Friday, August 22, 2008

Absurdity of the day

I spent a good part of my working day today at the dentist's. Bloody inlay my old quack apparently fucked up needs replacing - and a vicious, painful and time-consuming business this is.

Anyway: they have a new trick at my dentist's. Instead of letting me while away the seven minutes or so until the anaesthetic kicks in (and Doc can start wielding his manifold drill bits) with an extended meditation on the "Doors of Tuscany" poster opposite the torture chair (all German dentists have at least one of those posters in their establishments - it's a law), the assistant firmly pressed a remote control in my hand and told me to watch some TV via the computer.

I was verily flummoxed by this act, especially since as far as I am concerned, there is no need for this kind of, er, service. I can spend five minutes totally unentertained and not feel bored. I could have taken Bill Bryson's book on Shakespeare out of my bag and read a couple of pages. I could have looked at the cherry tree outside the window or watched the cloud formations drift in over the Hunsrück. I could have contemplated the unnatural sensation of feeling half of your face go numb and explored the accompanying sense of unease and latent fear.

Is it safe?

But you know what the worst thing was? I did as I was told! Patient patient that I am I obediently flicked through the channels - because that was what I was asked to do, right? Though I am proud to say that after one round through 24 or so programmes of extortionate tele-shopping and sanctimonious CNN-style reportage I was bored enough to switch back to the silent screen-saver and returned to the blooming Tuscan doors.

Still, what a weird way to start the weekend ....

1 comment:

Mr. Joyboy said...

Sorry to hear about the unpleasantness, The Wife! It's a pity laughing gas hasn't caught on here in Germany. In the good old States, you pay an extra $25 or so, they put a mask on you, and you float away into the clouds for the next few hours.

The fact that the dentist is removing great bloody clots of tissue from your mouth -- if you even notice it -- seems deliciously absurd. And they don't call it laughing gas for nothing -- the biggest problem is not breaking into gales of laughter at the wrong time. Once you've got some NO2 in your bloodstream, any televised program will send you into realms of enchantment. My favorites were the ocean-life documentaries, which my dentists wisely had strung together on an eternal loop. They were the kind in which there was almost no commentary, so I didn't even have to ask him to turn the sound off.

Almost all dentists offer it in the States because (1) it makes patients tractable and willing to return; and (2) they make a killing on it, since it's an "extra service" that they get paid for directly by the patient.

I have yet to find a dentist in Germany who offers laughing gas, although one of them began doing so after I explained it to him...