Friday, June 29, 2007

There is a fine line between insult and flattery

I went for a cleaning yesterday. I only have 21 more days to brighten and whiten this smile the cheap way. I had a different hygenist an Asian/Korean/Japanese/Chinese/Contonese/Taiwonese (I'm sorry but I don't know the difference) womyn who was so gentle with me that I almost forgot she was there.

I wish I were Asian/Korean/Japanese/Chinese/Contonese/Taiwonese because these people don't seem to have a filter on what is appropriate to say and what's not. I'd kill to go through life dissing people in broken Engrish and then smiling and laughing a slight shy laugh that makes the person you dissed wonder if it was a insult or a compliment. A friend of ours married a Korean girl who said to him on their first date, 'You're really fat, you must want to lose weight, huh?" And when he went to Korea to meet her family they mocked him incessantly about being stocky. He told us how her uncle would giggle and say, "fat boy, I bet you want some ice cream, don't you?" if they passed an ice cream place.

So, yesterday, I sat down in the chair and started flipping channels which is always a moot point since I have to take off my glasses when they start the process. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't have a "fixed volume" and I could at least hear what's going on even if I can't see it. And to add insult to injury, it's permanently on closed caption. I may as well have been Helen Keller. The hygienist kept rolling back and forth looking at me and looking at my chart.

Then she finally said, "I had to look at your chart because I thought you were a teenager."

Wow! A teenager. I am genuinely flattered. I have been mistaken for a college student or in my mid-twenties but never my teens.

"But then I saw the hair and knew you couldn't be a teenager. Not with that."

The "that" she was referring to (and pointing to) was the patch of gray hairs that were starting to break through from my last hair appointment. And she had to have really good vision because they are still so new they're barely noticeable still.

"Well, thanks . . . . I guess," I said. One might think my engagement ring would give away the fact that I was not a teenager (since we don't live in Alabama) not the less than a quarter of an inch of gray roots on a one-inch section of my temple.

"You look really young," she kept saying, "I would have thought you were a teenager if not for that. I didn't think you would get that so young. Your chart has your birth date so that is why I looked."

Ummm.... okay, you wanna stop making me feel really old and just get to the scraping and polishing, lady.

After a few more minutes she asked me if I work. Now, mind you, between the broken Engrish, the mask, the fact she is soft-spoken and dental equipment is whirring she is even more difficult to understand. I explained that I took the day off because my appointment was smack in the middle of the morning for two hours (following the cleaning I had to see the real doctor and get my temporary crown put on) so there was no point in my going to work and telling them they couldn't put me in court when it was my job to be in court. She asks me what kind of court I work in and I tell her I am in every court from family to criminal and she said that my job sounds like fun. I told her it is but her work seems like fun too.

"No, it's not," she said. "It's boring. It's really boring. Like you. You are boring. I'm bored."

I've been called a lot of things in my life including (but not limited to) "Hitler," "black souled" and a "black widow" but I have NEVER been called boring. How do you respond to that? That's even a worse slam than the aforementioned in my book.

"Some people are really boring," she elaborated. "You're boring because there's not much for me to do. Your teeth are pretty clean."

Okay. I felt a little bit better. At least I was boring for a good reason and not because I wasn't entertaining. I pride myself on being entertaining . . . even if I am the only one who thinks that. I wouldn't want to be old AND boring. Heavens no!

After a few more minutes of scraping and awkward silence, she puts the goggles on me signaling its time to administer the baking soda power washing. She turned around to set up and I quickly put my glasses on under the goggles (because scraping dried on baking soda off glasses is a real bitch) just in time for the Breakfast Club to start on one of the channels I landed on.

When she turned around and saw what I did, she laughed. "You so funny and cute," she said.

Hah! I'll show you boring and old.

"So funny. So funny. Do you have kids?"

I told her I did not have kids yet. I had to get through the wedding first and then I'd think about kids.

"I can tell," she said. I was waiting for some sort of backhanded compliment. I was starting to think she should just cut me in half and count my rings (read: scar tissue) so she could know everything about me.

"You're still very . . . " and she made this gesture with her hands and her face (which was half obscured by her mask). It's hard to describe the half that I did see, but she kind of put her hands up by her head and waved them around while bobbing her head. Its the gesture you might make if you found someone to be an airhead or flighty. However, it could also be interpreted as carefree and without worry. Did she just call me immature by way of charades? Her confusing gesture, much like her, was like a fortune cookie. Confucius say what?

"People who have kids are very . . ." and she made stern face and held her arms in a rigid manner. "I don't like them. They very different. Very . . ." and she made the gesture again.

Okay. I get it.

Finally she was done. I couldn't get out of the chair fast enough even if they were at my favorite part in the movie where they're all in the library taking out their lunches and Judd Nelson launches into his "woe is me" routine. Whatever happened to Judd Nelson?

She bid me farewell and wished me good luck and sent me off with a toothbrush and trial of floss. "Thanks," I said muttering "for nothing" under my breath.

I came home and told Stew what transpired between me and my Hyde-gienist. He started complimenting me in a Chinese accent saying he was reversing the days misfortune. 'You so young," he said, "so young and not boring." Later he put it into perspective. "She basically backhanded you for an hour or so and you paid her to do it AND because there was barely anything left to clean, you paid for nothing."

Way to make me feel better.

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