Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Visit to the Dentist

Relocating residence for six months entails somewhat more than transporting the common baggage. While you certainly needn't bring every wristwatch or other article of jewellery with you (though I confess to having brought studs and links) nor obviously any of one's favourite rugs, lamps, crystal or furnishings, there are nonetheless other matters to be taken care of - things like hair cuts, manicures and pedicures, oil changes for the car, bike rentals, clothing and shoe stores and dental hygiene.  Hopefully one needn't become too familiar with the Emergency department of the local hospital. Nor have to acquaint oneself with the preferred ambulance, trauma or collision centre. The point is that many of life's prosaic needs continue to persist wherever you are. Today for example we visited a dentist because (speaking for myself anyway) my addiction to strong, black coffee is as usual discolouring my teeth from an acceptable ivory to that approaching mahogany.

The appointment thus began merely as a cleaning, an arrangement we normally do every three months.  Somewhat to our surprise the office informed us that  a Comprehensive Oral Evaluation (which turned out to include X-rays and something called Intraoral-Complete and Bitewings) was mandatory. Though I confess an initial level of skepticism we reasoned that it would afford a "second opinion" regarding the current state of our choppers. We have yet to return for the free consultation in which the dentist will provide his opinion following detailed examination of the initial investigation.  Based upon the gusto with which he attacked the affair today I surmise he'll have a number of suggestions about what can be done to improve our fangs - beyond the simple cleaning which started it all. Notably he enquired about who was our dental "quarterback" by which we understood him to ask whether we intend to delay any work until our return to Canada. I believe he was pleased to hear we are happy to respond to need as it arises - which frankly from my point of view as someone who straddles international borders for equal periods during the year is hardly being either accommodating or generous but rather strictly practical.

Though all this sounds dreadfully preconceived and promotional on the part of the dentist I have to say I admired the fellow for his assiduity (and I as much as told him so).  Another persuasive feature is that he is young (37 years of age) and manifestly committed to the latest technology, both of which elements bode well for any competent professional. Without having disclosed my own employment background, he and I shared some meaningful allusions to obsessiveness and repetitive analysis. In a word, we spoke the same language (and he was quick to extoll what I as a dilettante have for years perceived to be the expert work of my prior dental surgeon). This isn't to say I am blindly willing to pay for his son's college education but at a minimum I am open to hear him out.

This isn't the first occasion we've encountered very favourable service beyond the borders of our home town.  Whatever one might say about Americans, they have an appetite for excellence, driven I am certain by a competitive market of talented individuals who take pride in their work. As I am sure many will admit, there is something instinctive about the bona fides of a dedicated professional. The posture is all the more decipherable when performed in the context of compensation for services rendered, which his clearly were.

Though I am at a loss how exactly to capture the similarity with what later transpired, we heard today much of what was said at the funeral of the late 41st US President George H. W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral. Liberal Cabinet Minister Scott Brison was among those who attended the final farewell. He observed about President Bush:

"He came from tremendous privilege, but he chose to use that privilege and that upbringing to serve the greater good. That sense of noblesse oblige is something that a lot of people of privilege don't necessarily remember, that sense of giving back. That was something he took seriously."

There were repeated allusions to Bush's sense of decency, friendship and forgiveness, all of which palpably raised the bar above the conduct of the current American administration under Trump. The eulogizers universally exemplified a conduct of humanity far exceeding that for which Trump and his lackeys are so unflatteringly notorious. It was instantly perceived that the higher ground of behaviour is something for which Americans and the world have an appetite. It was also a compelling reminder to everyday people of the importance and value of similar comportment.

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