Tuesday, May 13, 2014

what we still had to learn about opposable thumbs

Dear man in the fancy suit who walked in to the orthodontist's waiting room and sat down across from me,

You look very important in that fancy suit.  And very busy.  Your half-crazed eyes are fixed on that little phone in your hand, thumbs flying, and you're giggling like a pre-adolesent who just peeked at his first Playboy magazine.

You look a little demented, but'ya still got it. You're still charming.

Excuse me for bothering you, but did you notice that person sitting next to you?  No younger than eight, no older than ten?  Big soulful eyes and long brown ponytails, head turned away, arms wrapped around her long, thin legs, knees tucked under her chin, rocking back and forth?

Could that be your daughter?

Some people call that the fetal position.  Do you think she might need something?

(Oh wait, he's going to speak to the young girl....)

Now we all know that your pressing matter has a name...."Georgia."

This information doesn't seem to be quite as fascinating...or comforting to the young girl as it is to you,  but you insist upon elbowing her, because Georgia sent a picture, and your daughter must be eager to see it.

That's why she's pretending  to smile.  Head's turning away again.  Rocking again.  Now her thumb is moving too, right up to her mouth. But you don't seem to notice that.

She is young to be at the orthodontist-- and old to be sucking her thumb.

A little extra attention won't straighten teeth, or change a habit, but it would seem to be in order here.

Maybe you'll make the connection when the office woman comes to talk about the payments.  Maybe you will turn to her and hold her in your arms, and give her what she needs, or maybe you'll go back to your phone, and put braces on her teeth.

(Wait he's making physical contact...)

You lean your head against hers. Cheesy smile at the phone.

"Selfie at the orthodontist!"

(I can't believe that just happened.)

Georgia must have been impressed because she replies with a video.

Now you explain that she has a British accent....

because she is from England...

Oh. That's why.

We are all relieved.

Do you ever worry, man in the suit, where will she be when she finally gets your attention? What will your daughter need to do to fascinate you?

You let one hand leave the phone so you can reach up to the top of your head, and rub that yes-it-is- thinning spot, a gesture that is often endearing, but not really today.  Because you seem worried about losing something.

But other things, not so much.