A Trip to the Dentist

Hitch-hikers divide all the people of the world into two groups.  Those people who give them rides, who are good, almost saintly people, and those who don’t, who are callous, inconsiderate scum bags.  Waitresses and cab drivers judge people on whether or not they are good tippers.  Animal lovers judge people on whether they love animals or not, and writers judge people on whether they are readers or not.

Is it safe?

Is it safe?

Everybody judges other people through the lens of their own life.  The disturbing thing about dentists is not that they judge you on whether you have well cared for teeth or not, that’s expected, but that they do it while you are confined to a chair, with your head tilted back, a glaring light shining into your eyes, and your mouth forced open.

Yes, I had a fairly unpleasant dental experience today.  On the good side, she was reasonably quick and efficient.  Also on the good side, she was young and not bad looking.  That may sound sexist and ageist of  me, or at least indicate an inability to compartmentalize, but if I have somebody’s fingers inside my mouth, I’d just as soon it not be some old geezer with hairy hands.

But, she didn’t even try to speak English, not a word, and she seemed incapable of speaking Czech slowly, and didn’t  really seem to give a shit that I wasn’t understanding half of what she was saying.

In fairness, I am the foreigner in this country and should speak much better Czech than I do after 17 years.  But, she was a young woman, maybe 30, which means she was probably about 4 years old when Communism ended.  She’s had a lifetime of exposure to English movies and English music (of course, learning  English from pop songs basically teaches you how to say ‘big butt,’ so maybe that’s a bad example.)  But, she’s a medical school graduate and probably has had English lessons since second or third grade.

I’m an English teacher.  You can see what basis I judge people on.


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