I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Monday, 16 June 2014

Tooth talk

"Does the dentist speak English well?" I asked of a man as hairless as Patrick Stewart of Star Wars. Looked like him too.

"Not at all," said Pierre Blanchard, gripping my hand like a lumberjack. Thus I started work as observer/translator to the dental travails of OS, my younger daughter

I decided to get on Blanchard's better side. I complimented his baroque background music even though it might have issued from a tape loop. "It's necessary to calm the teeth," he said and we both laughed at that. OS, a rock/pop fan now prone on the table of pain, wagged a sandal in disagreement.

Blanchard poked around and concluded it was the last tooth on the left-hand end of the maxillar. That I could translate. Then came something more difficult: did it make a noise when OS chewed with it? This was so alarming (What kind of noise? A squeak? A bellow?) I had difficulty conveying it to OS. Who was in any case unhelpful since the pain discouraged her from using it to chew.


The tooth was further interrogated with several power tools, one of which emitted a brilliant white light which would, I felt sure, have illuminated OS's socks - from the inside! During this session Blanchard summarised his discoveries: (a) a problem with the tooth (Bien entendu!), (b) a more general problem. I didn't fully translate the latter since it contained the word purulence - never one of my favourites.

More dentistry would be needed on OS's return to the UK, complicated by the fact that she is due at Glastonbury within forty-eight hours.

I complimented Blanchard on the well-chosen logistics of his one-man cabinet (everything neatly to hand without rising from his stool) and received his hand more cautiously. The fish tank I ignored.

8 comments:

Beth said...

Aaach. Sympathies to OS from a veteran of many hours in that chair, bilingualism and all. (And nicely written up, RR.)

Blonde Two said...

An interesting turn around to a situation I once found myself in. When working as a matron (bust and all), on an Anglo French children's holiday, I had to accompany a French girl to an English orthodontist. We took a translator but speech progress was slow and most of us came out not much wiser than we went in!

Blonde Two said...

An interesting turn around to a situation I once found myself in. When working as a matron (bust and all), on an Anglo French children's holiday, I had to accompany a French girl to an English orthodontist. We took a translator but speech progress was slow and most of us came out not much wiser than we went in!

mike M said...

No knifing in support of "Ubi pus, ibi evacua"?

Roderick Robinson said...

Beth: It's a hard life in the Americas - living up to the tradition of beautiful teeth. If it's any comfort the regime appears to have worked given various self-portraits I've seen on your blog.

Blonde Two: M. Blanchard was typical of all French people. Once it had been established I would translate he then assumed my skills to be infinite. But there was a further advantage: I was able to filter out some of the grimmer observations he made. OS has many admirable qualities but her behaviour at the dentist (in this case exemplary) usually leaves much to be desired. In fact at the outset I warned him that OS tended to be "nervous" and had once involuntarily punched a toothman. M. B's reaction to this was too idiomatic to follow but I got the idea he was no gentleman on these occasions.

MikeM: Ever heard of "laudable pus"?

mike M said...

I have now!

Lucy said...

I once vomited on a dentist, inadvertently also.

I hate to be pedantic - no, actually I don't I love it - but Patrick Stewart was in Star Trek not Star Wars. And X-Men. He was certainly hairless. Though if you look carefully, you may spot him very young with a lusty head of hair in 'Civilisation', the Renaissance episode, as Horatio in an excerpt from Hamlet. Now that is nerdy.

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: Tit for tat. You're not only welcome but entitled. A week or so ago there was the little matter of the disoriented - nay disunited - states of America. Together we will both grow stronger knowing the other is waiting like a sprung trap.

References to popular culture should always be correct. I have never seen either the TV series or the movie (though VR does favour the one where Harrison Ford is so blissfully young and sexy) and should have opted for a dull, classical allusion. Stewart has recently been appearing in Shakespeare I believe and had I made a mistake there I could have always blamed Bradford Grammar School.

This post was alas far too long in draft and good stuff had to be cut. The punching episode had to be reduced to a re-comment. I'm left wondering whether - had you been the monoglot patient - I would have found the necessary linguistic delicacy to explain your failing. Of course I would. You would have inspired me. What's a splat of vomit among friends?