Charlotte my dental hygienist and I are discussing flossing. Charlotte says she is not very good at it which is not exactly what you might expect from a dental hygienist, now is it? She tells me that the other day, while
flossing, she accidentally knocked a rather valuable glass vase off the sideboard. Whoever knew flossing was so, well, dangerous? Not to mention expensive.
are probably there before me - we are talking about that new dance craze sweeping the nation. No, I haven’t tried it myself as yet because it looks like it involves the kind of move which will lay bare my extreme lack of coordination. Charlotte says
one young man of her acquaintance is given to standing up several times while eating his breakfast for a quick floss before sitting back down for another mouthful of Weetabix. I ask whether she thinks the introduction of “The Floss” is likely to
do anything to improve the nation’s dental health but she reckons this is, sadly, not to be counted upon. If anything, it may create confusion whenever she exhorts her patients to floss. You can imagine them, can’t you, leaping out of the dentist’s
chair to show off their moves.
It’s always difficult to have a meaningful conversation - whether about flossing or anything else for that matter - when you
are sitting in a dentist’s chair. This is for obvious reasons, as in one’s mouth being full of nasty instruments scaling and scraping and polishing away. Knowing this, I make sure that Charlotte is aware, before I even take to the chair, that I
am having a Sensitive Tooth Period. “Be kind to me!” I beg, plaintively. Charlotte retorts that isn’t she always kind to me - so I have to backtrack hastily for fear of offending her. It’s never a good idea to offend anyone who is going
to explore the state of one’s teeth with sharp implements.
“You know what a wimp I am,” I excuse myself, but Charlotte says she doesn’t
think I am a wimp at all, far from it. Just on what evidence she is basing this totally erroneous judgment on my Wimpiness I simply cannot imagine.
talks about gardening and the best time to plant out summer bedding. I have a mouth full of water (she has decided to engage in Water Torture today) so my gurgled suggestions are soggy, which is not the best environment for planting out your geraniums, pinks,
antirrhinums or cosmos plants. The one-sided conversation moves on to the way in which children (as opposed to plants) grow, almost without you noticing the passage of time until suddenly they are All Grown Up. There is a lot I could add on this subject but
we are onto polishing now. That’s a Royal We, you understand, as in I’m not making a whole lot of effort while Charlotte is working away assiduously (and mostly painlessly) on my behalf.
Charlotte says my tooth brushing technique has sadly suffered as a result of my Sensitive Tooth Period but she feels able to forgive me in the circumstances. I promise I will try harder as I clamber out of the chair. I wonder
if we should do a few floss moves, as a gesture of solidarity but decide against it. I think maybe I should practise it at home first.
I am called next door
to the Tooth Fairy’s domain and while she reads through Charlotte’s notes of our Previous Encounter, I take a rest in her chair. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” she apologises but I tell her I am quite happy, lying there with my eyes shut
and pretending to be on a sunny beach somewhere warm and welcoming.
I feel I need to check on The Floss when I arrive home. You doubtless know this but
it was invented by a sixteen year old lad going by the name of The Backpack Kid. Apparently you don’t actually need to wear a backpack while flossing, which is a pity as I have a very beautiful, flowery backpack bought for me by My Boy one birthday.
It would be good if I could at least look the part.
The best advice I read came from a Christchurch schoolboy who advised acting “like a zombie trying to
swot flies away with both your arms at the same time.”
All I can say is, think before you floss...