I should not have gone so very long without a dentist's visit, and I know it. But after I went to Singapore, I had no idea what kind of dental insurance I had, or with whom, or how to go about getting it, and rather than make the minimal effort needed to solve these problems I just let it drift. And things kind of carried on like that after I got back to the United States. Finally the company I work for put the idea of a dental maintenance organization right there up front in the middle of my employee benefits package, and I signed up for it, and after a year discovered that I didn't actually have any, and we finally got that straightened out.
Thus it was that I went to my new and very temporary dentist's this morning. I had a little uncertainty in finding it, since the name of the dentist's according to the company name and web site is nowhere on the building it's in --- actually, the most prominent name on the building is for a chamber of commerce which has moved out and left behind no traces but its signage --- but they seemed to be expecting me. They'd sent me a form of new-patient information to fill out ahead of time. There were a couple points I wasn't sure about, so I left that blank and confessed my ignorance; the secretary said I didn't need to do that because they had that information in the system already, raising the question, what was the form for again, exactly? To fill out, I guess.
I was there just for a checkup, which seemed the sensible place to start, so most of my time was spent getting X-rayed. Somehow it had not occurred to me that they wouldn't be X-raying onto a medium as primitive as film anymore, although actually, they did for a 180-degree wraparound scanner thing. Mostly the spot X-rays were a process of me biting down on the thingy as hard as possible and trying to not move, while the armature holding the X-ray generator was itself wobbling.
The dentist said my teeth were in very good shape considering I hadn't been for a checkup or cleaning in a decade or so. Based on their appearance she'd have guessed I hadn't been to a dentist for about three years or so. I'm in need of a ``deep'' cleaning, which we're trying to find time to schedule for (I'd rather this be before my wedding, naturally). Unfortunately I have also a number of small cavities, mostly in-between teeth, that will need attention.
To celebrate the completion of the dental visit I reached back to my childhood tradition, and went to White Castle. While reading my book, there, a man came up and asked, ``Are you reading about the billions of dollars?'' Yeah, that look on your face now, that's the look I had. ``'Cause I was reading about the billions and billions of dollars.'' I confessed that I wasn't reading about the billions of dollars, and I was torn whether to ask what the heck he was talking about or to accept the incident as the weird thing it had been, but he quieted and I figured I could just move on.
Trivia: Max von Laue's experiments detecting the diffraction of X-rays --- proving them to be waves --- were done on exposing the rays to crystals of blue copper sulfate. Source: The Age Of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn, Louisa Gilder.
Currently Reading: A Geography Of New Jersey: The City In The Garden, Charles A Stansfield Jr.
PS: How Big Charlotte Was In 1975: Finally, an answer. Well, the second or third answer, depending on how you want to count it, but, the first answer people would take seriously, which chefmongoose gave weeks ago anyway.