Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Alvin Likes My New Look

So ... I had the oral surgery on Thursday morning--installing the implant so that, later, my dentist can install the new "tooth." Since then, I've become even more familiar with my bed than usual. Long naps. Long hours at night (lights out by, oh, 8 p.m.). A half-day of pink saliva. Some pain now and then. The oral surgeon gave me a scrip for an opioid, but I shredded it, preferring pain to, you know, addiction and living in a van down by the river.

I hardly got out of bed at all yesterday (Friday).

He had advised me to ice the left side of my face "for a couple of hours," but I craved sleep instead, so now (as a result) I look like a chipmunk who mouthed a nut that's too large to chew, too large to expectorate, and now it just swells his jaw. Alvin stopped by, told me he admired my new look, offered me a gig with the Chipmunks. I demurred. Politely.

I had one other implant done, oh, seven or eight years ago, and I'd forgotten all of this ... discomfort. If I'd remembered it, I would have declined the invitation for another and spent my final years gap-toothed. (Actually, it's not really visible--a lower left molar.) I think there's something slightly sexy about a missing tooth--as if I'm a UFC fighter or something? At any rate, if it's visible, it's a conversation-starter. Not that I like conversations with people curious about my dental arrangements. Why are they looking at my mouth?

Joyce tells me my new look is kind of cute--and that, my friends, is Love.

I go back to see the surgeon this coming Thursday--just to see how it's healing--and I'm sure he'll bark at me a bit about not using ice. Oh well. What's life without a little barking?

(As I type barking, I smile, suddenly remembering David Copperfield and that great bit from Barkis, the coach driver, who tells young David that he should write to Peggotty, David's childhood nurse (a wonderful cook whose goodies Barkis has just tasted), and tell her that "Barkis is willin'"--i.e., he'd marry Peggotty. See entire exchange at the bottom of this post.)

Then--assuming all is going well--I will wait to see my family dentist who will do the final installation.

Meanwhile, I'm chewing exclusively on my right side--except when I forget, and Pain reminds me to rethink what I'm doing. I'm sinking into slumber at the slightest self-suggestion that I do so. For meals, I'm eating food so soft that I'm not even sure it's food. I'm craving a vast tub of popcorn. A stack of Ritz crackers with crunchy peanut butter. A jar of dry-roasted peanuts. A ... you get the picture?

But, no. It's yogurt. And bananas. And crust-less bread, microwaved to soften it.

I think I need a nap ...

from David Copperfield, Chap. 5: "I Am Sent Away from Home"

As this was a great deal for the carrier (whose name was Mr. Barkis) to say—he being, as I observed in a former chapter, of a phlegmatic temperament, and not at all conversational—I offered him a cake as a mark of attention, which he ate at one gulp, exactly like an elephant, and which made no more impression on his big face than it would have done on an elephant’s.

‘Did SHE make ‘em, now?’ said Mr. Barkis, always leaning forward, in his slouching way, on the footboard of the cart with an arm on each knee.

‘Peggotty, do you mean, sir?’

‘Ah!’ said Mr. Barkis. ‘Her.’

‘Yes. She makes all our pastry, and does all our cooking.’

‘Do she though?’ said Mr. Barkis. He made up his mouth as if to whistle, but he didn’t whistle. He sat looking at the horse’s ears, as if he saw something new there; and sat so, for a considerable time. By and by, he said:

‘No sweethearts, I b’lieve?’

‘Sweetmeats did you say, Mr. Barkis?’ For I thought he wanted something else to eat, and had pointedly alluded to that description of refreshment.

‘Hearts,’ said Mr. Barkis. ‘Sweet hearts; no person walks with her!’

‘With Peggotty?’

‘Ah!’ he said. ‘Her.’

‘Oh, no. She never had a sweetheart.’

‘Didn’t she, though!’ said Mr. Barkis.

Again he made up his mouth to whistle, and again he didn’t whistle, but sat looking at the horse’s ears.

‘So she makes,’ said Mr. Barkis, after a long interval of reflection, ‘all the apple parsties, and doos all the cooking, do she?’

I replied that such was the fact.

‘Well. I’ll tell you what,’ said Mr. Barkis. ‘P’raps you might be writin’ to her?’

‘I shall certainly write to her,’ I rejoined.

‘Ah!’ he said, slowly turning his eyes towards me. ‘Well! If you was writin’ to her, p’raps you’d recollect to say that Barkis was willin’; would you?’

‘That Barkis is willing,’ I repeated, innocently. ‘Is that all the message?’

‘Ye-es,’ he said, considering. ‘Ye-es. Barkis is willin’.’

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