February 13, 2013

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

Yesterday, reclined in the chair at my new (soon to be former) dentist’s, I thought “Dr. Light, Dr. Light, why did I ever leave you?”

Dr. Light was the best I ever had.  He specialized in old people, but took me on as a special case.  Then I had to change dentists because of my new insurance.

Two Novocain shots and neither worked.  And the drilling went on for forty-five minutes.  It felt like something to elicit a confession.  I was sweating, flinching, miserable.  And I’m usually a pro at the dentist’s.  I’ve had hygenists ask me if I meditate because I’m so relaxed.

I kept thinking about a notorious lawyer in town with plenty of private clients and no bar discipline for the longest time and how frighteningly incompetent he was and no one knew it except for other lawyers.  Then he went too far and got disbarred.  Bad dentists surely the same.  Lurking.  Preying on the unsuspecting public.  Was I in actual danger?

But it finally ended, and the temporary crown seems fine.  For now.


Reading ahead in my 1995 diary I see that I had a pimple by my nose eighteen years ago.  And so I have again.  Same place.  Probably the same fucking pimple.  And someday I will lie down in my grave and there it will be.  And people will say, “Isn’t it amazing how young she looks.”


I’m writing this in a coffee place.  I come here during my lunch break for the internet connection.  I don’t like the coffee, and the three-dollar cup of tea is not in the government lawyer budget.  But I happen to have cash at the moment, so here I am.

I’m listening to the boss train a new guy.  They’re both young urban hipster types with long hair, exquisitely nerdy glasses and vintage T shirts.  I can only hear part of what they’re saying because of other voices and music and coffee grinders and steaming milk.  But here’s what I can hear:  “Notice the mouth feel and texture.  Very full.  Almost chewy, isn’t it?  Now try the French press.  A little bit more crisp.  More balanced.  Now, what would be something intuitive to change when you go for a longer brewing time?  The grind.  Exactly.”  Then the boss guy said to the guy who’s working the counter:  “Dude, that sounded really contrived.”

There’s a guy next to me wearing a vintage bike helmet and vintage Nike’s and tight corduroys.  He’s eating a bowl of Fruitloops.  Even his food is ironic.

The boss guy just said to the trainee:  “Let’s take ten, close your eyes, have a smoke.  Then we can get you practicing and practicing and practicing.”