Friday, January 14, 2011

On Tenterhooks

Within the last few weeks I've been both to the mechanic and to the dentist. I don't fear either of these people [1], but neither do I like visiting them. I'm always slightly anxious until they come back with the verdict. Did I pass my safety inspection or do I have to replace the radiator? Do I get off with just a cleaning or do I have 8 cavities? I didn't think that getting a double root canal was all that bad…until I had to pay for it. So really it's waiting for the results, the anxiety of not knowing how hard my finances are going to be hit this time around, that make visits to the dentist or the auto mechanic so unpleasant for me.

This time around the visit to the dentist wasn't so bad. I had zero cavities.[2] Nice! The visit to the mechanic wasn't so pleasant. For one thing, it took them four hours to defrost the windshield wiper fluid sprayer so that they could give me my safety certificate. They also had to do nearly $200 in repairs on a damaged motor mount before they'd pass my car. That's unpleasant, but tolerable. However, they also advised me to repair a leak in my power steering for the tidy sum of $800 plus supplies (e.g. oil rags, etc.) and taxes. Ouch! Since it wasn't critical, I'm waiting to take care of that one. But that's what makes me hesitant to visit the dentist or the mechanic: if you're paying them for something, you might be paying them a lot.


[1] I have a hypothesis that people who recall being abducted by aliens while under hypnosis are actually recounting a traumatic visit to the dentist. They find themselves on a bed (the reclining dentist chair). There are bright lights over them and they feel odd (lidocaine or nitrous oxide) or even terrified. Strange-looking beings with no mouths and strange eyes (dentists and hygienists sometimes wear goggles) probe their body with various instruments (picks, drills, needles for delivering licocaine, x-ray machines, etc.).

[2] Actually one of my fillings is chipped but the dentist didn't see any decay, so he told me that as long as I keep it clean, I shouldn't need to replace the filling.


  1. I hate that. Mechanics always advise a bunch of other repairs that aren't really needed and cost a ton of money.

  2. The good thing is that I don't have that kind of anxiety when I go get my hair cut.

  3. I don't like dentist because the pain killer never really kicks in until I've left and even then...

    I rather like the warnings they give. You might be able to do some repairs yourself. Like replacing tubes and wires.