It was my brother's 30th birthday and we were discussing aches and pains in a restaurant in Barcelona.
“I went to a chiropractor the other day and he said I’d need to see him for 6 months," my brother said. "When I said ‘no’ he messed my back up out of spite.”
“They don’t recognize it as a treatment here in Spain,” his girlfriend said.
“It hurts every morning now,” my brother said. “I was fine before, I only went because I thought it was good for you.”
The waitress came over and my brother’s vegetarian girlfriend asked if the rigatoni a la putanesca contained meat.
The waitress shook her head, “No…only bacon”
We exchanged baffled looks. Only in Spain, we all thought. His girlfriend chose a salad instead and the topic moved onto dentists.
On my last visit the dentist had said there was decay under my fillings and I’d need to replace them.
I had one nice white filling and one nasty grey filling. To spread the cost I decided to have one done now and one later.
By the time I realized he’d chosen to replace the nice white filling instead of the more obvious antique grey one, he was already poking metal instruments in my mouth and I couldn’t talk.
“When will I need to do the other one?” I’d asked, once he’d finished.
“Soon,” he’d said. “The other filling is worse than the one I’ve just done.”
The table shared my frustration and we all ‘grrrd’ in unison.
“Well when we went to the dentist he told us we had to sleep with special gum guards on,” my brother’s girlfriend said. “Apparently we grind our teeth in our sleep.”
“Can you imagine how sexy that’d be drooling everywhere when we said goodnight to eachother?” my brother said and he pretended he had the gum guards on as he leant over to his girlfriend, “Goo’ ni’ daaa’ ing”
“Goo’ niii’” she mock spluttered back.
My cousin then recounted the time when her dentist had recorded her oral problems into his dictorphone as she sat in the chair beside him.
“The teeth will return to their position after two years,” he’d said, “as the patient has a GINORMOUS tongue.”
To make it worse, an osteopath had then told her that her head was too big for her neck.
“But that’s ridiculous, what are you supposed to do about that?” I cried.
“Take steroids,” my husband said, “to get a body builder’s neck.”
My husband’s own dentist had told him when he was little, that he would need a chin implant when he got older.
“Not that I might need a chin plant, that I would have to have one.”
My husband’s chin is just as a chin should be.
“The problem is we don’t know any better!” I said. “We don’t know when they’re right or wrong.”
The rigatoni a la putanesca arrived.
At least in food we could make a correct diagnosis.
My husband looked at it with great disappointment.
The plate of pasta twirls was covered in pesto and grated Parmesan; there was no rigatoni, no putanesca and not a bit of bacon in sight.