Sometimes I am sitting in a chair with my mouth open, and someone I barely know is yanking at my tooth.
Sometimes I move freely about the kitchen, watching almond milk move in small heaps and bubbles.
I cut lilacs from the neighbor’s yard.
I tell a small group of people which way their knee cap should face.
I drive quickly past fields of barley and corn and oil.
I put quarters in the machine and push air into the tire.
I stand in my kitchen and wonder what to do, eat lunch, continue writing, fold clothes, call the sprinkler guy, plant something, lie on the couch? I think about the next time I need to be somewhere. And I think about how this is a giant broad day. I could move slowly through it. I could notice I am breathing.
Erling Kagee says:
I am 56 years old, and when you start to go to 60th, 70th, 80th birthdays, people talk about life being too short. That’s their favorite subject. When you’re walking, the slowness somehow expands time. Speed collapses time. So if you walk towards a mountain, you can see it getting closer. You can smell the smells. You hear things and see how everything is changing.
Doris Day stepped out of Hollywood and invited the 30 rescue dogs and multiple cats to stay at her place. She had one area, she explained, and the dogs lived in the other. She had a huge inside/outside place built for the cats. When Terri Gross asks how big her house is, she starts to answer, to figure it out, counting rooms under her breath, “The third floor, 3, 4; second floor 3,4,5—Big. It’s a really big house.” She laughs softly, spaciously. “I love my life with the animals,” she says. “What’s your favorite song?” Terri asks, and Doris Day speaks in a dear laughing voice somewhat inside herself as if there were a small gap in details. As if, at this point, the titles, the details don’t matter. “Love songs,” she says.
On Tuesday I’ll wake up and it’ll be the day.
I think that my jaw will lose its tenacity and my face will start to fall in toward the place where the tooth was. “You just have bad teeth,” my mother repeats on the phone, “like your father.”
I pace around worrying about it. Teeth falling out doesn’t give a healthy Yoga teacher impression. If I were a fisherman, it would be more acceptable (my mother says that’s discriminatory).
Or on the Baking TV show.
“You’re a monk, right? You know things don’t last.” Jenny, on the phone says. “We’re human,” she says. “It’s alright to get some teeth that aren’t original. Assiduous removeable teeth.”
It’s what’s happening.
I look at people’s teeth on the British Baking Show. Sometimes a flash of a missing tooth—or silver. Or the roots.
They set up the form like a poem. You’re going to bake twelve of these small rolls, one huge cake, a few pies, a small cake but with twenty layers, éclairs, baklava. Mary and Paul take a bite and talk about texture. “We are looking for perfection. This is under-baked. It’s overbaked. Raw, burnt. The taste is gorgeous. The flavors, beautiful. The grapefruit isn’t coming through. It’s a bit of a mess. The best samosa I’ve ever tasted. You see these air bubbles are too compact. That’s a shame. You should have proved it twenty minutes longer. Five minutes more in the oven.” Paul pokes the middle of a cinnamon swirl. “doughy.” He says.
At the end of each weekend the bakers sit on stools, tan aprons, ankles crossed. Hands in laps or holding hands. One person is titled, Star-baker, and another has to leave. The star feels like it’s a fluke. Everyone is sad for the person who has to leave. They sob-cry and say: “It should have been me.” Martha can’t stop crying even though she gets to stay one more week.
I recalibrate my thoughts. I pause. I forgot this is life and death. Once I drop in with my actual body, I’m alright with the tooth situation. I’m scared of pain though. People have diseases’, surgeries, sickness. They walk around with a prosthetic. They lie in hospitals breathing through a tube. And they chew with teeth that aren’t original. The new problem stops us. Then there is a readjustment. And then life starts up again in some more tender form. I raise my hand, join the club.
I’ll wake up on Tuesday and that’s the day.
(The other things pile up around it).