Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blowing off steam

I'm hot, and I'm angry, and I'm flipping mindlessly through images in my computer in an effort to make myself happy, and I can't do it.

Mama used to say, "You'll get over it." And I will. But that was never a very effective way to deal with anger.

Once, when I was 16, I was so mad at my sister Amy that I poured an entire can of Coke off the porch. I don't remember what she said; I don't remember why I was so mad at her, but I was really seething. We had been taught from early childhood that kids don't hit. Only Mamas had that privilege, and it was only done with a switch, and I hadn't been switched since age 9, anyway. There I was, as mad as I could possibly be, and I couldn't scream, and I couldn't yell, and I couldn't say something hateful, and I couldn't throw things, or hit, or kick, or anything else that might have been considered violent.

So I opened a can of Coke, fresh from the fridge, with condensation already clinging to the side, and I stomped out to my tea porch and poured the whole thing over the banister into the yard.

Then I smashed the can -- or just barely dented it, really, because I didn't smash cans as a rule -- and threw it at the nearest magnolia tree. It fell far short of its target. Darned aluminum. Darned aerodynamics. Darn my weak, sissy-like, girly throwing arm.

Later that afternoon, I had to go out there and get the can, of course.

I'm just not very good with the whole "anger" thing, anyway. I rant and rave. I'm good at that. But I just don't deal well with it when there's not someone to rant at.

Our air conditioner died again this afternoon. It was making terrible noises last night. Now the fan -- the *new* fan with the *new* motor that we just bought a month ago for our *relatively new* (5 year old) air conditioner -- is deader than four o'clock.

The house is 80 degrees right now. All the ceiling fans are on, but the air outside is about 80 degrees, too, and I don't want to open the windows in this heat.

Now, as if that weren't enough, my daughter Emily came to me with complaints of chipped teeth. I took one look in her mouth and had conniptions. Those aren't chips. Those are *cavities*.

This is 2005, ladies and gentlemen, and the United States of America has been putting fluoride in the drinking water since I was a tot. I know I was a tot because I have *terrible* teeth, and my dentist blames it on my poor genetic make-up and a lack of fluoride in the water where I was living in my infancy.

Emily inherited her father's iron-clad teeth. He has *brilliantly* strong teeth. He also grew up without fluoride until he was a *big*, school-age kid, but he's had only two tiny cavities in 43 years. It takes practically no maintenance to keep his teeth healthy, and Emily had the same teeth, dang it, and she blew it on purpose.

Throughout her teenage years, I have said fairly frequently, "Emily, go brush your teeth." She glowers at me and goes to the bathroom to make noise, and when she emerges and I insist that she let me see her clean teeth, she goes back to the bathroom to make noise some more. I have known, in some inner part of me, that she wasn't taking care of her teeth. But at some point, you have to let kids learn by mistakes. I was hoping it wouldn't be her teeth, but man, the kid is as tall as I am. She's been past the point of my forcibly brushing her teeth for her since she was 12.

So now she has two painful cavities, and I know exactly what happens next. Next we go to the dentist, where I spend a fortune and she gets shots, drillings, and fillings. She learns the unparalleled joy of how "sensitive" fillings are. She learns that now this enamel on these two teeth has been penetrated, it's that much more susceptible to more decay and pain and more fillings and more shots and so on and so forth, ad infinitum.

She blew it. She had all the genetics in her favor; she had fluoride in her system from infancy, and she purposefully *blew* it.

So I'm hot and my air conditioner is broken again, and my daughter has cavities when she really *shouldn't* have them at all, and goodness only knows how much this is going to cost me, and geeeeeeez, I wish I had a Coke to pour off the porch.


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