The woman sitting in the dentist's waiting room this morning looked scared stiff. I kid you not.
I had already had my six-monthly check-up (all fine, thank
you for asking) and was waiting to see the hygienist. I therefore had time to spread a little reassurance.
The Anxious One confided that she had a painful abscess. I winced in sympathy. Which dentist was she
waiting to see, I asked, though I thought I already knew the answer. When I had asked my dentist what the run up to the Christmas season was like, she explained that it was difficult to anticipate what each say might bring. On the one hand there were the patients
calling in to cancel appointments on the flimsy excuse that they had Christmas shopping to do. Well, don't we all, I ask you? On the other hand there were those who rarely, if ever, visited a dentist but needed a quick fix to a painful problem before the festive
season called a halt to normal life. My new friend in the waiting room was one of the latter group - and, yes, it was my dentist she was waiting to see.
Well, the very least I could do was to tell her that
she would be in the Safest of Hands. Worry not, I said but she still looked doubtful so I let her into a secret - my dentist is actually the Tooth Fairy. She looked at me as if I were quite, quite mad.
only other occupant in the waiting room was an elderly fella who said he had never had a moment's Tooth Trouble until he reached the age of seventy. The Anxious One said sweetly that he didn't look seventy to her. This was clearly the response he was angling
for - but then, what's the harm in indulging someone? We then had one of those pointless conversations about how everyone looks much younger for their age these days, compared with our youth when anyone who reached the age of forty appeared quite ancient.
Mr Seventy Plus was reading a copy of the National Geographic (there's nowhere like our dentist's waiting room for interesting reading material) and wanted us to guess what a close-up photograph depicted. We both had
to admit ignorance which was probably just as well, in that it turned out to be a greatly enlarged photograph of the bacteria of a sexually transmitted disease.
I was not at all sure I liked this turn in the
conversation so I busied myself reading one of those magazines which relate the stories of Ordinary People who have transformed their bathrooms / kitchens / bedrooms / hallways through judicious use of paint and interesting artefacts. Not that I have any intention
of trying to locate my Inner Interior Designer, you understand, but it's fascinating to see what floats other people's boats. Or bathrooms.
At this point, my dentist appeared in the doorway of the waiting
room to introduce herself to her new patient. "So I gather you are the Tooth Fairy?" said my fellow patient. My dentist looked a trifle flummoxed but not unduly dismayed. There are worse things to be, don't you agree, than the Tooth Fairy? I seem to remember
granddaughter Hazel Bagel was perfectly sanguine when let into the Great Santa Secret - but devastated to discover that there was no magical castle built out of pearly-white milk teeth by her very own Tooth Fairy.
I couldn't spend too much time thinking this through because the hygienist was inviting me into her Torture Chamber where she proceeded to ask me lots of questions about my Christmas plans which I was unable to answer on account of her Administrations.
She did provide me with an interesting insight into the Dentist's Staff Room which apparently is a Den of Tooth Related Iniquities such as chocolates, mince pies and sugary biscuits. Who'd have thought it? I marvelled. Albeit silently as a result of all the
Scaling and Polishing going on in my poor mouth.
I waltzed out into the town centre feeling virtuous. After all, I hadn't cancelled my appointment to go Christmas shopping. Though, to be fair, I hadn't thought
about it. Waiting for the bus home, I wondered how my fellow patient and her abscess were managing. I decided she would be just fine.
Thanks to the magic touch of my very own Tooth Fairy.