Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Trip to the Dentist

As I reclined in the cushioned, comfy chair this afternoon at Toluca Lake Dentistry, I felt irritated. I'd planned on enjoying a 40 minute nap whilst the hygienist cleaned my teeth.

Instead, the lovely (and gentle) Joyce was in a chatty mood. She asked the usual barrage of questions, barely audible through the surgical mask and the perspex face grill that seems to be the standard uniform these days.

How times have changed.

Thirty-five years ago I had such a dreadful experience at the school dentist that scarred me for life. The silver gray van would park in the school playground and we'd be dragged in one by one for a check up. It was where I first experienced the horror of gas. It was also where I first bit the dentist (who I swear had the alchoholic tremors as he went for my tooth with pliers) and where I also got a slap for my trouble. You couldn't get away with that today (the slap - not the bite).

But it started my long terror of going to The Dentist. An appointment, even scheduled months ahead would give me sleepless nights. I'd spend hours throwing up in the loo beforehand. In the end I point blank refused to go. Until I moved to California - the land of the Perfect White Teeth.

Weeks after moving to Los Angeles I was plagued by a brain numbing toothache and surrendered. I asked my colleagues at New Line Cinema if there was a special dental surgery that specialized in weedy people who were scared. And so, my life long love of Dr. Don, Joyce and Toluca Lake Dentistry began.

For my first appointment—just a check-up, no visible tools—I was dosed up with Valium and just felt sleepy. Obviously there was a lot of work to be done but it was all painfree. I didn't even mind the injections of Novocaine. Now I am happy to say that I rarely need dental work and when this afternoon, as I left the surgery and was told I didn't need to come back for 6 months for a cleaning, I felt ... well ... sad.

Is there something wrong with me?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just call me Ma'am!

Yes. It's true. The time has come to accept that I am a woman of a "certain age." At Wholefoods supermarket yesterday, a woman called me "ma'am." I'd accidentally taken her trolley full of overpriced goodies and wheeled it away.

It reminded me of an incident a few years ago when I was crossing the road with my daughter who was 21 at the time. A ghastly man passed by and made a lewd comment that had a lot to do with wearing a short skirt. Outraged, I turned to my daughter and said, "Can you believe it! I'm not even wearing a skirt!" And she said, "Mum, you're wearing trousers. He was talking to me." It was very humbling.

I entered my thirties with the optimistic joy that comes with having suffered a horrible decade of "finding myself"; I embraced my forties as a woman who knew who she was and what she wanted (and married unexpectedly at 45); I hit 50 and had a mini crisis but still bravely soldiered on.

Age is all the mind, isn't it? Especially in California! This is Cougar Town! But somehow, the words "ma'am" stopped me in my tracks. It could be those glorious southern manners that I really love, it could be that she saw the ring on my finger - but most likely, it was because she saw a dotty woman tossing vegetables into her cart muttering "Could Professor Plum kill Miss Scarlett in the library with the lead piping ...?" (a mystery writer is always plotting).

However, I much prefer the French way. "Madame" sounds ageless, don't you agree?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not Made In China

I've been a bit lackadaisical (great word) on this blog recently.

Not because I have run out of ideas but mainly because I am feverishly promoting THIEVES! and every spare minute I am either at a book signing, library or writing a blog or arranging an event ... or going to work. Oh! And I also can't work out how to update my events page on my website. Sigh.

However, tonight I found a few spare moments to go through my iPhoto from Christmas. Yes - it's February but better late than never.

ANYWAY - I just had to share this terrific store in Totnes, Devon. I love that it specializes in goods NOT made in China.

Of course ... there wasn't much in there to buy ... but even so, I'm all for it.