Writing Like I Talk

I drink a lot of coffee. Well, not a lot. Two cups in the morning, sometimes a third if it’s a special day. Oftentimes I have a cup of tea in the afternoon. Black tea, that is to say, no milk in the tea. I also like red wine. Do you see where this is going?

I have stained teeth.

Maybe I have normal teeth. They look yellow to me. Other peoples’ teeth look like dominoes without the dots. Like fresh snow. Like gleaming cliches.

The last time I went to the dentist, the hygienist cleaned my teeth and I looked up at her very thick, false eyelashes. (They are like caterpillars.) After she finished polishing my teeth, and had done the fluoride treatment, and I had rinsed and spit in the sink, I asked her, “What do you think about the stains? My tooth stains?”

Because I had seen some photos of me, smiling with my mouth open as I do, and my teeth were appallingly yellow. Not oh those ladies in the commercials have whiter teeth than me and also their vaginas smell like honeysuckle, but WOW! Manila envelope!

And she said, the hygienist, “Well, you could bleach them. You can buy tooth bleach at the drugstore. But your teeth might get more sensitive. Only use it twice a day.” Or something. I don’t know what she said. I had already decided to go buy tooth bleach at the earliest opportunity.

Which, since my kids were at my mom’s house, turned out to be right after my appointment. I scooted to WalMart and discovered that a) tooth whitener is $50 a box! Because I guess it is made of rare donkey testicle? and b) they keep it locked up because people STEAL tooth whitener. That part makes sense, because it is so expensive, but also doesn’t make sense, because it’s TOOTH WHITENER. Not crack. Are there really people so desperate for whiter teeth? Or are the people just so pissed off that the commercials make it look so easy when in fact it will bankrupt you.

I bought the kind that was on the shelf. It cost $10, because no one wants to steal it.

Now you might think: no one wants to steal it because it doesn’t work! But I don’t like talking to people. I didn’t want to ask a WalMart pharmacist for tooth whitener that cost $50. Those things considered, I would rather buy the thing on the shelf for $10 and hope that it WILL work.

It is a very complicated accounting, that of my brain.

The point of this post is not actually my teeth and how white they are. They are not significantly whiter. I used the stuff a few times. Twice a day for a week or so. They were definitely less yellow, but I could also see them sort of..eroding. I don’t think long-term use is intended, at least not with the cheap brand.

The $10 tooth whitener is some peroxide and a little rubber mouth tray. You put the bleach in the tray, the tray in your mouth, and then you clamp your mouth down on it and look vaguely chimp-like for five minutes while it bleaches. It tastes awful. It tastes like poison. It is poison. On a different shelf at the drugstore, it’s for your hair, or your mustache, or your fungus. But in this box, for $10, it is for your teeth.

This morning, 8 months after that dentist’s appointment, I remembered the tooth whitener and I decided to bleach my teeth. Yes, I question my timing too. It was 8 am and the kids were gathering around my skirts, except I don’t wear skirts, tugging, asking me things, wondering what I was packing for lunch, wondering why I wasn’t talking. And I couldn’t tell them because I had a rubber tray coated in peroxide jammed in my mouth. I could just mime and grunt and raise my eyebrows and wave my hands around. Good thing I’m half Italian.

At one point, Trombone started laughing, in that exasperated, almost-hysterical way, and said, “I have NO IDEA what you are talking about! Because you aren’t talking!”

It was much quieter in the house when I wasn’t talking. Not because I make so much noise, but because *they* talk more when I’m talking. I got to pee and rinse my mouth out in peace. But there was something kind of unnerving about the quiet. It was unnatural. Our house is loud. It just is.

Later I read a post at Seth Godin’s blog about writing like we talk; as in, we talk a lot in a day, and we get better at it. (some of us. I am not convinced of this, personally) And if we wrote as much as we talked, we would get better at it.

I haven’t been writing. I haven’t wanted to. I have taken up sketching instead. I decided that instead of beating myself up about not writing when I should be writing, I should just not write, but do something else entirely. Drawing. With pens and pencils. Yes.

Seth says, “If you’re concerned with quality, of course, then not writing is not a problem, because zero is perfect and without defects. Shipping nothing is safe.”

Turns out I’m not horrible at drawing.

I do miss writing though. When I’m not writing I have no idea what I’m talking about.

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