Archive for January, 2005

Waiting Rooms

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Mood: Heavy eyelids
Drinking: Not enough water, I’m sure of it

No matter where I’m going or what I’m doing, I make it a habit to always, always, carry about some sort of writing utensil and something to write on. Sometimes I’m all organized and business-like and have my wicked little laptop along for the ride. Most of the time it’s the miniature comp book that hides in my bag. But sometimes, when I’m desperate, it’s the back of a bank envelope or napkin. Because I’ve realized that it’s disastrous to be caught unarmed. You never know when inspiration will come calling and you’ll need to take notes.

That’s how the previous post came about…I was stranded in one of those mandatory meetings that often happens when you collect your paycheck from some version of The Man. But I was prepared with paper and pen and began making a list of things I was waiting for.

And that reminded me of a silly little thing I wrote another time that I was stranded, waiting. This time it was in a doctor’s office. And I had my laptop along (that was back when it was all shiny and new and I took it absolutely everywhere). So I captured the whole experience as it so painstakingly unfolded.

So here’s a little Waiting Room for your viewing pleasure…

It’s a competition here
so we don’t look at one another
except to glare when someone
gets too close or stares too long
at your game of
solitaire.
The more people walk in the door to the left,
the more fierce the competition
to get in the door to the right.
We wordlessly jostle for the pole position.
We know who has been waiting the longest
and who is in the biggest hurry (that’s me)
and who can boast of the ugliest ailment.
The winner will be the first to get through that inner door.

A tall blonde walks in
but she is not one of the tempting ones.
She wears white ankle socks
and drags a dog behind–
an entirely unremarkable black colored lab
in a blue service jacket.
One of those special dogs that
supposedly opens doorknobs
and lets you know when Jimmy
has fallen down the well.
But this dog doesn’t do anything
except stand in the way and stare
and refuse to sit or lay or
do anything Anklesocks tells it to do.
And she explains to us all (we didn’t ask)
that the dog flunked out of seeing eye school
on the very first day and
I am not surprised.

But now everyone suddenly feels the need
to bond, to talk about it in those simpering
baby voices that people use
to talk to dogs and children and the very, very old.
The condescending googoo voices
that make you want to punch someone.

And I am in a punching mood.
Such a punching mood.

The room smells of sweat and
unwashed t-shirts
and the fat boy across the room
keeps on babbling to the reject guide dog
until even Anklesocks is annoyed and tries to
change the subject.

I’ve just decided that the fat boy and
the sour smell definitely go together when
he catches me staring.
He points across the room and squeals,
“Hey, a computer! Those things are good to have!”
I give him the look that I reserve for
special occasions, but he appears to be impervious.

I’ve been waiting here now for 30 minutes
and I’m not going to wait 30 more.
I’ve spent most of my life avoiding rooms like this one.
Pale and stale with uncomfortable chairs
and too many clammy bodies and hands.
I don’t have to be here. I could just get up and leave.

Except the nurse suddenly appears and is calling my name.

-Lo, who really has a good shot at being crowned Miss Anthrope of the USA.

Bored Now

Thursday, January 27th, 2005

Mood: Patient
Drinking: Snappley juice

i’m waiting for the perfect question.
The one that will turn all the tumblers
and set your secrets free.

i’m waiting for a sidewalk stranger
to scream my name from across the street.
i’m waiting for a warm rain.

i’m waiting for the darkness to get domesticated.
To lose its teeth. Velvet its paws.
i’m waiting for a window to open into an entirely new world.
i’m waiting for her to find her own bootstraps and give them a tug.
i’m waiting for the apocalypse to arrive with a blinding flash, with a roar.
(i expect it to come from behind.)

i’m waiting for my pen to stop bleeding.
i’m waiting for a subtle knife.
i’m waiting for that geriatric smell,
for the sudden onslaught of age spots, curlers
and paper skin.

i’m waiting for him
to send a long, hard look in my general direction.
i’m waiting for the sleeping pills to fail.
i’m waiting for this, too, to pass.

i’m waiting for her to stop talking.

(i’ve been waiting for quite awhile.)
i’m waiting for a train that runs beneath the ocean.
fish will fly by the windows
and deep sea divers will stare.
and we’ll reach out and grab strands
of greenish-blue kelp to wind in our hair.

i’m waiting for permission to scream.
i’m waiting for proof of spontaneous combustion.
i’m waiting for the wind to blow me over. i’ll know, then, that I am thin enough.

i’m waiting for the phone to ring with voices from beyond the grave.

i’m waiting for him to come on strong.
i’m waiting for an occasion with a dress code.
An excuse for tulle and a tiara.
i’m waiting for a microphone that’s just the right height.
i’m waiting for them to start playing my song.

i’m waiting for the voices in my head to say something nice.
i’m waiting for the right time to tell you it’s all gone horribly wrong.

i’m waiting for the medication to kick in.

i’m waiting for him to give me a reason to stay for the encore.
i’m waiting for her to blink so I can finally make my escape.
i’m waiting for a slow, slow death.

i’m waiting for the paint to dry so I can peel it off my nails.
i’m waiting for flu season to live up to the hype.
i’m waiting for fair play to turn about, already.

i’m waiting for the oxygen mask to drop
so I can show my rebel colors
and put yours on first.

i’m waiting for tall black boots with just the right amount of swagger.
i’m waiting for more men to start wearing makeup.
i’m waiting for her to make good on the threats.

i’m waiting for the Christians to say they were wrong.
(i’m waiting for icicles in hell.)

i’m waiting for my state to secede from the union.
i’m waiting for the Big One.

i’m waiting for my so-called-life to get an NC-17.
i’m waiting for the sun to burn out altogether.
i’m waiting for a crime of passion.

i’m waiting for him to give me a reason to give a shit.
i’m waiting for the pop stars to die off.
i’m waiting for her to make a mistake.

i’m waiting for inspiration to strike me dead.
(She’s always running late and forgetting the lightning bolts.)

i’m waiting for a mission to mars,
a ride to the moon,
an entirely uneventful spacewalk.

i’m waiting for him to admit that he did it.
i’m waiting for something to hold on to.
i’m waiting for the reunion tour so I can see just how fat she is in real life.
i’m waiting for shock treatment to come back in vogue.

i’m waiting for a ghost to materialize.

i’m waiting for the endorphins or amphetamines or
whatever will make this all worthwhile.
i’m waiting for it all to go on sale.
i’m waiting for my dog to speak.

i’m waiting for a burning bush.
i’ll also take a still, small voice.
a cloud, a dove.
Some kind of sign that’s sent from above.

i’m waiting for my eyesight to fail me completely while turning left at the light.
i’m waiting for the flavor of the month to be mine.
i’m waiting for reality to get less entertaining.
i’m waiting for her 15 minutes to finally expire.
i’m waiting for Jesus to get interesting again.
i’m waiting to get contagious.

i’m waiting for the final bell to toll so I can gather my skirts and run for the door.
i’m waiting for a confession of depression that has a happy ending.
i’m waiting for the check to clear the room.

i’m waiting for the bittersweet
to get a bit sweeter.

i’m waiting for the afterglow
to burn brighter.

i’m waiting for the dark horse
to lighten up.

i’m waiting for you to get the joke.

(This could take awhile…)

-Lo, who gets so very bored during long, pointless meetings.

Hullo, Backlash!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Mood: Annoyed
Drinking: Agua

Ugh.

Shoulda known better. The internet can be such an fickle, ugly beast. One day you poke it with a stick and it rolls over and giggles. The next day, it rips that stick out of your hand and beats you soundly about the brains with it.

So I said what I thought about a few boring blogs (which I was oh-so-careful not to call out by name, ‘cuz that would just be rude), and suddenly all hell breaks loose.

So far I’ve been called a bitch (not so shocking, really) and some earnest blogger posted on another site that when I prefer other names for this section (example: “newsletters” instead of “blogs”), calling it a newsletter is like putting an ugly Christmas present in saran wrap. Doesn’t make a whole lotta sense, but whatever. Personally, I think saran wrap is cool. All shiny and squeaky. You can even use it as a murder weapon.

So, here’s a little bit of background info for the newbies who came to my site out of righteous idignation to defend the blogs they assumed were in danger:
First, let me explain that I don’t consider myself to be a writer because I have one book of poetry out on the shelves. I call myself a writer because that is how I have made my living for more than 10 years. Words pay the bills. And I may not have 15 novels on the best seller list, but you’ve seen my words everywhere…they just didn’t have my name attached. I’ve chosen to make my living by writing for someone else, so that, on my own time, I can do the kind of writing I really want to do the way I want to do it. Because unless you die young or sell your soul to Hallmark, poetry doesn’t pay the bills.

Furthermore, you can come up with cute little analogies all you want, but really, this whole web site is NOT a blog. It is a site that was created 4 years ago to promote a book, photography and performance art. This little “She Says” section was an afterthought that was added last fall when the site was redesigned. It was supposed to be a little bit of croutons to top off the salad. So that’s why there are other sections of the site with self-promotional stuff in them (like oodles of photographs).

See, this isn’t live journal or typepad or diaryland. This web site doesn’t exist so that I can write about my exciting trips to the grocery store. The point of this whole web site is everything BUT this page. And yeah, if you have a web site with your name as the url, you are trying to get some attention. But I’m not angling for blog fame. I’m just another artist out there hawking her wares. The right kind of attention to this web site can get me another book deal. Another spoken word gig. Another magazine piece. Whatever. Attention is a tool of the trade.

Internet drama is so ridiculous. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions and call people names when you never have to actually look them in the eye.

Let’s all move on to a new topic, yes? How about ham in a can? Tasty, or not so much? You decide.

Lo, backing away slowly.

Later That Night…

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

Mood: Overly analytical
Drinking: Yup

A P.S. to this whole blog business, just to get it over with already.

1. I do not think, and I have never said that all blogs are stupid. Or pointless. I read several blogs on a daily basis and find them highly entertaining. I’ve also read my share of blogs that, in my opinion, cannot justify their existence. I don’t visit them twice.

2. Yes, I understand the whole blog-to-your-friends thing. As in, your blog may be boring to some, but because your friends care about you, they enjoy reading about your life. Great. Grand. Wonderful.

3. I believe that good writers can write about absolutely anything and make you care, make you want to read more. So if you can give your readers a reason to give a shit, no matter what your topic might be, then your blog, your post, your entry, your newsletter, your book, your poem, your whatever–it’s a success.

The end.

Blog? Bleah!

Friday, January 21st, 2005

Mood: Oh, so superior
Drinking: DVCoke

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately. Trolling about the internet, clicking on random links and flipping through the intimate details of the lives of people I don’t know. This is not necessarily a good thing. (TMI, anybody?)

So I’ve decided that my little corner of the net is NOT a blog. It’s a newsletter. An op-ed piece. A post. An essay. A rant. An update. But heaven-help-me, it is not a blog!

(I hate that word! “Blog.” Sounds like a tumor. “I’m sorry to tell you that you have a blog on your lymph-node and only six months to live.”)

My beef with blogs does not extend to every weblog in cyberspace. There are several little sites that I visit most diligently and wait for new entries most anxiously. But then there are those other ones. The diary-blogs. The ones where the authors have no shame.

The ones where they talk about their co-worker crushes, the frequency of their cat’s bowel movements, the consistency of their morning bowl of Wheaties, the way their favorite undies ride up the crack, and on and on. The ones where you sit there for a minute, reading, and thinking “Dude, seriously?”

(Exception to this rule: sites like dooce.com. I’ve been reading Dooce’s site for years. It’s an oasis in the diary desert where poop is not only interesting, it’s hilarious. Dooce knows how to make you care about her bowl of Wheaties. And so she is excused from this self-righteous lecture. Mimi Smartypants can be excused, too. Really, if you can make me laugh because of your wit and charm, as opposed to your idiocy, you are excused. Pack up your textbooks and head to the snack shop!)

I completely understand the urge to at least try to read these things…I’m admitting to being a lurker. It’s the voyeurism. You get to be a virtual peeping tom, except most of the time you don’t get to see anything scandalous.

What I don’t get about the bleah blogs is the need to write about every damn detail of your little life and publish it all over the internet. The thing is, you’re not a unique snowflake. Every single thing you do is not fascinating. And did you stop and think for a sec that the “www” stands for worldwide web? So you’re telling the whole world (or at least the five hapless souls who stumble across your site) all about the interesting texture of your boogers. There are diaries for these things. Tangible paper blankbooks in which you can write all about your temper tantrums and sexual escapades and whatever else you do on Tuesday nights. And then hide it under your mattress for safekeeping.

I am a diary whore. I love the feel of pen on paper. Even more than that, I love the way a page gets all curled and crispy after you’ve covered both sides with ballpoint scrawl. I’ve kept a journal almost since I could write the alphabet. (My first one had a lock and key and a big blue elephant on the front. The first entry consisted of three pages of me trying to spell my name in big block letters that sloped steadily down into the corner.) I now have a suitcase chock full of finished blankbooks, each one carrying with it all my tawdry secrets and oh-so-naive aspirations. First-kiss confessions and bell jar blackness. I don’t expect that anybody will ever read them. Hell, I don’t even go back and read them. It’s too horrifying to see the silly things I was so sincere about at age 16. Not to mention the penmanship!

For me, keeping a diary, journal, scrapbook, whatever, has always been a quest to understand. My diary was my confidant, my therapist, my muse. I could pour everything out onto the blank page, then shut the book and walk away and feel somewhat satiated. And I didn’t have to feel stupid about what I wrote, either, because nobody was ever going to see it. It was secret. It was safe.

Perhaps all these online diarists, these look-at-my-tits bloggers hope that by spreading all their miniscule moments out there for anybody to rifle through, they will find a kindred spirit. Somebody will come along who finally understands them. But to me, writing about personal details is writing to understand, for yourself, not to be understood by someone else.

I should make it clear, again, that all blogs are not created equal. There are the online diaries wherein far too much is revealed (and believe it or not, they’re not all published by teenage girls), and then there are the other ones. The funny ones, the interesting ones, the artistic ones, the political ones. The sites where the writing has some substance and some value. It’s not all verbal diarrhea and insecure rambling. And those are the blogs that I tend to visit on a daily basis.

I realize I’m treading on thin ice. Because here I am ranting about blogs while writing on a web site. But I don’t see this as a pot/kettle situation. For one thing, I’M A WRITER. Putting words on a page is my job, my calling, my raison d’etre. And this is not my diary. I’m not going to give you any intimate details. You’re never going to lay a finger on those. Most of the time, I’m not even going to give you the real names of the characters in my little stories.

“She Says” is more of an exercise in writing. I aim to be readable, interesting, provocative, even witty sometimes. I write when I actually have something to say. I try to write the type of entry that I’d be interested in reading. That’s my measuring stick.

In an effort to extricate myself from the sticky blog mess I’ve so foolishly waded into, I’ll say this: I fully understand and encourage the need to “get it all out” by writing about it. Doing just that has saved my life more than once. And I know how the Internet works. I know I can click on the little red X anytime I want and make it all disappear. I’m not bound to a chair with my eyelids clipped open, forced to read so much drivel until I crack. All I’m advocating is a little old-fashioned “think before you speak” etiquette. A little more buying of blankbooks. A little less “OMG, HE, LIKE, IM-ED ME BACK AND IT WAS SOOOOOOOOO HOTT!”

A note to all my “real-world” friends out there who have blogs…No, I’m not ripping on your blog! Don’t get paranoid, lovies. I wouldn’t visit your cyberspace cubbyholes every single day if I thought they were boring, now, would I?

-Lo, who’s just sitting here waiting for the backlash.

Embrace the Farm Girl Within

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

There was a time, in the height of my gothling glory days, when I would do almost anything to keep you from finding out where I came from. I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t really ashamed of my hometown, etc., but it was a pretty feeble effort and failed rather miserably. See, it’s hard to be all melancholie and the infinite sadness with your long black skirt and piles of black eyeliner if people know that you used to be Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. It kind of ruins your gothy credibility. So I stuffed that adorable little skeleton in a musty closet and hid it as best as I could.

Of course, now that I look back on it, I can see all the drama for how silly it was. Now I know that Tom the Vampire was really a band geek from the suburbs who wore pink button-up business shirts with pocket protectors before he got his dentist to fit him with fangs. And Tink the twirling goth princess didn’t come spinning out of the womb wearing combat boots and lace dresses. Somewhere, in some small town, she’s the biggest dork in the yearbook.

All the arty little white-faced kids started getting their Siouxsie fixation and Bauhaus t-shirts at some point when they were still wearing polo shirts. Some of us just got started with the fishnet and eyeliner a little sooner than others. The rest of us had to play a bit of catch up and hide a few more preppy pictures, that’s all.

As for me, I grew up in a small little Illinois town in the cornfields that bears the singular distinction of being the Hometown of Ronald Reagan. Actually, I didn’t really grow up “in town”. I didn’t even grow up on the outskirts. Nope. I was a real live farm girl. I grew up baling hay and picking corn, chasing barn cats and riding horses. And yes, even milking goats. (Which is easier than milking cows because goats only have two spigots.)

It was an idyllic childhood, really. I had no reason to complain. Most girls my age asked for a pony and got the plastic version with the dollshair mane. I skipped right over the whole pony business and went straight to the real deal–a big, tall horse. I spent the summers brown and barefoot, finding the newborn kittens hidden in the haymow, picking strawberries in the garden and hanging overalls up to dry on the line in the backyard.

I got stung by the bees that hid in the white clover and I got kicked in the jaw by my sister’s obnoxious white pony. (His name was Buckwheat.) I’ve stepped on a nail and caught my pants on barbed wire. I won ribbons and trophies at 4-H fairs and county horse shows. I learned how to deliver baby goats (baby goats are called “kids”) and sew a fancy dress. I’ve canned peaches and packaged sausages. I’ve gone on foxhunts and hay rides. I’ve seen chicks hatch, puppies birthed and horses die in their sleep. I could climb a fence faster than most boys, drive a tractor before I could drive a car, jump a horse over a 4-foot gate and run barefoot on gravel without even wincing. I was a farm girl. No doubt about it.

I tried to deny it for a long time. Once I got all citi-fied and learned how to hail my own cabs, I thought maybe it was dorky to be a hayseed. Everyone seemed to think that you were smarter, sleeker and more sophisticated if you were spawned in the city. Especially if you were going for the my-skin-is-as-pale-as-the-moonlight-by-which-Lestat-hunts look.

There was a time when I would have given anything to be more Nicole Blackman than LaDonna Witmer. I wanted heroin friends and street smarts, KMFDM tours and childhood trauma. I wanted to have a better excuse for my darkness.

But even farm girls have their demons. You don’t have to have a miserable childhood in some dank tenement to be morose. You can grow up in the sunshine with puppies and kittens and still sit in a corner and cut yourself. Just because you have a happy childhood doesn’t mean that you can’t understand the depths of despair.

It’s all a lot more complicated underneath than it looks from the surface. And as far as my story goes, I’ve come to enjoy the contradictions. I mean, it’s kind of cool to know Rodeo Queens and Vampire Boys all at once, you know?

But where is the point in all this rambling babble? I have no idea. I seem to have lost it somewhere between Laura Ingalls and Emily Strange. Here’s my wild stab at wrapping it up:

Somewhere along the way, in the midst of all this growing up, I’ve come to embrace it all. All the pieces of me, from the little blonde tomboy pretending to be Princess Leia with a lightsaber, to the awkward teenager who knew much more about horses than boys, to the fledgling little goth girl who started stuffing her closet and makeup box with black. They are all part of me now.

There’s still an excess of black in my closet, but I just bought a dress that’s lime green. I’ve still got my Nine Inch Nails bumper sticker, but I’ve got Gwen’s new CD in the stereo. Somehow I’ve interwoven the farm girl and the gothling, the melancholy and the sunshine, the poet and the tomboy, the ruffles and the combat boots. It’s all mixed up. It’s all me. And I think it’s turning out alright, after all.

-Lo, who isn’t even sure what her real hair color is anymore, anyway.

Fifth Floor, Second Door

Thursday, January 13th, 2005

Mood: Distracted
Drinking: Chai

i see you put on your strength
as you walk down the hall,
you pull on your armour,
gauntlet and all.

we wait for you at the nurse’s station
clutching brown bags
of clean underwear
and purple eyeshadow.
just enough to get you through another week.

you look so calm and so together
in your thorazine sweater
handing out hugs and smiles
left and right
thick and fast.
we have no time to get suspicious.

you throw up a lipgloss smokescreen
and lay down machine-gun chatter.
it’s sleight of hand.
it’s marines on command.
and we are taken by surprise
we are all mesmerized.

because you seem just fine.
you seem yourself.
in fact, you’re the very picture
of rehabilitated health.

so we ask all the wrong questions.
and you give all the right answers.
this is what everyone wants, anyway.
polite conversation.
diversionary tactics.
pretty stories with witty punchlines.

visiting hours are over at four o’clock
and then the doors lock.
so we all fall in line. we laugh
with the track. you have captured
your audience. you’ve occupied your territory.
you’ve palmed everyone
except for me.

yes, darling, i can see you.
oh, i can see right through you.

but you needn’t worry.
don’t hold your breath.
i didn’t bring any horses.
and i will not call the cavalry.
there are no medics and no morphine
tucked away in my coat pockets.
believe me, i’m not here to rescue you.

so you can lay down your arms.
you can stop the charade.
let’s just be two girls together
on a sunday afternoon.
just two dark girls together,
that’s all i’ll ever ask of you.

On the 15th Day of Rain

Monday, January 10th, 2005

Mood: Cautiously optimistic
Drinking: Coke of the diet variety

I woke up to a deluge Saturday morning. Grey sky. Grey streets. Grey raindrops falling down. Rather, they were racing down. Pouring, streaming, cascading down. The wet streets were the color of steel and there were miniature rivers running in the gutters.

And I thought, “Of course. Of course we’d be having yet another day of torrential downpours today.” I tried to wait it out. And I did. But it would only stop for a breather and then start pouring again. At one point, there was even hail involved, tick, tick, ticking against the window glass. C and I sat there and watched in amazement. Then we called M.

“So,” I said when she picked up the line, “what do you think?” We stared out our respective windows at the rain-drenched streets and she said, “Well, we said we were gonna do it today. I’m up for it if you are. We’ll just need an umbrella for the camera.”

And so that’s how I came to be wearing a white dress, sitting in the rain amid the mud and rocks on top of Golden Gate Heights, wind whipping my hair into tangled bits as I lip-synched to my own voice coming from a boombox. M did the camera thing and C stood bravely by with an umbrella and Project Cinepoetry has begun!

You may remember the pre-Christmas episode of recording poetry in a closet. Yes? Well, this is part 2 of that project. We have the vocal track done and now the video is about halfway done and IT LOOKS SO COOL!

We wanted muted colors and lots of grays and blues and although lugging a camera, tripod, boombox and raingear about in the midst of a rainstorm may not be the most fun thing you could think of, it definitely produces some amazing images.

And in spite of the wetness and the ranger who tried to kick us out and the constant running to the corner junkmart for new boombox batteries (we went through 3 boomboxes before we found one that would actually spin the CD), in spite of all that, we had fun.

At the end of the shoot, driving back to my house in the Jeep with the wind blowing us all around, C said, “Well, I actually feel like I did something productive with my day.” And I have to agree. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as making progress on a creative project. Especially when you conquer the elements and make them work for you. It was exhilarating.

And I’d love to show you a teaser, but it’s better when you have to wait for it.

-Lo, who will admit that she did kinda feel like a rockstar, out there lipsynching in the rain. Cue soundtrack.

Dental Hygenist Butcher Bitch

Tuesday, January 4th, 2005

Mood: Flossed within an inch of my life
Drinking: Tea time

I know I’m not the only one who has a serious dentist phobia. I know there are lots of you out there who fear the teethers.

You walk through those awful dentist doors into the magazine waiting room and the “wheeeeet wheeeeet” sound of the saw or the polisher or the tooth tangler or whatever the hell those torture devices are called fills the air, and it’s enough to make you soil yourself.

I had my six month checkup today. I managed to put it off for a whole extra month and even then I seriously considered bailing when I was just blocks away. But I learned my lesson when I tried to hide from a dentist for three whole years–when I was finally forced to return, the scraping and the poking was 10 times worse than before.

The scraping is the worst. They get in there with those metal spikes and various poking devices and hack away at your enamel. Sometimes they whack your gums and then have the audacity to say in the most condescending tone, “Your gums are bleeding.” And I always say, “Of course they’re bleeding, you whore! That’s usually what happens when you try to carve them up like a Christmas ham!” Or at least that’s what I would say if they didn’t have their fist all up in my mouth.

Last year there was a new hygenist at my dentist’s office who came within millimeters of giving me a full-fledged panic attack. Not only did she keep up a running commentary on anything that seemed to flit into her mind (my clothes, my hair, my monroe piercing (“did that hurt?”), my education (“are you still in high school?”), my purse, my fingernails, my belly lint), she would stop working and wait for me to answer. I just wanted her to get on with the goddamn scraping so the whole horrible incident would be over as quickly as possible and I could escape with the smallest amount of trauma. But no…it was like a big social event for her. Each new victim in her chair was a first date, and she was all about getting to know them to see if there might be potential for a magical future.

It’s the closest I’ve ever come to ripping the paper bib off my chest and bolting from the chair, screaming down the hall and out into the street. It was almost as bad as the time the dentist tried to remove my first wisdom tooth without much anesthesia. Oh yes. He did.

See, I wasn’t born with an innate fear of the tooth doctor. When I was little, I didn’t mind much because there was this big cool fish tank and a treasure chest full of loop-handled lollipops and they’d let me choose what flavor of polish I wanted–grape or cherry.

But then, in college when my wisdom teeth finally decided to make an appearance, disaster struck. I was already well on my way to developing a nice little low-level dentist phobia. Mild tremors upon entering the parking lot. Slight feeling of doom in the lower part of the intestinal tract. Nothing I couldn’t handle.

But then the family doctor (whose wife was about 7 feet tall, while he was only 5’7″ and balding)–not sure what the balding pate has to do with anything, but it’s a nice little detail, innit? Anyway, this doctor decides he’s going to go ahead and pull my wisdom tooth himself, even though it wasn’t fully grown yet. Apparently he thought a little shot of novocaine and a lot of pulling, yanking, jaw gripping (I had bruises) and tooth cracking would be a piece of cake. I think his dentist chair probably still has my fingernail grooves in the arm rests. I let him rip one out (didn’t have much choice since my mouth was full of pliers and shovels) and then, blood dripping down my chin, said “No more!”

I let the other wisdom teeth stay where they were and grow big and strong for about 4 or 5 more years, until I was dating Boy and one of my big wise guys got all impacted to the point that I was extremely ill and my throat was swelling shut and I had to go to an oral surgeon. Now, oral surgeons, them guys are cool. You get the magic gas and float away to happy land and wake up with a mouth full of cotton, happy as a clam. (Assuming clams are really happy. If I was a clam, I think I’d cut myself, but that’s another story.)

Strange and immediate cravings for burritos, gyros and cheeseburgers aside, my oral surgeon experience was quite satisfactory. But I’ve never again darkened the door of a dentist den of horrors without mace in hand and a pocketful of vicadin. (Wouldn’t that be nice, really?)

So now I am toothsore and slightly hyperventilated. And I may have been rude to the dental hygenist. (I told her right off that I hated her and all her fellow hygenists with a fiery burning hatred, and if she even *thought* about giving me the Flossing Speech, I’d hunt down her firstborn and toss him from a cliff.)

Exaggeration aside, I’m sure that hygenist is telling her boyfriend about the bitch she had in the chair today who was so scared of dentists that her knee spasms were rocking the room. But you know what, whore? Better a Bitch than a Butcher!!!

-Lo, who needs to calm down, already. Sheesh.