Yesterday, I had an appointment with the dentist to have a check-up on my unfortunate orthodontia. This was the first time I wasn’t dreading my dentist appointment, because I knew that this was the first time I was actually following through with wearing those dang elastics that are meant to fix to my jaw, while making eating an impossible task. I had finally gotten into the groove of doing what I’m supposed to, so I didn’t mind going to the dentist.
It was pouring outside (congratulations on getting the winter memo, California, no matter how late it was), but since I unfortunately don’t know how to dress myself for the winter, I donned a dress, frilly socks and saddle shoes, with a flimsy coat to help. It didn’t.
My father pulled up to the dentist’s building and, while it was still raining heavily, asked me if I minded him simply dropping me off while he went to the bank. He’d “be right back, in a jiffy!” Usually, my incredibly low self-esteem and lack of confidence would cause me to sway in my spot with nausea at this request, but that day—I don’t know if it was the rain (rain does things to me) or what—I said I wouldn’t mind, and I told him to take his time. He asked me how long the appointment would last. He guesstimated about ten minutes. I, for some reason, said that was too little, and told him to be back in twenty minutes, minimum, and reminded him to take his time.
I pushed open the door I had usually walked through when my dad was holding it open for me, and signed myself in (again, new bizniz) with their long green pens with the big flowers at the end. I played with the Newton’s cradle for a bit, then sat down on the multi-colored chairs and eyed the many-months-old magazines. The appointment took only about seven minutes, and after I said good-by to my Spanish teacher, who I was surprised to find sitting in the chair next to mine, I set an appointment for March and slowly made my way to the door. My dad still wasn’t here. But my hand was already on the door knob, I couldn’t just turn back and sit—and then I realized that I had been standing with my hand on the door knob for more than five seconds, so I hurriedly opened the door and walked into the empty carpeted hallway that had doors to the other offices, my heart beating rapidly.
I made my way to the first floor, and got closer to the door that led to the outside. I opened it and a gust of wind and heavy rain fell on my face. I couldn’t wait outside, so I awkwardly ambled to the staircase and… goodness… plopped down and started reading my book. I sat there, in the deserted hallway, with the white, bare walls completely eating me up, listening to the rain hit the glass-paneled roof.
I tried to read, but I found myself re-reading the same line quite an embarrassing amount of times. The fact that my hair stood on end every time I heard somebody thunder down the stairs didn’t help either. Especially when they trotted down and turned to go down the last few steps I was sitting on and yelled out ‘Whoa!’ because they were about to trip over me. I apologized a total number of eight times, I marked them on my leg.
There was this poor girl who was about to go up the stairs and didn’t see me behind the railing. She suddenly appeared in front of me and screeched, and apologized, just in case I thought she was screaming at the sight of me, not because I “caught her off-guard”.
I kept sitting there, until I heard the main door open again and the familiar squeak of my dad’s shoes. He saw me, and I didn’t even have to look up from my book for him to yell out “HEY, JESS!” and for me to half-smile and for him to ask me “How long have you been waiting here?” and for me to say “Just half an hour,” and for him to gasp and say “Are you for real?” and for me to nod and for him to shake his head and offer me his hand. I didn’t want to make him feel guilty, so I took it, but quickly slipped it away once I was up.
The rain started pouring even harder as we got outside, and I ran to our car, (just like in the films), while protecting my head with my copy of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. I dreamt of being a housemaid taking care of a Mr. Martin with a plastic face.
On the bright side, it’s still raining, and it’s beautiful.
I took a bubble bath and listened to the Beatles’ White Album. There was a point where I decided I was a fearless motherf***** and, while dripping wet, got on my tippy-toes on the edge of the tub and reached up to open my window, simply to listen to the sound of the rain while I lazily took a nap in my bathtub.
You should try it sometime. I, though, have perfected the art of taking naps in my bathtub without drowning, so I don’t recommend this yet. You should try reading something lovely instead, while occasionally leaning over to sniff your favorite candle. Baby steps, y’all.
Even more good news, I think I’ve perfected the “:3” cat face. Or is that the duck face?
Next time, if it’s raining again, I’ll tell him to pick me up after forty minutes. I think this gives me enough time to explore the entire building.