Monday, May 25, 2009

Unceremonious Graduation from Torture

I woke up last Saturday not knowing that it would be my Freedom Day. That after several years of enduring braces on my teeth, my orthodontist was finally going to take them off.

I wish I had known beforehand. I would have prepared a little ceremony. I would have asked my parents to accompany me. I would have arranged for my friends to meet us after, so we could all have a nice lovely lunch.

Instead, it happened this way. When I got home on Friday night, Mama told me that my dentist's secretary called and informed her that the Doc wanted to see me on Saturday, and that I had to confirm anytime during the night. It was very important, the secretary said. Mama wondered what that was all about.

I explained to her that during my last few visits, I had strongly hinted that I was going to get myself featured in a dental magazine as the Person Who Had Braces on the Longest. The secretary begged me not to do it, as she said nobody would come to their clinic anymore. I said I was giving them (the dental team) an ultimatum. They had to take the braces off as they were preventing me from migrating abroad, getting married... basically getting a life.

I was using humor as usual to hide what to me was a source of frustration and irritation. I could have gone lawyerly and just filed a lawsuit for them to do their job properly and get my teeth fixed, pronto. They promised it would only take two years. Sure, I had missed out on a few appointments, but that started when I was already tired of those wires and bands that were residing in my mouth.

During my last visit, another dentist from the same team saw me. I had gone on a Friday, after several years of going on Saturdays, that's why I chanced upon her. She was mildly shocked to see that I still had braces on, and that my stubborn teeth still had not moved closer together.

My theory is that doctora talked to The Doctor, and informed him of my threat of a Dental Magazine Expose.

I had a full schedule last Saturday, with errands, chores, and meetings, but I squeezed in ten minutes to see my ortho. Little did I know that I was going to stay there for more than an hour, miss my movie date with my parents, and be poorer by a couple of thousand bucks.

He told me that he discussed my case with his team and they had decided to do recontouring, so that we all didn't have to wait anymore for the day when my teeth would finally obey the braces. I endured an hour of pushing and pulling, with my dentist working his magic, as if I had lost all my teeth on some accident and he was giving me an appearance of a perfect smile. He took a before-and-after photo. He took the darn braces off. I had to raise my hand to get gargle breaks during the procedure, as I had not eaten lunch (this was an unplanned procedure) and some acid from my stomach got caught up in my throat.

Afterwards, he told me, "Congratulations. This is your graduation day. No more braces."

I went home dazed. Magazine popularity? Gone. Possible lawsuit? Prevented (at least for now. Hehe). Pearly white smile? Here I come.

That night, while eating Mango Bravo at Conti's, I gave my friend K a bright smile, hoping she would notice. She asked if I meant she had chocolate on her teeth. I said no and kept my toothy smile. She said, "No Ella you don't have chocolate on your teeth." Our other friends who knew about my recent graduation from torture laughed and told her what I was smiling about. They found out about it on Facebook. My nephews immediately noticed when they came to visit the next day. Kids just pay more attention, sometimes.

If only all my braces would come off. Then I would have every reason to smile more.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Was Thirsty

Just imagine how thirsty I was earlier this evening. I was out with my friends, we had all just come from a two-wedding-weekend where we had played various roles to support the respective couples, we were dressed to the nines, and my order had just arrived.

The waiter placed the ice-cold bottle on top of the coaster. Then, my seatmate exclaimed that she had a missed call from one of our friends. I checked my cellphone and saw two missed calls as well. We looked at one another and suspected something was wrong. When we got in touch with our other friend, true enough, we found out that the car they were riding got side-swept by a truck.

I stared at my drink, which I had waited for since yesterday. I looked at the brother beside me, who was talking to the girls in the car accident, and asked him if the damage was serious. He reported that the girls were okay, but the two vehicles that collided were already causing traffic.

Perhaps I was exhausted from the two weddings, but I was, up to that point, oblivious to my supposed role in the incident. I attempted to take a sip. My friend, who was also a lawyer, asked the brother, "Do they need our help?" I sighed. "Do they need a lawyer?" I asked, suddenly imagining my friends' predicament and wishing I could just take one sip.

We discussed what to do and it was decided that three of us would rescue the girls. I stared longingly at the ice-cold drink in front of me. Brother M told me, "Let's come back to drink that later."

We turned out to be a good team. Brother M knew everything about cars, K could play good lawyer, and I could play tough lawyer.

During the drive to the scene of the accident, it suddenly dawned on me. I was never going to see that drink again. Never mind that my friends and I had planned and waited for that perfect moment when all our duties would have ended and we did not anymore have to wake up early the next day. It was a long, but very enjoyable, day and it was not going to end the way I wanted it to.

When we got there and saw our friends, our drinks were momentarily forgotten. The truck was loaded with six pigs. It was midnight. We did not have sufficient paper to properly write the driver's statement on. The driver claimed he had no money, which we all agreed was just the standard excuse.

We all wanted it over and done with. At least no one was hurt. But it took us too long to get out of that situation that our other friends, who had watched our drinks for us, had to go home already. In the interest of safety, we all went our separate ways as well after we got back to the restaurant. Somebody graciously paid for my unopened drink.

I don't usually charge lawyers' fees from friends (for small matters like these), but I will make an exception on this one, and will settle for a drink. One ice-cold drink.