Vacation? – Day 10 (backdated Day 9 forthcoming!)

Day 10 – aka thoughts from the dentist
Day 9 will be forthcoming. Today’s Day 10.

Are we still on vacation? From work, maybe, but the idyllic journey has definitely come to a pause. I’m in San Jose now, after a marathon drive back from Portland yesterday, and I just got back from the dentist; in twenty minutes I’m leaving for the eye doctor. Tomorrow, we’ll drive back down the boring old 5 to return to LA with all its pollution and congestion. This vacation has been a glorious escape from the stress of everyday details, and a reminder to my inner control freak that living slowly and more in the moment brings many rewards. I hope I’ll be able to translate these peaceful feelings into our urban routines.

On the other hand, I’m more than eager to get back into a creative routine, accompanied by regular yoga and cooking our own food. This trip has been all about what Julia Cameron calls “filling the well”, and now that I’ve started reading Virginia Woolf’s diary, I’m all inspired to rebuild my daily life to include more quiet, meditative, but rigorously thoughtful habits.

I was thinking of Virginia Woolf today while I was at the dentist, and I decided she’d get around that awful tooth-scraping and mouth-stretching-open song and dance by thinking on her writing. So I stopped focusing on what was being done to my teeth and this is what flowed through my mind:

-To a dental hygienist, patients must exist only as so many tooth surfaces; what an odd way to know someone, by way of a landscape most people never see
-The lamp says “international”; can it be that people in France and Singapore and Egypt and Argentina and Australia are all sitting back in their dental chairs gazing up at these identical yellowy lamps?
-I am so grateful I live in an age when dentists use gloves and sanitize their instruments
-The wall is covered in paper of a tweedy rabbit-brown color that looks very sophisticated draped over a woman’s body in a well-cut suit — in fact I have a dress of a very similar color, whose 1940s-style detailing complements the color very well — but in a low-ceilinged office lit by those characterless professional fluorescent lamps, the color looks dreary and dated
-Actually it would take extraordinary lighting to make that color look chic on so unforgivingly flat a surface as a wall; it might be a better tone for upholstery; or, on the insides of an interesting armoire or bookcase the rabbit-color would look velvety and sweet
-I wonder if having one’s teeth examined is less uncomfortable for someone with a bigger mouth than mine
-Do LA dentists feel intrigued or nervous when examining famous mouths like Angelina’s, Keira’s, or Julia’s?
-The plant in the corner looks like it was introduced to bring life to the dull office, but these surroundings are so beyond help that even the green growing plant looks old and ugly
-This office with its boring low-ceilinged box shape and its shades-of-brown decor looks as though it hasn’t been changed in decades
-Perhaps it really hasn’t been changed in decades, and perhaps the rent hasn’t either, and that’s why the dentist chooses to work in such surroundings four days out of the week

Time to go to the eye doctor now.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]