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Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'd rather have a root canal...

I sometimes get to the point where there is way too much and not enough, all at the same time. It's an information glut, most of it not at all important, at least not to anyone except myself. In the last few weeks the hubster's unemployment has run out, I had a root canal, Wall Street has begin to resemble Tahrir Square (with some images that evoke some unnerving memories of the late 60s) and Steve Jobs died, possibly pushed over the edge by the October 4th announcement of Apple's long awaited, completely ordinary iPhone 4s, the "S" standing for "so what?"

The unemployment speaks for itself. We're of an age that makes us too old to hire (as if there were that many jobs to be had in California) and too young to retire. I've got two sons still at home. One would think that, as one approaches the big 60 next year that one would be in a position where begging and borrowing are signs of a callow, misspent youth. One would be wrong. I find myself working all week to find my paycheck (which is on the convenient auto deposit plan) hasn't even covered the negative balance in the account because the only way to pay the bills to to write checks that the bank will pay and charge us for the privilege. But the gas and lights are on, at least. I fear for the rent payment this month but that's for another day.

The root canal was interesting...being in pain for several weeks I finally broke down and called the dentist. I had a dentist I liked, she seemed very pleasant and had televisions in all the little rooms so I could watch TCM while she drilled, which I liked. Apparently, however, SHE was also watching TCM instead of my teeth. The "little crack we can get to later"  turned into a root canal and a crown three years ago and, after a satisfactory trip to someone I got from 1-800-Dentist I promptly stopped going all together. The 800 dentist was nice but verbal on his politics and, as I was in the process of moving out of my bank seized home and he was voting for McCain, well, I sort of drifted out of dentistry.

As I had developed a VERY sensitive tooth and it wasn't going away I spend two weeks trying to figure out what to do about it and who to go to and, in the long run, I called the Republican. I got in the next day, which struck me as odd and fortunate as he always seemed to be booked up before. When I got there I discovered why...Dr. "I voted for McCain" was out on medical leave and someone I'd never heard of was taking over until he got back. I wasn't real pleased, seemed to me they should have told me that when I called for the appointment and not when I walked into the waiting room. The dentist was a young women, fresh out of dental school, who cleaned, took x-rays, found the noticeable source of my discomfort and told me about how I would have to have my gum cut away and part of my jawbone removed after a root canal but I should come back in two weeks and she would see if she could just drill and fill.

I thought of running to the next guy on the list but at this point it had become an insurance issue and I sort of had no choice but to go back. She shot me full of whatever they use instead of Novocaine nowadays and set to work. I'll spare you the details of how my teeth smelled as she drilled the hell out of them. Also my emotional distress at her grinding down and prepping a broken tooth for a crown, THAT tooth was perfectly healthy and COULD have waited but not now and, um, lady? Did you freaking ever stop to ASK me if I could AFFORD THE CO-PAY on this crown that, while necessary, wasn't an immediate concern? It's not like the tooth was smashed or broken in half, it was, for all intents and purposes, chipped and had been for several years.

Well, she gaily sent me off for the root canal. Sent me to my dentist's other office deep in the valley...the one next to the Ralph's. I arranged a day off, took a deep breath and went.

Have you ever had to take a dog to the vet's? You know how the dog stops moving and you have to coax and plead and the eventually drag him across the vinyl floor of the waiting room while he trembles and barks? Well, that was me. The receptionist handed me a consent form and, after I got to item 11 which said that my tooth could turn brown and I might never be able to taste anything ever again I literally ran screaming from the storefront and cried my way home. The hubster, btw, was NOT especially sympathetic. My unofficial boss and several of my friends were, however. After a week I called the dentist back and got permission to go to the endodontist I had been to the first time. They thought it would be a good idea as this guy has nitrous oxide and sedatives and such.  The root canal was done on Tuesday morning, the endodontist looked at the mangled mess that was passing for my tooth and said "straight up root canal, no more, no less, want to get started?" and, 75 minutes later, with nothing more than a LOT of Novocaine I was in the parking lot and ready for the crown. I have a prescription for Vicodin which I filled and never used as I had virtually no pain except for the ache where the needles had gone in.

I debated going back to a different dentist but again, there are insurance issues as well as the nasty inability to meet my co-pay and I decided that Miss Just Graduated From Dental School and look what I can do couldn't do any more damage at this point. Oh, did I mention, she gave me a cold? While she was drilling she was telling me about her sore throat and cold symptoms. I mumbled something about her staying home but she seemed to think it was fine. I thought, well, she IS wearing a mask and gloves. Didn't help, four days later I had her damn cold, but I digress...

Anyway, I called the dentist a few hours after the root canal was done to schedule the appointment for the crowns. The first available time is a week from this coming Friday, which tells me that Dr. Right Wing is back. I'll take him.

I have spent the last several minutes meandering around my root canal on my PC. No, I don't use a Mac, although most of my family does, I'm a Windows girl, it suits me fine. But even those of us on PCs owe it all to Steve Jobs. Computers existed when I was a girl. They required entire rooms to house. Steve Jobs took that Univac and put it on our desktops. He took that desktop, folded it up and stuck it in our backpacks and briefcases. He put it in a portable phone and, for the last three years, we've held all the information in the world literally in the palm of our hand. It matters not what operating platform you use, every time you fire up your iPod, power up your laptop or pick up your email from your smart phone you owe it all to the imagination, the enthusiasm and the vision of Steve Jobs.  It didn't matter that you didn't use a Mac,  you still sat up and took note because, when the man in the mock turtleneck and jeans stood on the stage in Cupertino, the WORLD wanted to know what Steve was going to show us now.

Steve Jobs was a combination of Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers and P.T. Barnum, except, unlike Barnum, he wasn't selling us baloney.  He was showing us the future. A future we didn't have to wait for. Steve never said "This is what we CAN do." Steve always said "This is what we've DONE."

Even though we all saw this coming, the entire world, from ages 8 to 108 stopped dead for a split second yesterday. Our lives won't noticeably change because Steve Jobs died. But, like the long awaited announcement of the next iPhone last Tuesday, they will be a little less interesting.

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