I went to the dentist the other day and made three disturbing discoveries:
1) He was not in my network, so I am a couple hundred dollars poorer.
2) Going to the dentist at 7 am without any children is a mini-vacation.
3) I am going to die someday.
My third realization was rather abrupt (I wish the first realization had been!). There we were, talking about my candidacy for short-term Invisiline, when all of the sudden he said, "I want to caution you, though, that if you do choose to use Invisiline, you will have to use retainers at night on and off, well, for the rest of your life."
For some reason, that "for the rest of your life" part was really weird to hear. He was being disturbingly casual about my death, I felt.
It is one thing for me to say that I will have to use something or do something for the rest of my life, because that is sort of like saying that I will have to do it forever. Said this way, my life = forever. The way the dentist phrased it, he made it sound as if 1)the world will carry on after 2)I die. I object!
Maybe I should include my emotional distress over his remarks in the letter I am drafting to them (which everyone who knows me knows I won't mail) petitioning for a reduction in the fee, since I DID ask whether they took my insurance and was told they did.
I do have a hard time accepting the aging process, and I don't mean just in my own body, but in all the people and things, even buildings, that Time corrupts. I hate the idea of being buried someday. Seeing cemeteries on the side of busy roads, full of names now forgotten and unmourned, makes me feel strange. But, in a sort of Buddhist way, I suppose, I like the idea of going back into the earth and becoming part of the elemental cycle.
But even more, I like to imagine that, through the things that I teach my kids and the memories we create together, the characteristics that I pass to them through my genes or my behavior, through love, we are forging a cosmic rope that tethers me both to them through their mortal lives and also to this physical world, beyond the grave, through the generations of our family line. That all people who love are forging these invisible ties.
Invisible, Invisiline. I come full circle.