You never know whom you’ll run into.
I’m sitting at our family dentist’s office when a substitute dentist walks in and introduces himself. I find out that our regular dentist is at Club Med wearing beads and sipping pińa coladas — compliments of Spouser’s last series of crown replacements, thank you very much.
“Open wide,” the fill-in dentist says, gazing into my mouth with the help of a midget mirror attached to a metal chopstick.
Just about the time he has his hand, the mirror and a plastic suction device stuck in my mouth, he starts making casual conversation (evidently something taught in dental school).
“So, you don’t remember me?” he asks.
I really hate it when people ask me this. I automatically get a guilty feeling and my mind goes through the remnants of memories stored in old brain files that are now crumbling and archived.
And, under these circumstances, I wouldn’t recognize Brad Pitt (actually, I probably would, but that’s beside the point). Just the same, the guy doesn’t look the least bit familiar, so I shake my head as best I can with my mouth still agape.
“I sat next to you in calculus class,” he says.
“Eeeeellly?” I mutter, wondering which of the two times I failed calculus he’s referring to.
“Actually,” he continues, “I asked you out.”
“Oooo-id?” I reply.
He nods. “You stood me up, which was probably one of the most humiliating moments of my life.”
My eyes open wide as he sticks a buzzing drill in my mouth. “Let me know if this hurts.” He says, grinning.
Now, I would never have stood this guy up. I have never been the stand-em-up type of girl. So I’m sure he’s got my chin mixed up with someone else’s. Or maybe he did actually ask me out, but I didn’t realize it.
So, I think to myself — forgive me if I failed to realize that, ‘Would you like to integrate my trigonometric power?’ really meant, ‘Would you like to catch dinner and a movie?’
Maybe I’m a little slow in these matters.
The whining drill hits a nerve, and I jerk my head sharply. “Sorry,” he says. “Hit a sensitive spot, eeeh?”
I’m thinking about how much it hurts when I bite down on ice or drink hot liquids. When it comes to my teeth, every one of the little chompers are touchy.
“Yeah, sensitive,” I reply, spitting blood into a cup and wiping my mouth.
Fortunately, I didn’t have this problem with Spouser. He didn’t ask me out subtly. Actually he didn’t ask me out at all. He was working as a lab assistant at the university when I happened to take notice of his white sneakers worn with black dress pants. Cute, I thought, in an Urkel kind of way.
“Excuse me,” I said, “but did you point your toes toward me?”
“Talking to me?” Spouser said, looking around.
“Yeah, you. I learned about body language in beauty school, and you’re wanting to ask me out.”
“I am?” He asked.
“Of course you are.”
We dated for more than a year, and still Spouser didn’t know he wanted to marry me. I decided I’d better take the bull by the horns before some other cow moved into the pasture. Knowing Spouser could be swayed by logical reasoning, I showed him an article explaining how married men live longer than their single counterparts.
I held my breath as Spouser scratched his head while he read the article. Then he checked his watch and said, “Okay.”
The following week, the Justice of the Peace conducted the nuptials in my dad’s living room, and the rest is history.
Back to my story: yesterday I walked into my regular gynecologist’s office and discovered my longtime OB/GYN is on vacation with his new wife. A substitute is standing in, the nurse informed me while taking my blood pressure.
“I think I’ll reschedule,” I told her, sliding off the table, just to be on the safe side.
Gina Tiano is the author of Life in the Bike Lane, available at Amazon.com. Post your comment on this column at www.valleytowncrier.com Columns can be found by typing Gina Tiano in the search bar or by clicking the columnists tab.