As I begin to write, it’s half an hour past the appointment, and the anxiety is reaching new levels.
One way of coping with stressful situations, which has worked in the past, is understanding that the worse it is, the better the blog post I might be able to get out of it afterwards (for examples, see – Do You Still Love Me Despite My…? and And I’m Not Looking Forward to the Journey Home).
I know I’m not completely alone in this. I remember acclaimed author, Alan Bennett, once talking about the fact no matter how bad a situation gets, a writer is always mentally taking notes with a mind to how he might expolit it later.
But as I sit here in the dentist’s waiting room, scribbling into the margins of my Sudoku book, I’m finding little comfort or distraction from the anticipation of the imminent treatment.
Scribbles in the Sudoku book
Part of the problem is I no longer define myself as a writer: for the past couple of years I have classified myself as a photographer instead. And this has had a profound effect on the way I see, and interact with, the world around me.
A few years ago, I reached a point where I saw just about everything in terms of blog posts – overheard conversations snippets or behavioural observations of strangers, friends or even myself – any kind of thought process or emotional experience could potentially be reconstructed into 50 to 500 words for Ramblings of The Bearded One.
Now, however, I see everything in the context of how I would frame, light and shoot it with my camera. I am constantly seeing faces, for example, I would love to photograph, and sometimes, rather embarrassingly, get caught staring.
So despite my desperate attempt to distract myself by writing this all down in my Sudoku book, my new reality is I would cope a great deal better right now if I could photograph the process of sitting in the dentist’s chair receiving root canal work in preparation for having a new crown fitted.
Despite the dentist’s light stopping working half way through, and ending up being in the chair for nearly an hour and a half, I have to say I wasn’t in any pain after all. The last time I had root canal work, it was excruciating. Of course after the numbness wore off I was a bit tender, but that was to be expected, and today it’s hardly noticeable.