Monday, April 28, 2014

Grist for the Mill

My new dentist is a fast-worker compared to my old one. I used to get my dental care at the University of Minnesota’s school of dentistry. They did good work: every step was overseen and double-checked by a teacher. But every step was overseen and double-checked by a teacher and that took some time. My new dentist gets three times the work done in a fraction of the time. This adds up to  a huge reduction in my stress. As well the less time with sharp, noisy instruments in my mouth, the happier I am. I still lie in place with my hands clasped tightly together across my midriff and softly croon show tunes*to myself until the ordeal is over, but it’s over all the sooner.

All this is by way of explaining why I am now sitting in the lobby waiting area of the dental offices, with half an hour’s wait before I need to head out for the bus stop. There’s no bench at the stop and I do have one here, and a nice view out glass-walled sliding doors onto a parking area beneath a lovely sky of robin’s egg blue swathed in milky streaks of cloud. There’s  sunshine on the pavement and parked cars. There are finally buds emerging on the bare limbs of the few trees before me – small enough to be fruit trees. I can imagine them in flower by the time I return for my next appointment in a week. Clumps of dried dead grasses surround them now. Perhaps there will be green blades, maybe flowers by then.

Despite the fair appearance of the day, the temperatures are still in the forties to low fifties and there’s a strong cold breeze. Hence my preference for waiting in a sheltered area rather than out in the sunshine. Still, the sun is good to see and the budding treees and greening grass. And maybe I need a little time to adjust to a world no longer cloaked and caked and layered with ice and snow.

It’s a whole new world now. The rules are different. It may be a bit too cool yet, but it won’t kill me to go too long without a coat. I can still trip over my own feet, but I don’t have to worry they’ll slip out from under me. It all makes the world seem a much friendlier place. Winter will come again, but that’s long ages away. I can begin to look forward to swimming outdoors under an open sky, to walking out casually, without having to don layers upon layers of protective clothing. Living in Minnesota in the winter strikes me as good training for those who might contemplate colonizing an alien planet.
 What does any of this have to do with writing? What doesn’t have to with writing? Every experience, every sight and sensation and observation on life is fodder for the writer’s pen. While many, if not most things will be irrelevant to the story or subject at hand, anything and everything is part of the whole tapestry of life from which we build. Dismiss nothing as worthless.
* or x-mas carols, for which I apologize to my dentist and assistant,  given how they are subjected to repetitive repetitions of a limited repertoire of same via their sound system during the holiday season, and having endured that, they now deserve the rest of their year free of the stale aural fare.)


Big Mike said...

Yep, get a ton of ideas watching people interact while I'm waiting on my wife outside a store, which I do a lot.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

My favorite drill song would be "This is my once a year day," from Pajama Game. Every six months is too often.

Nice observing going on there.