Brace Yourself


I may get my braces off early. This is excellent news, since I’m starting to have fantasies about running my tongue over my front teeth without getting it snagged in a piece of metal, meeting someone who looks at my eyes instead of my mouth, and not scaring young children. I have dreams at night about biting into an apple and chewing gum (and I don’t even like to chew gum; but tell me I’m not allowed and guess what I want bad right now?)

I think I’ve convinced my orthodontists that these braces can come off in June, indeed, must come off in June, two months early. I’ve threatened to stamp my feet get real mad if they don’t. Because, let’s face it, that’s all I’ve got. I’ve already paid them for the entire treatment, I can’t remove them myself. They’ve got me over the proverbial barrel here.

I won’t miss the braces, but I’ll miss going to the orthodontist’s office, which is the nicest house I’ve ever been invited into. Perfectly appointed and color coordinated in up-to-the-minute style, soft music playing, a dark womb-like Internet cafe right there in the office, Disney movies playing on the TV, the best magazines, and best of all the free flavored coffee.

I’ve been going there for about two years, so I feel very much at home in the office. First I was my daughter’s guest and chaperone and I could stay in the waiting room and read the magazines. And then for myself, where I had to leave Southern Living on the couch and go into the “ring of fire,” take a seat on the perimeter and wait for the orthodontist to wheel over to the back of my head, say a couple of things in letters and number orthodontist code, and then listen to the tech sing along to the radio.

I won’t miss the ring of fire, but I will miss several things about the orthodontist’s office.

  1. 1) The coffee. It’s the kind you get out of the machine at 7-11, except it’s free. It’s like coffee and hot chocolate mixed with your choice of toffee or French vanilla flavoring. A nice touch, especially from a business that caters mostly to pre-teens.

  1. 2) The magazines. I don’t subscribe to any magazines at home, so this is where I get all my good information about what the movie stars are doing, how people in Kentucky are decorating their houses, and recipes for vegetarian dinners. It’s a must. Sometimes I spirit them out of the office to read at home, but then - and because I’m Lil Laney’s daughter - I return them the next time I’m in the office.

  1. 3) The people. Not really. I don’t know why I just said that. They’re fine, but I won’t miss them.