Carol and I went out to breakfast at a little place in Old Town Goleta, as it is called. Crummy Town Goleta might be more apt. But it’s the kind of place only locals would patronize and the food and service isn’t bad.
Though today it was, the service I mean. And as I sat there feeling antsy, two husband and wife teams come and sit–wife facing wife, husband facing husband–catty-corner from us. They are not loud at all but the one whose face and thus mouth flap point in my direction has one of those voices that, though not loud, carries. They have just come from church I understand because the mouth flapper starts in talking about how going to church what with all that kneeling and standing up again aggravates the old vertigo.
That’s how it starts and that’s how it goes for twenty minutes. Perhaps they have not seen each other in a while because they seem to move back and forth in a verbal tennis match from a discussion of one surgery, or procedure or treatment or doctor’s visit involving eyes, ears, bowels, circulation, heart and most especially teeth. It’s like they had a check list.
And then the mouth flap one says, well, so you don’t have any feeling along here–and he moves his finger sort of down the side of his mouth and chin line–and the other guy says yes, and the mouth flap says, "Have you had any trouble eating your lips. Because people with that sometimes eat their lips without knowing it."
Something had apparently gone wrong in a dental procedure. "No," the guy said…he had not eaten his lips and it was easy not to do that because all of the teeth on the side with no feeling had been removed. So he just ate with the other side of his face and so had avoided eating his own lips.
I was pretty damn depressed when I went into that place and went out more depressed. The idea of eating your own lips and not knowing it has stuck with me the whole day.
Oh! The heart-ache and the thousand natural and, one might add, unnatural shocks/ That flesh is heir to…