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How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Dentist's Drill
Three short stories in the LA Times about yammering parents on cell phones and the children they ignore helped me look back fondly on a few hours in the dentist's chair:

My dentists waiting room is about the size of a coffee table. I'm sharing it with a woman and her little girl. I just want to sit there quietly and distract myself from the horror to come by reading old copies of People. The woman's cell phone rings.

Now, I might be intolerant and unreasonable, but even I make allowances for "tell the babysitter not to let Johnny smoke crack before dinner" calls. This isn't one of them. No, the woman starts having a full-on, dentist's drill-shrill gossip session about her dull life. This must stop.

I start small, with a little Hey, do you mind? wave at the woman, and work my way up to expansive hand gestures and loud "Shhhhush"-ing. Unfortunately, every molecule of her attention seems to be commanded by her toe-curlingly dull conversation; hence, notice of somebody gesturing wildly two feet from her face appears to escape her. After a few minutes, I contemplate beating her to death with the June 1999 People and stomping her cell phone into small bits of plastic, but I recognize that postponing dental work with a lengthy court process will give me more time to be anxious about the drilling to come.

I try the spoken word: "A little quiet, please!" Nothing. I turn to her child and say very loudly, Mommy has bad manners. Of course, I could have been saying "Hi, I'm a pedophile, how 'bout you come over and see me some time?" and Mommy would have been none-the-wiser. Finally, I get right in Mommy's face and loudly tell her to put a lid on it: "You need to get off the cell phone right now!"

Mommy turns to me and goes all slack-jawed. Hold on, she says to the person on the cell, and to me: Scuze me?

Your cell phone," I say. "Youre talking very loudly and this is a small space and its bothering me. She makes a little put upon grunt and gets off the phone. We have a boring argument, which she loses. Unfortunately, she is too dumb to understand this. The hygienist calls me before I can remedially educate her, and I am treated to the comparative peace and quiet of my dentist's Black & Decker.

Posted by aalkon at September 14, 2003 12:37 PM