Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Brush until you bleed

I have excellent teeth, my dentist uses these words, she says "Sarah, you have excellent teeth." I have never had a filling. I went to my dental hygienist recently - Daphne. She performed her cleaning ritual, which was brutal, as always. She uses a sharp hook to scrape away most of my gums, placing her knee on my chest for balance. Afterwards my teeth feel squeaky clean but they don't feel very firmly attached to my head. She asks questions about my life while holding my tongue down with a tiny mirror on a stick. "Oh you live in Dublin, hmm? My husband and I went to see Phantom of the Opera at the new Grand Canal Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Fabulous. Have you been?" I try to shake my head and say "nnhghg nu naah-", "Ah-ah" she cuts me off, "don't try and speak". She hooks her hand around my top teeth and prods the roof of my mouth. She pulls my head back for a look. "Spongey gums, Sarah," she says, frowning and poking her hook deep into the delicate flesh around my teeth. Spongey gums? This apparently grave condition needs to be rectified as quickly as possible by poking a hairy rubber stick through the gaps between each tooth twice a day or my teeth will fall out. Excellent. Thank you Daphne. "Brush until you bleed, Sarah, focus on the gums," she tells me handing me some complimentary toothpaste.

Then I go in to see the dentist: 2 cavities, all of a sudden. Two? What? But I have excellent teeth? "Yes, I must say it's very strange Sarah, has there been any change in your eating or drinking habits?" I avoid her gaze and quietly mumble that this year I started drinking Diet Coke. She pushes her chair back and looks at me like I've just swallowed her car keys. What are you doing? You never tell the dentist you drink Coke. She slowly pulls the plastic mask down from her face and holds my gaze. Then she says quietly that only after 7 years will we know the full extent of the damage I have inflicted on my teeth. This is how long it will take for the consequences of my disgusting habit to fully manifest themselves. (Oh holy god.) Then as punishment, she gives everybody a sticker except me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I have owned a lot of mobile phones. Lose them, break them, drop them in the sea/toilet - more frequently than most. I just get a new number each time for speed. Friends have had up to 12 different possible numbers assigned to my name. My mother saves my ‘current number’ with the month that I tell it to her. (We're on ‘Sarah October'. It's January so we're going well so far.)
Four days ago, in a wildly unexpected turn of events, my phone went missing somewhere in my room. I didn’t really notice on day one. On day two someone sent me a message, and I heard the alert tone and thought, ‘oh good, I haven’t lost my phone,’ which is what I think most times my phone makes a noise. However my £10 phone (I know!! How do they make them so cheap?? It’s madness!) alerts me with some serious beeping when my inbox is full. This message happened to be the one to tip it over the edge. So my phone (bear in mind, hidden somewhere in my room) has been beeping every half hour for the last 3 days. I kept forgetting to look for it in the glorious period of silence between the beeps. Last night at 1.00am enough was enough.
This is how it goes:

Call mobile using house phone. Rings twice, stop to listen. Sounds oddly muffled like it is inside something. Panic in case I’ve swallowed it without realising. Decide unlikely - rule it out for now. Rings twice more and stops - gone to voicemail. Battery dead. So begins the process of elimination: strip bed, check pillowcases, pull bed away from wall, empty ‘stuff’ box under bed, check pockets of clothes on floor, poke behind radiator with coat hanger. Pause. Try calling using house phone again, battery still dead. Pull clothes out of wardrobe, lift loose floorboard, stub toe, strip bed again, re-check pockets, open drawers, open dvd cases, open curtains, open Terry’s Chocolate Orange for a break. Eat nearly all Terry’s Chocolate Orange except for three bits. Feel sick. Lie down on bed.

Spot bin. Check bin. Touch something damp. Continue rummage with coat hanger. Find phone in bin, inside a pair of laddered tights, covered in hair.

I don't understand. ‘Sarah October’ lives to text another day.