I like going to the dentist.
I don’t know what all the fuss is about, you people.
I sit in the chair being happy: That someone is taking care of me. That someone is grooming me. That someone is trying to be gentle with me.
For me, it’s a lot like the pleasure I take in getting my hair done. The injections of Novacaine? Big deal.
My dental student at UCLA this past year, Daramin, has been wonderful. He has worked around my mid-divorce scheduling craziness, and tolerated my miserable self-pitying ramblings. He has gone to bat for me with the school’s financial office.
What is perhaps more important—my teeth are in the best shape they have ever been. I am the proud possessor of a total of five new caps that are a perfect match for my originals.
Beyond all this, I have enjoyed Dara’s company. He is a sweet young man who has revealed a strong moral core.
I try to figure out what small token I will bring to our last appointment to show him my appreciation of the time I have spent in his company. However, in the hectic two weeks leading up to the appointment, enmeshed in the viscous murk of my divorce, I entirely forget.
I show up with absolutely nothing, shaming myself. I am further shamed when Dara presents ME with a gift.
And then, I feel even worse. Dara has given me a quite expensive gift card to a department store—one at which I normally can’t afford to shop.
Dara says that I am a very good patient, and he appreciates that. (I wonder what a bad dental patient is. Do some of us bite?) I am embarrassed. But not too embarrassed to use the gift!
Months prior, my years-old purse had finally taken that long journey to the land where old purses go to die.
I had shuddered at new purse prices—what is wrong with women, throwing away money like that?
I had travelled to the nearest discount department store (it rhymes with “FLOSS”) and bought the least expensive plain black bag I could find. I had also bought a cheapie wallet.
Although the wallet had survived my typical rough treatment, a few weeks later every thread of the FLOSS handbag’s stitching had broken.
Thanks to Daramin’s gift, I now headed off to the better department store (it rhymes with “BRACIES”). They were having a huge sale. I had Dara’s card and two coupons.
I am now the proud possessor of five new caps on my teeth, and one ridiculously-overpriced handbag for which I paid only a pittance.
Thank you, Dara! I will think often of my student dentist and the dental school:
Every time I drop my FLOSS wallet into my BRACIES handbag.
The real Dara (he knows who he is), and
Dr. Alex Daneshvar, the best dentist in Culver City.