On the morning of my first day back to work this month I zip to my 7 am appointment for root canal therapy. My calculus students aren't too disappointed that I've cancelled their 7:45 class.
I take the needle 5 times - the last time it is stuck right into my molar. Once I am finally frozen, my endodontist labours furiously in tandem with his assistant for about 40 minutes drilling, picking and mining my infected tooth root as top 40 music sounds from the ceiling speakers.
What I take away from this surreal experience is the rare perspective I had of the whole operation. Complete strangers are thrusting foreign instruments and needles into my mouth (wedged open and covered with a rubber dam) as I restrain my gag reflex from all the fluid that is collecting in the back of my throat.
It is both violating to be so vulnerable and exhilarating to know they are working for my benefit. The fact that my jaw is numb compounds the feeling of vulnerability as I can not respond to their actions. The fact that I can not see what is happening to my tooth leaves me completely at their mercy. The fact that I really have no idea what good endodontics looks or feels like makes the previous two facts irrelevant.
I arrive in my classroom 25 minutes after paying a hefty sum, back in the real world, a place where I have a modicum of control.
This post is about 3 weeks late. On New Years Eve four men traveled all the way from Saskatchewan to challenge me and Amber to a Stone Age tournament. (The proceeded to Banff Nat'l Park for some winter fun afterwards). Blaise warmed the boys up with some Jr. Monopoly while I finished making curry.
I organized a six game round robin for the six players. The top scoring three players would move on into a final game. The play was enhanced greatly with the presence of choice Bushwakker and Duchesse de Bourgogne beers - in particular, a seasonal treat: Blackberry Mead.
Play was very competitive, though we only got through a couple rounds New Years Eve and had to resume after breakfast on the first. Each player got to play two 4-person games and one double in the round robin. Game winners earned a small bonus of points.
Chris will lament that he was ill (and ill he was) and was therefore not able to present his finest game. Neal learned to play at the tournament, so it is understandable that he came in last. This means that Graham should be the most shamed for not cracking the top three. In fact, it is important to note that Graham's sole purpose was to beat me.
So, it came down to Amber (the sole female, well representing), Bryan (perhaps the most deliberate player at the table), and me in the final.
The turning of the decade was great fun; accentuated by my emergence as Stone Age victor.