Tang Reunion

I was at the dentist this morning for my “once over”. I go about three times a year, not so much because I need it, but because my insurance covers it and my dentist likes to go on nice holidays. He always asks the same thing, like “any plans for Spring Break?”, and while wealthy and successful people may respond, “Well, yes. We are heading to: #Hawaii #Disneyland #Disneyworld #Arizona #Victoria #PalmSprings” or other such exotic locales, I told him we are heading to a small prairie city a couple hours drive west of here for their “Winter Exhibition”. Which is in itself a misnomer, as we are clearly into Spring now. (Okay, there is still snow on the ground, and as I look out the window this minute there are flurries in the air, but THE CALENDAR DOES NOT LIE [unless it is one of them “Hijri calendars” or my sweet U2 calendar from 1988 that I kept for years after the dates made no sense because I liked the pictures]). My dentist seemed to know about the winter carnival because he said the arena smells like a barn all week, and I agreed with him. “I have to take an antihistamine before I go near there, but my wife and daughter like petting all the small farm animals and I don’t mind watch the horse jumping all day long”. I realized I sounded like a bit of a simpleton, but it was the truth. They put some kind of covering on the arena floor. (Wood chips? Saw dust? Straw?) so you don’t ever hear the clop-clops of the horses’ hooves. (That apostrophe on ‘horses’ may be in violation of Strunk and White, but I can’t just bring myself to write horses’s and I wouldn’t want you to have to sound that out in your inner “reading voice”.)

Despite the sneezes and being around all those smelly animals for a day, I AM looking forward to our little getaway, and our hotel has a pool, so I might even risk a DIP at some point.

But this is all burying the lede, people. The main reason I am writing this post (in addition to writing one to not miss one in March. Not that missing one would be the end of the world, would it? I mean, really) is that I was reunited with my old hygienist today. (No, not Mary K. Long time readers may remember my favourite hygienist of all time. I wrote about her here way back in 2013.) Not her. That WOULD be something to celebrate. No. I’m talking about TANG, my hygienist who happens to be a MAN. Last time I was at the dentist, Tang wasn’t available so I was assigned to ANOTHER MAN. I don’t mean to sound sexist or ignorant here, but my impression (could be wrong, could be wrong!) is that dental hygienists tend to be women. In fact, up to and including Mary K, they had ALL been women for me. But now I’m wondering if there is something in my file that says, “He only takes dudes” now, because what are the chances that I would get not one, not two but THREE mangienists since Mary K’s tenure? (There was a short-lived guy name “Sam”, but no one ever saw him again after that first time). I did not care for Tang’s replacement last time. He was rough with his hands (and such big hands!) and he told me I wasn’t flossing enough, which I took the wrong way. I mean, sure, I’m not flossing after every meal. I’m not a serial killer. But I do make an effort to “eff and bee” every night before bed, and if I miss the occasional night, it only makes me more human and relatable. In short, we did not click.

So this morning, as I was sitting in the waiting room, I honestly couldn’t remember if I had booked with the Tang replacement, or the original flavour, so you can imagine my great surprise and joy when Tang 1.0 came out to the waiting room to collect me!

“It’s good to see you!” I gushed unrepentantly as I climbed up into the chair.

“You too, I missed you this winter” was Tang’s response.


“Well, I mean. It feels like its been awhile.”

“Yes, it has! I had that other guy last time. You weren’t here,” I said reproachfully.

And then we started talking about karaoke for some reason and I remembered how much I liked his laid back demeanour, his dry sense of humour, and his small, ALMOST LADYLIKE hands. FRIENDS AGAIN. Or, if not friends exactly, then a hygienist and a patient who seem to click.

We finished about 10 minutes early, and I commented, “Well, look at that. We are ahead of schedule.”

And Tang said, “That’s a testament to your good gums. There was even less plague on here that usual.”

“Welllllllllll. I’d say it is a testament to your ability as a hygienist. Why don’t we both take credit for our successes today?”

And Tang said, “That’s what we call around here Filling Each Others Buckets” and I didn’t like THAT term at ALL but I DO like Tang and made sure I booked in with him again in August. He wished me well at the winter fair, and I wished him well at his next Karaoke session, and I left with some floss, a toothbrush (green!), some paste, and ZERO cavaties.



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