I was at peace today, for an hour, sitting in the dentist's chair. The only sounds were the office stereo playing soft rock (really, that's what it's called), and Dr. G in the next cubicle, joking his way through another appointment more serious than mine. He's good at putting people at ease by pretending he's known them forever. On my first time in his chair I felt comfortable enough to talk, had I been allowed.
Today it was just a cleaning with the estimable Cheryl. She has a different way of connecting with her patients. She does it by actually seeming interested in your life, and she withdraws her hand from your mouth often enough to let you carry on half the conversation. She found out all about my recent trip to Colorado (as if I've ever tried to make a secret of that).
When she knows you can't respond, she'll tell you about her life. I know that her daughter is eighth on the college cross-country team, meaning she doesn't always get to run at the meets, but she likes to travel with the team because her boyfriend is on it. She drove to Kansas City on her own for the first time last year, and at 21 she was responsible enough not to let any of her friends drive unless she had confidence in their ability. She called every night from the road, just to check in with her mom.
Do you care about these things? I did, when Cheryl cared enough to tell me about them. Plus, I came away with cleaner teeth, and all of this was covered by my insurance. How can you beat that? No booming disco beat coming through the wall. (I swear they were playing disco music yesterday afternoon. Nothing else has that unvarying rhythmic pounding as its signature.) No racing engines, no basketballs slammed against the garage door. Paradise. For a whole hour.