8:00 AM. I open the door, tell the receptionist my name and wait.
After a few minutes, I’m ushered back. I take a seat. Nervous. I lick my lips and shift in the chair. The assistant comes in. She hands me a pair of sunglasses and leans me back. “Open up,” she says. I smile big. Shiny metal implements. Minty cleaner. Thin string pulling and prodding. I wince in pain. Once every six months, just like clockwork. I’m always on time, but I’m never ready.
“A little wider,” she prods. Spray of water. The snap of gloves. Chair leaning back up. I hold my breath and wait for the final proclamation. I run my tongue over my clean teeth. The receptionist eyes me, sizing me and my smile up. She thrusts a plastic bag brimming with toothpaste samples and floss into my arms and leaves me with these parting words:
“You need to floss more.”