1. Is it dentists' surgery? Dentist surgery? Dental surgery? Or dentist's surgery? There are four dentists working there, but I only had one treating me, the Lord be thanked. Imagine! Four at once, peering into your mouth in the way the police might gaze into the darkness of a deep well scanning for bodies. Four dentists saying 'Open wide' 'Open wide' 'Open wide' 'Open wide' like a Gregorian chant or an echo across a valley. Four gleaming dental probes, all in your mouth at once, like an attack of metal scorpions. Hey, you dentalphobics out there: have you fainted yet?
2. It was raining when I set off to catch the bus: Proper Grown-up Rain, which has been falling for two days now, greying up the world and sluicing down drains with unreasonable gusto. So I took my husband's giant umbrella, measuring a mile across its width, and being the most anti-social umbrella in Christendom. To pass me, people had to balance along the kerb like tightrope walkers to avoid hurling themselves in front of buses. But the giant umbrella was shedloads more effective than the size 8 umbrella I had with me during yesterday's rainstorm. That one left me with a narrow dry patch down the middle of my body but elbows and outer thighs like papier mache, bits dropping off by the time I reached home.
|For my next birthday, please|
3. On the bus, a woman on the seat in front was peeling the sticky 'discount' price labels from packets of broccoli and bread rolls and sausages, one by one, picking at them to remove any trace. Why? Was she shopping for a friend she was about to con? 'You owe me £14.10, Audrey, but just the £14 will do. Don't you worry about the change.' 'Aw, thanks, Joan, chuck. You've got such a generous nature.' [Stage direction: Joan sniggers behind her hand and plans to spend her ill-gotten gains on a beer and a Cornish pasty in The Dog and Duck.]
Woman on the seat in front, if you are reading this, please leave a comment below with an explanation.
4. I was seeing a dentist today I haven't met before: someone called Jane. No surnames now, even for dentists, apparently. Soon we'll be addressing our medics as 'pet' and 'love' like Northern bus drivers do with passengers, and giving them friendly punches or high-fives and saying, 'You must be bloody joking, you plonker!' when they tell you the price of your treatment. I used to see a private dentist (Tom, soon to be Cutiepie). But I received a letter a year ago saying that either I could stay on Tom's list, paying into a private insurance plan that would cost me nine million pounds a year, but would give me peace of mind not even Mother Teresa could offer, or I could switch to the NHS dentist.
She was very kind, although there was an awkward moment when the tannoy called me upstairs ('Mrs Hill to Surgery 3, please, and try not to feel self-conscious as everyone watches you shuffle upstairs to your doom') because when I got there I shook hands with a woman in a green surgical uniform and said, 'Nice to meet you, Jane. This is the first time you've seen me. And my teeth. Ha ha.' She turned out to be the dental nurse and I had to do it all over again with the actual dentist who, from now on, I will call Honeybunny-Cheekypodge because we're - like - bessie-mates now.
5. I need a filling. Bah! The receptionist tried to book me in for next week. 'That'll be Wednesday 6 July,' she said. I frowned at my diary. 'But 6 July is a Monday,' I said. 'No,' she said. 'It's definitely Wednesday. Next week. Wednesday 6 July.' *awkward pause* 'Oops,' I said. 'I'm looking at last year.' The receptionist laughed and I told her, 'No wonder I'm a bit confused. That explains why I started peeling sprouts yesterday and putting up tinsel.'
Actually, I didn't say the thing about the sprouts and tinsel. I wish I had. So many missed opportunities. :(