I am scheduled to have two wisdom teeth evicted tomorrow, by force, and am feeling apprehensive about it.
More than apprehensive. Such a procedure typically uses general anesthesia, which is a fairly common thing to be phobic about, but which I have never in my adult life experienced.
A secret truth about this shell I inhabit: I have a poor memory, and an abject fear of memory loss. This is probably why I never developed the habit of drinking myself into a stupor, and have to date never in my life really been drunk. The worst of all possible results of aging would be to lose myself to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Perhaps related to this, I possess a strong desire not to “miss out” on something: nights out, laughter, life experiences, food, play, sex.
Anesthesia, in all its cold professionalism, taps into all this. For a time, it is an utter removal from the world, unlike sleep, unlike sickness, with no memories and no dreams. I have unreasoning fears of risk and loss, of returning with something missing from myself, or something switched off, or something awakened.
All this shouldn’t happen, of course. Standard procedure, very common, well-trained staff, sign here, count down from one hundred, medication for when I am returned to the world groggy and sickened.
I just do not like being at the total mercy of substance.
I have too much yet to do.
I haven’t been creative much lately. Poke my head in, shake it to clear my day, grimace, and exit without commentary.
I haven’t written, I haven’t sat and thought. I have been tired, and sickly, and in pain.
Partly this is due to my working schedule, which can be busy and long and spasmic and unpredictable, and I have a good/bad habit of keeping my email open long after I should have gone to bed, just in case there’s something I can address.
Mostly, though, it’s been a slow realization of my condition. It’s been years since I’ve had chiropractic adjustment done; when I stand you can see how offset my head is, how one shoulder is higher than the other. It’s dawned on me that I’ve been living with pain, every day of my life. I get tension headaches. I can’t think well. I don’t mention it much. I have things to do.
I had the opportunity to meet with my friend H., who is a Doctor of Chiropractic. With his portable table he made necessary adjustments, cracking and popping areas that had not moved in years, locked into place like rusted chain. He could feel the parts that had tried to weld together.
I stood up straighter, and could lift my head, put my shoulders back. I had range of motion again.
Chiropractic has had its share of skepticism directed at it, but I have no trouble believing that its effects go beyond cracking liquid back into the joints. The body uses the spine as a highway, and it seems fair to think that the offramps can get congested.
It’s startling what one lives with.
Thanks, Dr. Hans.
Some few places provide me an instant, smiling serenity when I walk into them. A reputable cigar shop with a well-maintained humidor. A certain unpretentious local Sicilian restaurant with Americanized red sauce and a scent of childhood. A thumping, uninhibited goth-industrial dancefloor. Hidden alcoves in Los Angeles where black silhouettes of palm trees are attractively marred by power lines.
Among this list is a barber shop I now visit when my skull gets too fuzzy. It is a ritual I don’t need per se, for I can get myself a Wahl balding clipper and render my head shorn at will. Yet I come here, for the barber shop is one of those decidedly masculine endeavors.
A warm morning swells upward from sleep, blinking and sticky.
Thinking itself in the monsoon season, it rains, sideways, for a handful of minutes.
It stops, confused.
Birds take up a cautious song.
The dryer upstairs snaps and clanks in its busy way.