Day 335 - The Inconvenient Tooth

AKA - The Dentist's Chair

I’m sitting in a dentist chair in the heart of Budapest.  A dentist with a thick Hungarian accent, who looks uncannily like the insane, evil surgeon from The Human Centipede is just about to drop a bombshell on me.

“Dead.  It is dead.” he says nonchalantly.

“Are you sure?” I respond.

“Yes.  Your tooth is dead.  Pretty sure, I am.”

I didn't even realise it was ill.

I'm taken aback by his matter of fact tone.  He sounds like a heartless, Eastern European Yoda!  Where the devil is his bedside manner?  Does he not realise how close my tooth and I were?  He was one of my favourites!  Undoubtedly in my top thirty two!    We’ve spent nearly thirty five years together since he first tore his way through my infantile, gummy mouth.  We’ve shared so many good times, so many meals out together.  So many gastronomic adventures!  He was there when I first kissed my wife!  Right in the thick of it, the pervy little bastard!  Am I just meant to let him go?  Just like that? 

Hang on a minute.  He said “pretty sure”.  Maybe he’s wrong.  Maybe he has been wrongly pronounced dead, just like Tom Hanks in the film Castaway?

“Only pretty sure?” I ask.

At this, the dentist picks up the liquid nitrogen drenched piece of cotton wool that he was only moments earlier applying to my sadly deceased tooth with tweezers, and presses it against one of my other teeth.

“Aaaaaarrrrggghh!” I respond.  The pain is excruciating!    

“If still living it was, the same pain you would have felt.”

Fuck you Yoda!

“So what now?” I ask nervously.

“Now holes I will drill in to the tooth, treat the root with tiny needles and then next week we will meet for a new tooth.”

He wanders off and returns a few seconds later holding a drill.  He holds the drill ominously, leans over me and peers at me over the top of his glasses.  He smiles.

“Now, I will drill you.  If pain you will feel, raise your hand.”

Fear is rising.  What if this is all a horrible mistake?  What if my tooth isn’t completely dead?  What if it's just in a coma?  What if it wakes up just as this animal is about to drill in to its living nerve?

The dentist thinks for a moment.

“Although to be fair, you won’t actually need to raise your arm if you feel pain.  Scream you will!  Agony it will be!”

Wonderful stuff.

I hear the whirr of the drill and I am afraid.

The drill connects with my tooth and the process begins. 

“There is a film.  An old film.   A film with Dustin Hoffman.” The dentist says over the excruciating sound of the drill boring in to my poor tooth.  “The name,  I don’t remember.  But there is tooth drilling with no pain killer.  Excellent way to get information!”

Er…

The drilling stops. 

“Using a series of tiny needles I will now treat your tooth.” he proudly claims.

I decide that I need to climb in to my ‘mind-bungalow’, which is very similar to Sherlock Holmes' ‘mind-palace’, but more homely and without so many levels.  I clamber in and begin to write a short script in my head.  It’s a about a police officer named Tim who’s on a raid with his partner, Steve Guttenberg (‘star’ of Police Academy, Cocoon and Three Men and a Baby).  In this script Steve Guttenberg is playing himself.  They're chatting in a police car about the breakdown of Tim’s marriage.  Then they're entering a drug den in an attempt to apprehend drug lords.  A shoot out ensues and the baddies are shot.  Suddenly other police officers arrive and arrest Tim and Steve.  We discover that Steve Guttenberg is imaginary, the shot people aren’t drug lords and that Tim is simply a civilian having a mental episode following his divorce.  Tim gets sent to prison, but he doesn’t mind, because as luck would have it, he’s put in the same room as his dear friend and hero, Steve Guttenberg.

The dentist puts his tiny needles away.  He’s finished.  I’m thinking about my script idea and wondering if he’s sneakily slipped me any psychedelic drugs.

“Next week, same time?” he asks.

I nod sadly and head home to organise a memorial for my beloved tooth (RIP).  I will give him the sea (aka wine) burial he always dreamt of.

Day 42 - Running Out of Names

Running Out of Names

Sadly neither Jet or Jinx made it on to the shortlist

Sadly neither Jet or Jinx made it on to the shortlist

Our baby is now five days overdue and we can’t decide on a name.  If we were having a boy the name was long decided and agreed.  Hugo Zoltan Hutchins!  He would no doubt have been both a comic book character and a wizard.  But little Hugo will just have to wait as, unless it’s a boy with a micro penis, all evidence suggests that we are having a girl, and we are more than delighted with this.

“Why don’t we call her Sonia?”  my wife suggests.  I almost choke on my yogurt, which I’m confident would have been a world first.

I show her a photo of the Eastenders character called Sonia and she gets my point.

“What about Uma?” I ask.

“Are you insane!?” she growls back.  

I take this as a maybe.

This game of baby name tennis has been going on for months now, ever since our twelve weeks scan where we discovered that we were most likely going to welcome a little madam in to our world.  The drama is also heightened on discovering that you are not allowed to leave the hospital in Hungary until a name is registered!  Yikes!

I decide that a run might help with the baby name idea generation.  I am also spurred on by the realisation that I may have to take my top off in a hospital in the next few days for some skin to skin action with a new born baby.   

It’s midday and I am running around Margit Island like an unconventional English/Welsh gazelle.  It’s over thirty degrees celsius and I am the living embodiment for the Noel Coward song, “Mad Dogs and Englishmen”.  I am now rather regretting my running decision. 

Half way through I spot a leafy little exercise yard and instantly decide that this is a perfect excuse to take a break from my foolhardy run.  I study the machines on display and make a calculated decision that the peculiar devise that allows you to swing your legs from side to side is probably the least taxing of all the available machines.  After all, what more do you want from exercise than to relax?  So on I hop and begin the bizarre routine of swinging my legs from left to right.  It’s in the shade and I start to smile as I feel my life-force returning.  But then something dreadful happens.  Something almost too ghastly to even mention.  A man makes his way towards my machine, and as bold as brass, hops on to the section that opposes me and begins to swing his legs about.  He is facing me, our noses are centimetres from one another.  His breath is caressing my skin.  I am horrified by this brazen display of disregard for the unwritten rules of personal space encroachment.  But not unlike Theresa May, I resist the urge to immediately trigger Article 50, as being British, the last thing I want this random chap to know is that I feel uncomfortably by his unbelievably close presence.  So, with my heart composing it's own hardcore drum n' bass 'tune', and with every fibre of my being secretly screaming “What the fuck are you doing you scoundrel!?”, I try and play it cool.  This begins with a nonchalant scratch of my shoulder with my chin.  It provides me with the perfect excuse to move my face in to a safe zone.  But I immediately realise that this is only a momentary respite as I can only scratch my shoulder with my scratching chin for so long without appearing to have descended in to madness.

 

The Circus Maximus

The Circus Maximus

I need a new 'face safety' strategy.  In a eureka moment it comes to me!  I will study the ground for a while as though it is as fascinating as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel!  But it’s no use.  I can’t continue to look at the ground for more than fifteen seconds for fear that this stranger will suspect that I am looking uncomfortable, and as a Brit, it is in my DNA that I must do all that I can to avoid this shame.  I reluctantly decide that there’s only one thing for it.  I brace myself and then slowly, calmly and assuredly look straight ahead, in to the eyes of my aggressor.  Our eyes meet and it is horrible.  If we both extend our lips we could probably kiss.  And in this bloodcurdling moment I’m now afraid that this is what he has in mind, so I quickly glance at my wedding ring in the vain hope that his eyes will follow.  But they do not.  This bushwhacker is made of sterner stuff and will not be fooled by ‘sleight of eye’ tricks.  I want to grab him by the ears, shake him and forcefully say “I don’t know what you’re used to around these neck of the woods you cretin, but in Britain we respect each others personal space!”  But it’s no use.  This man is a shameless bastard, plus I don’t know the Hungarian for “neck of the woods”.  Or “cretin”.  Or any of the rest of it.  So I look at the ground again.

Eventually, after what seems like an eternity, but was probably actually less than thirty seconds I decide enough is enough.  You have won sir.  You have won!  I hop off the machine whilst whistling, trying to act as nonchalant as possible and involuntarily break in to a peculiar display of lunges to help me appear so.  I don’t think it worked.  I then run away as fast as my tired legs and shaken mind will carry me, a mentally broken Brit in a land full of foreign, personal space invading madness.  

About a hundred metres down the road I spot a little stall, selling beer.  I decide to stop.  I remember that all of the world’s greatest ideas are generated in a pub.

Day 1 - Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Blending in with the natives

Blending in with the natives

It’s my first full day in Budapest.  I wake up, the sun is shining.  Yes!  Take that UK!  Shove your erratic weather right up your rainy anus!  My heavily pregnant Hungarian wife, who at this late stage of pregnancy is beginning to resemble a pregnant guppy, is in the kitchen making coffee.  I step out on to our little, but delightful balcony, survey the scenic Buda hills, take a great big contented breath of Buda air, and then it hits me.  Bloody hell, it’s hot!  Very hot.  I immediately make a calculated decision that it’s too hot for pants and this, obviously, makes me happy.

The wife

The wife

“Morning honey”, my miniature wife beams, waddles over wth her big fat belly full of baby, and hands me a piece of paper with an unusual number of ‘Zs’ on it.  I look at the paper, puzzled.  “This is your list of challenges for the morning”.  Have I woken up in The Crystal Maze?  As wondrous as that sounds, alas the answer is no.  I’ve been given a number of ‘The Apprentice’ style challenges to complete, assuming of course, that it was an episode of ‘The Apprentice’ where they were challenged to go and buy nectarines.  The thing about me, probably one of your favourite bits about me actually, is that I’m bloody brave.

“I accept your challenge!  I will buy you fruit!”

And so off I trot, to the wild plains of Buda, a warrior in flip flops, armed only with a piece of paper covered in ‘Zs’ and a mobile phone with a dodgy reception.  Shortly after stepping outside I notice something unusual about my hair.  It has become apparent that my hair and the Hungarian climate are an unusual, dare I say it, heady mix.  Back in dear old Blighty my hair is slightly wavy, but nothing too extravagant.  However, after a little under five minutes in the mid thirty, Hungarian heat, my hair has decided enough is enough and is making a play to become exceedingly extravagant.  My hair has turned in to Liberace.  Suddenly I’m a white man with an afro, or so it feels.  I need too check this bad boy out before meeting my friendly local greengrocer who I’m sure, even before meeting him, is called Laszlo.  

Being the eagle eyed swine that we both know that I am, I spot a darkened car window just a few metres ahead and on the other side of the road.  Bingo!  I momentarily wonder if there are Bingo halls in Budapest and then flip flop over to the car, looking around to avoid appearing like a preening, vain peacock wearing a David Hasselhoff wig.  With the coast seemingly clear I peer in to the dark, back seat window and begin inspecting the damage.  Verging on a code red, curly hair disaster, but I can manage this.  With a bit of spit and a fleshy five pronged comb I can tame this frantic beast.  And so I set to work.  

You know how when you’re in a lit room and the lights go out, and for a few moments everything is pitch black, but then gradually, your eyes adjust and you start to make out shapes?  Well the same is actually true for darkened car windows.  I’m leaning right in, staring so intently at my own reflection that I can count my own pores, when something moves.  It’s in the car.  I adjust my gaze slightly and then lean in further to inspect the movement.  What I see chills me to the core.  There’s somebody starring back at me.  A pair of eyes.  A startled pair of eyes.  A startled pair of female eyes.  A mother’s eyes.  A breastfeeding mother’s eyes!  I am staring intently at a breastfeeding mother, discreetly, feeding her tiny baby.  Oh, the horror!  And yet I’m still staring, like a rabbit caught in the headlights!  Must…stop…staring!  The expression on the woman seems to be changing.  Anger is replacing fear!  I do the only sensible thing that I can do.  With all of the blood drained from my face like a piece of halal meat, I mutter the words “sorry” under my breath, turn and hurriedly canter away, flip flops clopping like a mule.

Back in the safety of the flat, moments later, I tell my wife the bad news.  “All out of fruit sorry honey”.  The streets of Buda are fraught with peril.  The next twelve months could be dangerous.