I had to go to the dentist yesterday morning. It was awful, just awful. My dentist is a very nice lady, and she never tells you off about not coming regularly enough and doesn't try to pressure you into having treatment that you suspect you don't really require, but she's still a dentist.
The main topic of conversation was my habit of grinding my teeth in my sleep. The main problem with this, beside it being quite disconcerting to anyone trying to sleep next to you, is that the gums start to recede (hence the phrase long in the tooth.) She took measurements of the amount my gums have receded since the last time I visited and it's considerable. At this rate I'll look like a rabbit by the time I'm 40.
She prodded my jaw muscles for a while and pronounced them to be "extremely developed". In fact she said "If there were a Mr Universe for jaw muscles you would have a very good chance of winning." She must have seen my stricken expression, partly hidden by the dark sunglasses that dentists, for some reason, make you wear these days (I think it's part of some huge dentist conspiracy to laugh at us, and I'm awaiting the day that they present me with a pair of sunglasses with a Groucho Marx moustache attached), and she said "It's not really fair, isn't it? If your ab muscles did as much work as your jaw muscles during the night imagine how happy you'd be?"
I'm actually not so sure I'd be happy about spending a whole night doing crunches in my sleep. It's exhausting enough grinding my teeth.
She suggested I feel the jaw muscles of my friends, asking permission first, to compare them to my own. I tried to imagine feeling the jaw muscles of my friends without asking permission first. Could be amusing.
So the upshot is : mouthguard. Yeay for mouthguards. Can't wait for that. I had an impression done of my mouth ("And for my next impression..... Meredith's mouth!") which is just vile, as they whack this putty stuff in your mouth so that it just touches your gag reflex.
And I got to watch it all in the mirror above my head; me, in dark glasses, with massive jaw muscles, gagging with a mouth full of putty.
A friend showed me two letters pertaining to a drama currently unfolding in her block of flats. The first, placed in the letter box of flat nine read as follows:
If I have gotten the wrong flat I apologise- however- both me and my current interstate visitors have been subjected to your sexual shennanigans on more than one occasion resulting in another sleepless night last night and having to endure listening to your carry on. I find it both offensive and disturbing that you seem to have absolutely no consideration for your neighbours and the sound that carries throughout this building. You are in breach of the Body Corporate rules by creating disturbance at 2 and 3 am and given that it happens regularly I will be reporting it to the Body Corporate.
Perhaps in the future you should consider the very close proximity that we have in this block and remember that everyone else that lives herre does not want to listen to your sexual exploits at 2 am.
From a sleepless neighbour.
The tennant from flat 9, who'll I'll call Simon, wrote back, attaching the original letter to his own and placing both letters in everybody else's letterboxes.
I am placing this note in all letterboxes as I am unaware of the origins of the original note attached. Please ignore this letter if it does not apply and accept my apologies for any unnecessary involvement.
To the sleepless neighbour,
I can assure you that the disturbance you write about is not originating from my apartment. Not only has the apartment been vacant from December 23rd to Jan 10th, but since my girlfriend walked out on me over 6 months ago, the only sex I have engaged in had been with myself. As much as I enjoy pleasuring myself, I feel that I am always able to do so in a quiet, dignified manner. I am more than happy to provide up to 3 close personal friends who are well aware of my recent sexual history or lack of it, and can attest to the validity of my claims if required.
I wish you the very best with your future investigations, and am more than happy to offer any assistance possible.
If anyone else reading this note is looking ot engage in a passionate but extremely low volume sexual encounter, (meaningful or otherwise), with a single, semi-attractive, (possibly slightly rusty in the art of lovemaking), financially secure young man in his early thirties with excellent prospects please supply a passport sized photograph and a description of your physical and mental attributes in 50 words or less.
One of the books I enjoyed reading the most last year was Johnathan Franzen's The Corrections. I found this interview with him, where he discusses, among other things, the almost completely plotless nature of The Corrections (something which, I must admit, I didn't really notice while I was reading it.)
The real pleasure in writing this, for me, was discovering how little you need. I kept trying to write scenes I knew I wanted - my tendency is to get incredibly elaborate and to give you thirty pages of back-story, and tie things together in eighteen different ways, go off on tangents - but I found that that stuff was getting in the way of what I really wanted.
Over and over again, the thing started to explode in these plot directions, and it was a matter of taking that away, leaving the one paragraph of distress that interested me. Eventually I got to the point where I didn't have to go through that ramifying process.
It feels like the process of getting ready to go on a long overseas trip has begun. Thieu and I spent most of the weekend consolidating our possessions; lugging stuff down stares, making rapid decisions on what to keep, what to chuck. Most of Thieu's stuff is now either in the trailer ready to take up to the farm, or in a friend's spareroom. I finally got rid of my horrible futon, which I've had for well over ten years. We dropped it off at the Salvos collection point, with our dark glasses on, fearful of being accused of dumping rubbish. There's even a surveillance camera and I was jumpy all the next day, worried that an irate Salvo would knock on my door, with my futon under his or her arm, demanding to know what possible use I thought the Salvos would have for it.
A ticket has even been booked- for the 17th of March, return date being June 20. Less than two months away now.