By M Robins
My dentist likes to talk……..a lot.
My dentist talks so goddamned much he gets way behind on his appointments. Instead of just fixing teeth, he leaps down rabbit holes of yapping about hot rods, his college days, Robbie Krieger playing at The Whiskey and all sorts of other shit that has nothing to do with fixing teeth. He talks and talks, then he’s got to rush to get caught up. I think this tendency toward gab has caused him to lose some hygienists who must have realized they can work elsewhere without all the rushing to get caught up since the dentist is the one, ironically, who can’t keep his fucking mouth closed.
If I had to guess, I’d say all the yapping is the reason my hygienist, purple-haired Lenore, is gone. It’s been over a year since she’s cleaned my teeth. The dentist hasn’t said anything about her absence, so I suspect she left under less than good terms. She used to remind him all the time how they were backed up. She’d tell me under her breath how he couldn’t stop talking.
Lenore was in her seventies. She used to tell me she kept working since she needed some time away from her boyfriend. And she used to ask me about my shoes – if they were comfortable – since we both had jobs that kept us on our feet.
My dentist likes to talk. A lot. I don’t. I like to get down to business about my teeth, then get the fuck out.
On our last session, before he got down to work, my dentist asked about the upcoming summer. There’s always some casual, banal banter before the work begins. I said I didn’t have any major plans for my summer. To not be rude, I asked about his summer plans, since he’d asked about mine.
He said something about traveling somewhere with some couples. He said he was starting to regret it.
He said one of the men in his party was a cheapskate. My dentist said this guy would rather drive all the way to Columbus to catch a flight that had 5 stops in order to save 100 bucks.
My dentist asked rhetorically, “When you figure in travel expenses from Cincinnati to Columbus and all the headaches of all those changes in flights, was it worth saving the 100 bucks?”
He reiterated how the guy was cheap.
He said, “With him, the cheapness is almost like a sickness.”
I said, “Yeah. I know the type.”
I told him to try to have a nice vacation anyway.
“We’ll see,” he said.
I opened up. He started poking around my mouth. Everything was good. Unless something goes afoul, I won’t be seeing him again until winter.