Everybody has an inner dialogue going at some point during the day. We keep it on the inside for a variety of reasons. What we are telling ourselves might be hurtful to another or embarrass them. Perhaps we know that it might make us look foolish or reveal that we don't exactly understand what is going on. Or it could be that it is just fun to have a little secret. Whatever the reason, the chats we have in our brains stay locked within.
However, I believe that a bit of what we are thinking always shows on our faces to some degree. Thus, I am able to fairly accurately recreate what I believe were the multiple inner dialogues going on amongst those of us at my recent dentist appointment.
It went something like this:
Perky Hygienist: There. I've put the little stick between her teeth and told her that the dentist will be in shortly. Now I can go be perky somewhere else while her mouth goes numb.
Sheepish Annie: Well, here I am with a stick between my teeth and my mouth is going numb. I'll just sit here and look out the window while I wait for the dentist who should be here shortly. Wait! Was that...it was! It's my dentist! He's leaving!!! Maybe he forgot about me. That would be nice...
Dr. Desade, DMD: Off I go for my little walk without my coat. I'm certain that no one has noticed my leaving but I'll be sure to tell them all about it when I get back for I am such a manly-man strolling about in freezing temperatures without protection from the elements!
Several Minutes Later:
Dr. Desade, DMD: Oh, good. She has that stick between her teeth. Now I can tell the tale of my trip to the hardware store down the street and allow them all to marvel at my bravery without interruption.
Sheepish Annie: Wait...did he say, "hardware store?" Why in the name of all that is holy did he need to go to the hardware store before doing my filling???????
Note: After brief consideration, I decided that this particular inner dialogue should be externalized. It seemed like a prudent question to ask under the circumstances. For the record, the Perky Hygienist got it and was chuckling a full fifteen seconds before the dentist lost his perplexed expression.
Dr. Desade, DMD: OK. That threw me for a second. But it all worked out. Now I get to tell the ladies all about how I went to get a screw so I could fix the receptionist's drawer and they shall again be in awe of my vast talents.
Sheepish Annie: This is a really long story...
Dr. Desade, DMD: And now I shall use this giant needle to administer the gift of pain-free dentistry. My God, I am amazing!
Sheepish Annie: Wow. That is a really big needle. Ow! What the heck just pinched my tongue? I should really mention...YIKES!!! Never mind my tongue! That sucker is pretty much ripping up my jaw!!!
Dr. Desade, DMD: One day, they will make a movie about me and my awesomeness.
Sheepish Annie: Urk. I taste blood. I should maybe mention that to the Perky Hygienist.
Perky Hygienist: I am just going to quietly offer to suction her mouth and pray that she doesn't see the look of abject horror upon my face.
Dr. Desade, DMD: Well, she says the anesthetic's working. Now let's make the magic happen!
Sheepish Annie: You know, I can never remember. Which side of my mouth is the one where the Novocaine doesn't work? Is it the left? The right? OMG!!! NOW I REMEMBER!!!
Perky Hygienist: Just keep suctioning, just keep suctioning, just keep suctioning...
Dr. Desade, DMD: Huh. That's interesting. The chair is actually shaking right out of it's base. She's got quite a grip on the armrest, there. Maybe I should stop and ask her if she is all right. I'm certain she is simply overwhelmed by this display of great skill and whatnot, but it never hurts to ask.
Sheepish Annie: I hate this man so much.
Dr. Desade, DMD: Well...she did say to keep going and get it over with. I'll just keep telling her that I'm almost done and that will distract her nicely. I'm sure it's not nearly as bad as she's making it out to be.
Sheepish Annie: *%@%$*&@#$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Perky Hygienist: I could have gone to cosmetology school. That would have been nice...
Dr. Desade, DMD: There. That should do it. Oh, look. The silly patient bit her own tongue. I should tell her that so she, too, can laugh at her folly. I'll even throw in my patented Condescending Chuckle.
Sheepish Annie: Bit my...really? That's what you're going with? Oh, I'm gonna give this guy a piece of my mind right here and now!
Dr. Desade, DMD: She looks like she has something to say. Must be getting ready to start in with the tearful professions of thanks.
Sheepish Annie: Oh, forget it. It's not worth it. Besides, what do I know? I can't see inside my own mouth and everything but the tooth he was drilling into was numb. Maybe I did bite my tongue. Maybe it is only a coincidence that it didn't hurt until he stuck that stupid, giant needle in there. Maybe the Perky Hygienist always has that deer-in-the-headlights look during procedures. I just wanna go home...
Dr. Desade, DMD:
Sheepish Annie: That's right, little man. Run away. As fast and as far as you can. Because if I ever regain the strength to get out of this chair...
So much to say and yet virtually all of it remained unsaid. Silent witnesses would have heard naught but, "how are you today?" and "fine, thanks." There were wishes for pleasant weekends and reminders to be cautious during the upcoming storm. The hygienist's horror, the dentist's sense of self and the patient's fervent desire that a plague of boils suddenly manifest itself upon a certain drill wielding man were all kept internalized.
I drove home shakily. Every so often, I spat out a little something that looked disturbingly like a piece of tongue, but that might have just been my imagination. My tooth throbbed, although my mouth and jaw remained numb almost to the point of uselessness.
Not so much, however, that I didn't take advantage of the privacy of my vehicle. Rest assured, I had a great deal to say and the internal dialogue became highly and explosively external.
That was Thursday. Now it is Sunday and my mouth has healed a bit. I ranted in lisping tones for a while, but I think I'm over it. Now it is time for the internal dialogue to focus on getting me ready to go back to school tomorrow. Vacation week is over and I really need to be gearing up for interpreting what my students are thinking instead of my dentist.
I wonder what the kids would say (internally or externally) about a science unit on good oral hygiene?
Dateline – Toronto
15 hours ago