Living Between the Lines

Inci-dental Moments

If I was to give myself ‘lines’ to write this week, they would be:

I must pay attention. I must not day-dream. I will do better.

Now, that is an affirmation of sorts isn’t it?

So, you may well ask, what brings on this need to self-scold? Well, we all do things that embarrass us from time to time don’t we? I know I do and quite honestly, if I paid more attention I could save my blushes.

E.g. Earlier this month:

I left the driver’s door wide open while I took elderly mother-in-law and toddler grandson into Sainsbury’s supermarket. I didn’t know I had done this of course. Even when there was an announcement over the Tannoy asking the person who owned a white Audi, with my registration number, to come to reception, I was none the wiser. White Audi? Mine is dark blue, I must have misheard the registration. I ignored it. Even when they repeated it, I decided, if it was my car, there was no point rushing out to hear bad news. So I took my time.

What idiot leaves their car door wide open? This idiot!

Luckily, nothing had been taken. Any thief would have supposed me to be somewhere in the vicinity I expect. My mother-in-law kindly said that I had had a lot to think about what with “an old’un and a young’un to manage,” she was too kind.

On the way home, I took mother-in-law and toddler to visit my middle daughter for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. As we left, I carried a reluctant toddler under one arm and supported mother-in-law with the other. Having got mother-in-law to the car, I put my handbag down so that I could strap toddler into his car seat and ran round the other side, to help mother-in-law in.

We had been home not five minutes when the phone rang. One of my daughter’s neighbours had found my handbag sitting in the middle of the shared drive. Red faced, I drove back to collect it.

Last week, I turned up at the dental surgery for an appointment a week early.

It could be my age or it could just be the time of year but I have certainly become a little dozy.

This week, I breezed into reception and said,

“Hello, I’m back again!”

(Always best to poke fun at oneself, I find, before anyone else can.)

“You’ve got the right day this time,” the receptionist confirmed with a grin.

As I prepared to sit down on a plush, leather sofa, I noticed a £5 note lying on the seat. Naturally, I handed it in to the receptionist.

“While you are up, could you take this questionnaire and complete it for me once you have been seen by the dentist please?” she asked.

I exchanged the £5 note for the questionnaire and carried it back to my seat. I dropped bag and cardigan, car keys and notes onto the seat next to me, at which point I was called by the dentist.

Grabbing bag, pen, notes, questionnaire and cardigan, I sailed into the surgery in more of a flap than I had intended. My dentist, we’ll call her Sally, was smiling and chatting about this and that as I put my accoutrements down on a chair and untangled my cardigan which had inexplicably become wound round the bag’s handle. Making myself comfortable, I relaxed, ignoring the sound of my belongings sliding to the floor. I sailed through the check-up. No problems – hooray. I was about to jump out of the chair and reclaim my scattered possessions, when Sally forestalled me. She wanted to show me my upper left molars on the state-of-the-art screen.

I lay back so that she could use the state-of-the-art camera and grab a shot of said molars. Sadly, they succumbed to fillings years ago and there was none of this gleaming white amalgam then. Were they ok? I was confused. I thought we had finished. What was this extra curricular activity about? She pointed at the molars. Had I thought about swapping my ancient silver fillings for nice white crowns? They were ok now, she told me, but could weaken later…

I recognised a marketing ploy when I saw one. Talk about having a captive audience!

I admit I have considered the idea she posed from time to time. Sally suggested making an appointment now and getting it done as soon as possible, was I free tomorrow? I panicked slightly.

“I would have to go away and check my diary,” I lied. Sally nodded.

“Of course, just call us to make an appointment and we’ll book you in, next week if you like,” she said, adding, “A lot of the treatment would be covered by Denplan so it’s not too expensive.”

“A lot? Not all?” I digested this information. I couldn’t help feel I was being reeled in and it was not the most comfortable of feelings. Something clicked in my brain. At this point, she had as much chance of selling me white crowns as she did of selling snow to Eskimos. I was leaving. Gingerly, I began to slide off the chair. Sally was still talking about the white crowns. I wanted to say—don’t push me!

I decided to leave quickly, without fuss. I reached for the door handle behind me.

“Well, we hope to see you again soon then,” Sally smiled at length, proffering my notes. I took the notes from her and, one hand firmly on the door handle, thanked her, intending to walk away, my dignity in tact.

I pushed the handle down and pulled,

“Oh, no, it’s that way!” Sally said suddenly, making me jump. I looked to where she was pointing. The door through which I had come only minutes before, was indeed over the opposite side of the room. So, what had I just opened? I looked behind me as though I didn’t believe her. Oh lord, I had been about to walk into the store cupboard.

“Oh,” I said.

I closed it.

The dental nurse shrieked with laughter. The dentist shrieked with laughter, dignity flew out the window.

I was giggling all the way home.

I am still considering the white crowns…but first, I’d better sharpen my pencil…

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Hilary

    Hi Deborah .. oh dear – sounds like you have too much going on – that’s the only trouble .. at least that’s the way I’d take it – but it is a week of mishaps ..

    re the changing crowns – I’d leave them til you need to change them .. at least they’re not causing you any problems and if they’re messed around with – who knows ..

    Look after yourself! Cheers Hilary

  • Andrea

    Glad you’re not stuck in that cupboard, Deborah. Just think of all the sales pitches you’d have overheard by now. I agree with you and Hilary. Best to leave well enough alone. By the time you need the crowns for sure, you might be considering implants anyway (we are all on that path, some of us sooner rather than later).
    I can’t tell you how many silly things I’ve done while taking care of Alice in one environment or another. I find it hard enough to look after myself. Add anyone else to my list and I’m close to hopeless. Sometimes Alice, who I think isn’t even listening, remembers more of what the doctors say than I do. I’ve had to start taking notes. So it goes. On we go, trying to do the best we can. Your mother-in-law sounds very understanding.

    • Deborah Barker

      I swear there used to be a door to the waiting room where the cupboard now stands, Andrea! Not long after this faux pas, I was watering the garden plants only to look down and see that I was wearing one turquoise ballet pump and one gold – had obviously kicked them off under my desk at different times and not bothered to check what I was slipping back on – could start a new trend?

  • Teresa

    I’m not surprised you nearly ended up in a cupboard! Dentists are scary places!
    I agree with Hilary – get the white crowns done when and if you need to! 🙂 x

  • patricia60

    Oh do I know those days. At least you could laugh. I am an organized perfectionist about errands. I can never find these things funny without ample hindsight

  • Katie Gates

    It’s always interesting when dentists make these suggestions. A few years ago, I had to switch dentists because I realized the man I’d been going to for years was making a lot of recommendations that didn’t make sense to me. I decided I could no longer pay for the floral arrangements in his building’s lobby or for his children’s college education… I needed a dentist with a lower overhead!

    • Deborah Barker

      Hi Katie, yes, I am not used to being railroaded into things whilst stuck in a chair! This dentist was NHS when I joined it 22 years ago but soon became private. It is modern, go-ahead and very good but I sense the partners have all been told to pitch for work at every opportunity – it’s how this is done that is the problem. NHS dentists are now thin on the ground and I am happy with this one on the whole, I’ll just have to hang onto my purse when I am there LOL!

  • screenscribbler

    Dental surgery used to be a check up polish and on a bad day it would be just a filling. Now they seem to put together a whole package together that I too am very suspicious about.
    On the subject of having your mind elsewhere, I have a supermarket story too. I telephoned my wife and told her I was in ASDA and asked her if she wanted anything. She said no, but advised me, that seeing how I was at ASDA I might as well fill up with petrol, because they are the cheapest in my area. I returned my trolley to the trolley park, and remembered the petrol. So headed over to the petrol station. The only problem was I had gone there on foot and left my car in the car park. I don’t know what I thought I was going to do when I got there.
    Senior moment? Well hopefully not dementia. I think as you get older, you get more contemplative and reflective whilst going through the process of everyday mundane activities in life. When I cut my lawn, do I think about the grass I am cutting or the merits of my mower? No, not until I run the thing over my foot or trip over the cable.

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