30 October 2009

The losing (and gaining) of wisdom

The thing about getting your wisdom teeth out is that everyone has had theirs out too, and of course there's a horror story about how they had to do it right there in the dentist chair with only a petrol rag sniff of happy gas while the nurse was manhandling their lower pearly whites with the amount of force it takes to undo a really tight bolt on a flat tyre. I imagine it (the opinionating & the storytelling, not the tyre-bolt-unscrewing) to be similar to the thoughtful suggestions & heartfelt comments that a pregnant lady receives. In the same way that a woman "with child" really loves it when perfect strangers tell her that her belly bump will be a boy because of how big her butt is, or that their neice had a 48-hour horror labour and required 30 stitches at the end, I found it extremely useful to receive unsolicited advice about how sore my throat would be or how purple my face would go or how much cotton wool I would need to stuff in my cheeks to contain all the blood oozing from my holes-in-my-jaw-where-teeth-once-were. I have never actually had a baby so I’m only speculating from the experiences of my girlfriends, but it’s not limited to just motherhood and painful dental operations. It seems to be a common human desire to inform one another of the pain/stress/carnage that awaits them, seemingly with the aim of preparing, or at least warning, the pain/stress/carnag-ee of their impending doom. In fact, the real benefactor is your helpful buddy’s self esteem - they also have been through what you are about to go through, they had to endure much worse than you will probably have to, they were much tougher than you will have to be, in other words "don't be a chicken, suck it up!"

Now that said wisdom teeth are long gone, I can’t help but recount my terrible tale to anyone who’ll listen, “well, actually, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought” (cue patronising smile on behalf of the listener who now thinks I must have been freaking out to a level far beyond normal).

“Oh, well, you’re lucky, things have really improved. It’s not like back in the ‘90s when they sent you away with a couple of aspirin and a prescription for Aeroplane Jelly.”

Can it not be possible that, actually, the whole procedure is NOT THAT BAD? That, actually, it’s a pleasure to get a whole week off work with a doctor’s certificate to say that someone is medically obliged to stay with me and look after me and do whatever I want and make me banana smoothies because getting some teeth out severely affects my ability to peel a banana and get milk out of the fridge? Come on, people! OK, in fairness, maybe you are about to have this done and are thinking - has she gone mental? Who would enjoy that! So I confess, there were some adverse outcomes of the whole darned incident, the worst of which is a green apple jelly addiction costing me more than $3.00 a week. Consider yourself warned.

25 May 2009

It's been a while. Things get busy...

I'm still not 100% sure that our new communication technology is good for us. I mean, it helps us write to people, call people, pester people, poke people (in the cyber sense), and even ignore people much more easily than we could even 5 years ago. But on the other hand it can makes us lazy, shortsighted and indecisive.

I love texting as much as the next person, and facebook is awesome for chatting to overseas mates that I haven't seen in years, but I'm not trying very hard. My friends just pop up in my online world or beep in my inbox and then I can choose to interact with them or ignore them if I can't be bothered. Is that what being a friend is about?

29 April 2009

Bologna, Italia

In summer in Bologna the twilight lasts well into the evening. The slowly setting sun casts long shadows under the porticos which follow every street. The burnt orange facades glow against the deep, almost royal blue sky, waiting for you to decide whether to savour some gelato or settle in at the bar for aperitivo and a drink or two. This very dilemma confronted me on a weekly basis while living and studying in Italy a little while ago.

Aperitivo is a wonderful Italian pastime, along the same lines as the Friday after work pub session with your mates. While similar to our happy hour, aperitivo takes the cake because the bars provide free snacks to nibble as you drink, and I’m not talking about a packet of Nobby’s Nuts! Bruschetta, olives, prosciutto, verdure fritte (fried vegetables), tray after tray. And, if you time it just right, this complimentary pre-dinner treat can become your main meal as well!

I often sat with friends in the dwindling light at one of the bars on Via Clavature, in the heart of the old marketplace. The contrast of the old and new in Italy is both fascinating and incredibly commonplace. Via Pescherie Vecchie (literally, Old Fish Shop Street) still bustles with seafood merchants and fruit vendors from the first light of dawn, but in the evening is transformed by workers and students beginning their night with the latest cocktail creation. The best of both worlds, you could say.