I enjoy talking with my dental hygienist. That may seem impossible while she has her hands in my mouth, but her timing and attention are impeccable. While she checks my chart and sets out her tools, she asks questions that go beyond the state of my teeth, remembering details of what we talked about at my last visit. She knows we share a love for travel and design. I like writing and fiction. She likes the history of public transportation. Like me, she has family in Maine, but finds the city more fulfilling. She is tactful when discussing politics but open to different perspectives.
This week, I arrived late for my appointment. The bus was snarled in traffic and I suspect the driver had not consumed enough coffee. I came in breathless and apologetic. She assured me we’d be fine though it might cut into our “talk time.”
We jumped right in: my recent trip to Mexico, her plans to travel south for a get-together with her girlfriends. After the main highlights, the conversation grew more intimate. As she finished scraping my teeth, we talked about dating. She divulged that she had put her profile on an online dating site but has not yet met anyone there who excites her.
“It’s different from meeting someone in person,” she said as she started polishing, “seeing his gestures, hearing his voice. Writing can be too revealing. One guy wrote ‘I love to have long conversations about topics that interest me.'” She grimaced. “That says it all, doesn’t it?” I widened my eyes in agreement.
Now, three days later I’m still replaying snippets of our conversation in my head. At the end of my visit, she confided that her work is very repetitive and would be boring were it not for the collection of individual stories she gathers each day. I hope she has a warm and glorious summer and gets the chance to travel. Too bad it will be another six months before I learn if she has met a man as curious as she is about every topic under the sun.