I just got back from a visit to the dentist. What a difference half a year makes.
My last visit to the dentist was in August 2020. It was, in a word, tense. Not that a visit to the dentist is a bucket of laughs in the best of times. But half a year ago, everything was strictly business and focused on minimizing exposure. They were providing a necessary service under personally risky circumstances, and that definitely set the tone.
The absolute level of risk was tiny (for me, at least). But I don’t think anyone involved was particularly happy to be there.
This morning I gritted my teeth and set off for what I assumed would be another grim-but-necessary dental experience.
Wrong. The same physical protections were in place. The demeanor of the place was completely different. People bustling around. Receptionist cracking jokes.
Take away the pandemic paraphernalia, and I wouldn’t have known that anything was amiss with the world. And ultimately, none of physical detritus of the pandemic — the masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, signage, and so on — mattered. The people were back to normal, even if the surroundings weren’t.
I couldn’t quite make head-or-tail of it until I chatted with the dentist at the end of my visit. Everybody in that office is fully vaccinated. Physically, they were still doing it by the pandemic book. Mentally, near as I could tell, there were over it.
I can’t recall ever having been cheered up by a visit to the dentist. So I thought I’d pass that along.