My appointment was for 2:20. But we got held back at a check point in front of Aramco. Held back for thirty, whole minutes. 1800 seconds. And y'all know I live in fear of wasting even a nanosecond of my precious time.... (Just humor me, alright?)
I don't know why I was pissed off, really; I pretty much slept through the whole thing, waking up only occasionally to the sound of my father slamming the steering wheel with his hands, or cursing the police quite fluently while muttering about the dangers resulting from an engine running in this heat, and that we could be blown up into smithereens any second....
It's obvious why I preferred to rest my tired little eyelids and block out his heated rant.
I think I was pissed off because I wanted to be early for a change. I almost always arrive late for my appointments; then I'm forced to wait until the patient scheduled after me finishes.
In any case, I arrived at the clinic at 2:50, thirty minutes late. I ran upstairs, choosing not waiting for the elevator (it's super slow anyway). There was only one receptionist, Ali (very nice man; always tries to get me to recite my badge number in Arabic or French), and he was busy with another patient. So I stood there staring at the wall, waiting for him to finish. Soon, I was distantly aware of something moving in front of my face, and it was starting to really irk me. It took me a while to realize that Ali was waving both hands in front of my face and practically screaming, "BADGE NUMBER?!" I space out a lot. It's quite nice, actually.
Anyway, so I gave him my number...... my badge number, then I said, "I know I'm late, as usual, but this time it's seriously not my fault, we got held up at the check point."
He looked at me strangely then said, ".... You're not late! You're 10 minutes early. Your appointment's at 3 o'clock!"
"You can sit down and relax now."
"Oh and, it's downstairs."
"Huh? Dr. Hamdan...?"
So I sat down and relaxed. Not. I was too busy dreading the next 20 minutes. It was a "cleaning appointment," which is really just an euphemism for "endless torture." I do believe that my dentist is a sadist. I think he has this sick disease where he enjoys poking people's gums and making them bleed. Oh, how I hate him. And it isn't just me, you know? When my brother came back to Saudi Arabia on his break from college last summer, he had a dental appointment. He came back with a furious look in his eyes that I knew only too well.
"That dentist is a *beep*ing imbecile. All he did was make me bleed!"
"Oh my God, don't tell me you got Hamdan…"
I sat there in anguish.
Please, God, make the dentist's wife call him and tell him there's a family emergency and that he must go back home, now!
Please, God, I promise I'll never ever annoy my sister again.
Please, God, make me immune to pain, if only for the next 15 minutes....
I pinched myself.
"Umm yeah I'm here..." Unfortunately.
"Right this way please."
"How are you today?"
"Fine...." For now.
"Good good..." Translation: We'll see about that.
We walked into the room. It felt slightly like walking towards death with my own two feet. Suicide.
I have a question. A serious question. And I expect a serious answer.
Is it just me, or do dental clinics resemble torture chambers, way too much for comfort? Seriously, there are separate cells -the rooms-, torture devices -dental instruments-, and uncomfortable chairs. I honestly don't see why corrupt leaders spend thousands of dollars on torture chambers and electric chairs, when all they have to do really is raid a dental clinic and BAM, free torture. It'll milk the answers out of anyone, guaranteed.
"THE BOMB IS UNDER THE BRIDGE. HONEST. I SWEAR. I SWEAR. JUST GET THIS FISH HOOK THING OUT OF MY MOUTH... PLEASE!!!"
Interesting discovery. The fish hook thing?
It's called a "dental explorer." Dental explorer. They make it sound like a friggin adventure. Like Dora the Explorer. "Come on, map! Let's find the City of Lost Toys!"
Moving on. After both he and I settled into our respective chairs, the dentist pulled out his first torture device and told me to "say 'Ahhh...'"
And so the torture began…
Do you know the kind of pain that makes you burn up inside, the kind of pain that makes you feel nauseated, the kind of pain that makes you scream incomprehensible things inside your head?
Yeh, that's the kind of pain I was going through.
I was unconsciously digging my fingernails into my skin and screaming inwardly all the Arabic curse words I know. Every time I flinched, I could see the hint of an evil smile in the dentist's beady little eyes. At one point, with his torture device somewhere way back in my mouth, the dentist wasn't even touching my teeth anymore, just poking my gums repeatedly. I could taste the metallic flavor of blood in my mouth and I really could not handle it anymore.
"STOP!" I shouted, "FOR GOD'S SAKE, STOP! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? GET A LIFE, OKAY? GO TAKE OUT YOUR INSECURITIES ON SOME OTHER FOOL."
Okay, so I didn't really. I did in my head, though.
I looked at the clock and nearly wept when I saw that only five minutes had passed. After another 10 minutes of unbelievable pain, he set me free.
"15 minutes already? Huh. Felt like 5 minutes to me, heh heh."
Well, time flies by when you're having fun, doesn't it? Butt wipe.
I promised myself solemnly that I wouldn't thank him as I left.
"Let me just write down your next appointment…."
"Okay." I hope I don't live long enough to witness that.
"Here you go :)"