So last night I was eating some baklava for dessert when c-r-u-n-c-h .. a tooth popped out. Ack! This is a side of my mouth where another tooth has vacated in recent years, and a bit of a surprise. And it happens to be the right side of my mouth. If you were paying attention, you will remember that it is my right ear that has been giving me trouble. I mean, is it a coincidence that this is the same side of my head that currently hears about 10% of what it once did? Or is the right side of my body taking off on a vacation? Stay tuned.
This is my way of dealing with this latest example of things falling apart on this old frame. What is one to make of it?
In a way, losing teeth is just a matter of parts wearing out. Teeth are the closest to a purely mechanical part that we have on our bodies. But like tummy aches and fevers, that affect our appetite, bad teeth affect our ability to eat. This little setback makes me realize how much I enjoy eating. Virginia Woolf summed up my feelings on the subject when she said “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, unless one has dined well.” I mean, this is serious!
My favorite food quote is from the sci-fi writer Douglas Adams: “The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question ‘How can we eat?’ the second by the question ‘Why do we eat?’ and the third by the question ‘Where shall we have lunch?’”
Today we ate at a wonderful, hidden watering hole in Edinburgh: the Tea Room at Edinburgh Castle. The Castle is a vast, slanty stone structure which offers visitors far too much surface to clamber over, in my opinion. But there is a little door on the site of the castle that one can walk through and suddenly find oneself comfortable and level, and more important, find oneself a lovely meal.
We entered, gave our names to a receptionist, who then thanked us and told us to return in 15 minutes, which we did. We were seated, and then told by a server that unfortunately, none of the food items could be ordered, due to a delay in the kitchen. We were, however, free to order any drinks or desserts, so we ordered a pear-ginger-apple cake and elderberry-lemon tea for Patrice, and Edinburgh Castle Ale and and a double chocolate cake for Richard.
So here’s where the tooth problem comes in: I had to very carefully confine my chewing to the left side of my mouth. This is a little like taking a nice walk but having to do it as part of a sack race, with your right leg tied to some stranger walking alongside you. “It’s a nice day for a walk, … er, say, would you mind keeping up?” With the current state of my dental situation as of right now, biting down on that side gives me the equivalent of a jolt of electricity, combined with the sensation of a Vice Grips around my jaw. Ouch! But, you see, I like to eat and there is all this delicious stuff to eat.
It turns out the ban on ordering entrees was temporary, for the server then told us to go ahead and order, which we did. Ordinarily, when we dine, Patrice and I share a dessert, ordering it with two spoons, and I just have a coffee. The temporary ban caused us to order more food than usual, and I broke with my usual practice of not ordering alcohol before 6:00 p.m. It was all so much food. But we survived. The irony was the limited equipment I had to enjoy it.
After lunch, we crawled home to our flat, and I headed to a dentist appointment a few minutes away. Tomorrow I will have some work done on the tooth, so I can at least attempt to eat without pain.