headspace, like really bad deja vu, to the extent that I still can't tell what's deja vu and what isn't - but I too had one of those epiphanic (spellcheck tells me this isn't a word - what are they thinking?) moments where _everything_ made sense, and I came out of it laughing wildly (of course). Not fun. Oh look two sentences.

Anonymous said...

Ducky, I have the work issue of bookmagazinebook - shall we swap before sending them on their way?

(I had planned to write the timing of the first contractions in there, but have hatched a new plan due to unforeseen delays.)

Anonymous said...

Padge makes a good doorbitch.