A Saturday Caesura
Of all the things I did this week, going to the dentist felt most like a “just-get-‘er-done” activity. The visit (euphemistically speaking) was comprised of all the usual dentistry things: elephantine needles, awkward rubber dams, whinning drills, and other torturous what-nots.
Have you ever noticed how limited your range of vision is when you are lying in a dentist’s chair? You have an awareness of the dentist on one side and his assistant on the other, but watching their faces without turning your head is physically uncomfortable (as if you were comfortable to begin with). Besides, wouldn’t watching their faces be a little weird anyway? And you especially don’t want to catch even a glimpse of The Needle or The Drill. So you look at the Garfield (or Snoopy or Elmo) poster on the ceiling and think about the smoothie you’ll likely need for supper tonight. Well, maybe you don’t, but I did.
I did notice something other than the ceiling poster though.
On centre stage of my vision, I observed a hand dance performed without pomp or ceremony but with a practiced rhythm as the dentist and the assistant passed various instruments between them. No words were spoken or needed; the choreography was well-rehearsed and perfected into a fluid, almost elegant routine. With a simple twist of the wrist and some elaborate finger-work, the assistant could catch one instrument in her pinkie while simultaneously handing off another one with her thumb and forefinger. The dentist knew exactly where to reach to make the exchanges, never had to look or guess. His hands just knew.
I was impressed. And I have a deeper gratitude for people who know their craft and perform it well. Even dentists. And mechanics and pizza makers and cashiers and musicians and farmers and roofers and janitors and grandmothers… the world is full of hands that know the dance of their work.