Doing as I’m told

Thursday November 23, 2006

So there I was, sat sitting in the dentists’ waiting room for the first trial of my new teeth, when from the corner of my eye I noticed a worried little flurry of receptionists, dentists and dental assistants. The chief receptionist and my dentist detached themselves and came over to me. Now I was beginning to be a little worried in case I’d committed some awful sin like forgetting to put my shoes on when I came out, or something worse, even.

“Something wrong, ladies?” I asked, all bright and innocent.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr Bailey, but there’s been a snag with the courier and your denture hasn’t arrived yet. Would you like to hang on just in case, or shall we fix another day?”

I smiled in relief. “Oh, not to worry. Let’s leave it for another day shall we? Just so long as I get my new teeth in time for Christmas.”

A look of stern determination passed between them. “Heads will roll if you don’t get your new teeth in time for Christmas,” the receptionist declared and the dentist nodded in assent. “Come on up to the desk when you’re ready and we’ll set up another appointment. On Monday?”

“Monday’ll do me fine,” I said, making a mental note that it’d not be a good idea ever to upset this pair of fierce young women.

And off she bustled, leaving me with the dentist who exchanged pleasantries of the simple kind with me while I got myself together ready to depart. In this practice the reception staff do the detailed business discussion and arrangements, leaving the dentists to do what they do best.

And that’s why I didn’t get to try my new teeth today. I can wait until Monday. And, to be honest, I was rather pleased not to have to open up for purposes of inspection and general poking today. I’d scrubbed, scraped and flossed ready for my appointment until I was frightened I’d do myself a mischief but there’s no escaping the last traces of that awful sickroom smell on the breath, no matter how much power rinsing you do with extra-strong Listerine.

I called in at the pet supplies emporium and at Sainsbury’s on my way home so I’d not have to go out again unless I really felt up to it.

Which was just as well because there must have been a bit of droop about me when I came indoors. Enough for Graham to notice, and enough for him to get all stern in response to my saying I thought I should go for a little walk before lunch.

“You’ll do no such thing,” he said. “Go and have a snooze.”

“Why?” I asked. “Do I look tired?”

“Yes,” he said in that flat monosyllabic fashion that brooks no argument.

I took myself off meekly and did as I was told. What with a fierce Graham at home and two fearsome young women at the dentists’ I thought it was one of those days when I was best advised to do what I was told.

 

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