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 2 - The Sausage

The Sausage

I’ve been in Budapest for two days now and I fancy a sausage.  As luck would have it, I’m standing outside a shop on Szent Istvan Kerut that looks suspiciously as though it may contain sausages.  I wander inside and intrepidly make my way through the shop.  Aisles of tinned food, bottles of potent spirits, fresh tomatoes, peppers and cheeses try to put me off the meaty scent, but they are doomed to failure.  Nothing can stand between this man and his sausage. 

I reach the back of the shop and I am delighted.  For in front of my sparkling eyes lies some kind of sausage Babylon.  Rows and rows of delicious, processed, animal meat hang, delectable, delightful and practically screaming out to be devoured.  “Come eat us!” they plead.  “You are our destiny!” they somewhat creepily chant.  But the path to my sausage destiny is not as simple as you may be currently imagining.  Oh no!  For I must first get past the sausage guardian who stands before me, behind a meat counter, guarding her meaty treasures.  I am not fooled by her appearance.  She may resemble a sweet, if slightly hairy, little Hungarian lady, but I know she is carved from granite with an unbreakable, iron will to protect these sausages from the unworthy.  She has sworn an oath to these slender tubes of meat, and around here that means something.

A meaty Babylon

A meaty Babylon

Cautiously I take my position in a three person queue.  Another elderly Hungarian lady comes and stands to my right and this throws me.  Who is this brazen harlot, this free spirit, this renegade who doesn’t abide by the law of the queue.  Stand behind, not to the side!  With my British upbringing, naturally, I am falling apart inside.  While this battle is enraging, the leader of the sausage queue claims her meat and moves aside and the queue moves forward.  Surely this challenger to my rightful throne will now hold back a step so that order can be assumed?  But no!  What is this treachery!?  She moves forward with me, in unison!  We are side, by side!  My mind is racing.  Beads of sweat are forcing their way through the pores in my forehead.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, that the next three minutes were some of the most stressful of my lifetime as this mental and physical battle took place.  But, with a series of throat clearings, a subtle use of elbows and an ability to spread myself to three times my usual width, I eventually thwarted the challenger, despite her aggressive use of walking stick.

And now I’m at the counter, just me and the sausage guardian, face to face.  But, then it hits me.  I haven’t chosen my sausage poison!  I had been so engrossed in fighting off my queue challenger that I hadn’t prepared myself mentally for my next challenge!

“Szia”, bellows the guardian menacingly.  

“Uh, szia”, I skilfully retort.

“Kekndflsecnejnflzefmwmdzzwsnz?” apparently asks the guardian.  

And in the heat of battle I panic.  All of those Hungarian classes that I have been taking to prepare me for this epic moment are wasted.  I can barely remember English.  My queue challenger shuffles behind me, with menace.  In that moment all I can do is grunt and point at one particular sausage adorning the wall.  The sausage guardian looks at me and seems confused.

“Horz!”, she says.  

I have no idea what that means.  I mentally travel back to my Hungarian class in London, racking my brain.  No, ‘horz’ is a new word for me.  I nod defiantly.

“Horz?” she says again, although this time adding a question mark.  

The sausage guardian is apparently perplexed by my choice of sausage.  Is this a trick?  I need to be assertive and demonstrate that I am worthy of this treasure.  I need to display my balls of steel (not literally).  I compose myself.

“Igen, köszönöm szepen”, I reply, suddenly delighted with my use of the native tongue.

The guardian, clearly impressed by my linguistical magnificence, but trying to play it cool, shrugs, grabs the sausage from it’s hook, wraps it in paper and hands it to me.  I return the kind gesture by crossing the guardians palm with forint, turn and triumphantly leave.  I have won.  I am the penitent man!  I have passed the test.  I have seen off my challenger.  I will now return home to my basecamp, present my heavily pregnant wife with the fruits of my victory and we will enjoy sausage!

Thirty minutes later.

“Honey.  Why have you bought a horse sausage?”

We order a pizza.