They were just playing, on the radio, Judy Garland singing, “Somewhere over the Rainbow.” I think it was meant for me. I should adopt it as my theme song these days. I have been trying really, really hard to be much more positive this week about life matters, that is, finding a place to call home. I decided to try this new positive look on Monday after going to my first Mindfulness Meditation class. I came home more mellow than I have been lately even though we hadn’t really started meditating yet. Just the idea that I was there and I was ready to let all those negative, fearful thoughts melt away and leave me less fearful and much more positive.
I marked the date in my calendar so I would remember that I had made that promise to myself that I’d be more positive from that day forward. (I also promised this to Rose who is pretty bored and upset by having her beauty sleep disturbed by my 4 am tearful, fearful awakenings worrying about this whole mess.) I told myself, out loud, “Nothing will come from fear, You got to let the good light in, Annie.” I even put an “Alleluia” and “Amen” at the end for good measure. I felt like Julie Andrews twirling her suitcase around Salzburg. I knew in my heart that this new positive, upbeat approach would turn things around and there, on the horizon, would be my new wonderful, light-filled home.
Then, later that same night, as I was watching probably another episode of old Law and Order, I bit down on something and the bridge over my front teeth slipped down two notches and precariously hung there like a half-slip creeping down your leg after it has lost it’s elastic band. (That, too, happened to me walking home from work one day when I still wore skirts and slips.) By not totally falling out the bridge was actually more precarious. I was nervous about smiling, talking or opening my mouth wider than a grimace. I forgot about teeth brushing and flossing. I did not want to face the world the next day with a gap — worthy-of-the-Beverly-Hillbillies — where front teeth should live. That look is adorable in a 7 year-old — not a 71 year old where very little is actually adorable.
But really, all the heavens above, give me a break. Wasn’t loosing my home enough? Wasn’t getting Hazel, my ticking pacemaker tucked in my chest, enough? Now my bridge dating from the 1980s decides, just at the opportune moment, to slip away from its moorings? I wanted to call up my trainer, Christina, and tell her that this latest attack was “Too Much.” She had preached to me earlier, “It’s never too much unless you make it too much.” Bullshit. I was in no mood to take that route at this time. I wanted to be miserable about this, shake my fist to the heavens and hope that frogs did not land on my head.
It got worse when I went to the dentist the next day. She was not happy to see me since she was overbooked and did not appreciate my emergency. But, I, most certainly, did not want to walk around the city with no front teeth. She shook her head at me and said, “What are we going to do about this?” I thought she should have the answer for that, not me.
She wiggled the bridge so it fell out completely. Great, I thought, especially when she gave me a mirror so I could see those stumpy teeth and gaping gums as she talked me through the possibilities. Before she put fingers and instruments into my mouth, I frantically asked her if she’d be putting that back in, thank you very much. “Sure, she said, not to worry.” But then, when it came time to do just that, she couldn’t get them back in. She was getting pissed and, kept saying to me, “Didn’t we just get this in?” It wasn’t my fault but if they didn’t go back in I would certainly be the one to creep around with hand over mouth as I made my way home on the subway. I started praying to St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless cases and, in this instance, I was hoping he also covered bad teeth. Eureka, after the tenth try, they clicked in and cement set and now I could find out what my dental future held.
Here were my options, she said: Door One: Ann gets another bridge! No applause from me when she says this would mean sawing off a couple more teeth, crowning two more, and writing her a cheque for $10,000. But wait, there’s Door Two. This involved a trip to the periodontist who I had spent many, many hours and many, many dollars with when he did my gum surgery. There I could get the latest in dentistry and have the bridge replaced by four, count them four, implants. Hold the applause here, too. This option would cost — are you ready — $20,000! I’m 71 — how many years do I have left? Would I even live long enough to get the value for my money? Wonder if I didn’t make it to 95 like my mother? Could I leave them to someone else in my will? Then, finally, there was little Door Three, the basic, “Let’s put a denture in.” for $2000. Guess what I’m doing.
Well, tomorrow will be one week of my “more positive outlook on life, please” promise. Even with multiple visits to the dentist, I plan to do my best to follow it. I can’t promise myself — or Rose — that there won’t be a few more 4 am slips into sadness and heartbreak. Maybe I should put Judy singing her heart out about that rainbow and bluebirds on loop and remember that dreams really do come true — in their own good time.