Sparking White Russians, ActuallyPosted: 29/06/2007
So if you think I haven’t suffered enough recently, you will be relieved to hear that an entire tooth has fallen out. Turns out my lower right molar wasn’t a big fan of radiotherapy and hospital visits and made a bid for freedom by decaying it’s roots. Lovely. So during my last hospital stay it fell out of my face in an impressive manner.
I spent yesterday afternoon getting it checked out at my local dentists who happen to be russian. They are lovely and competent but their english is not much better than my russian (or my regional Urdu for that matter) The first challenge is getting my name across to the receptionist. I can usually spell out my first name in a few minutes, but the fun (and time commitment) really starts with my surname. It works like this:
- I say a letter as clearly as I can and she says a different and seemingly random one back. Sometimes they are not exactly letters but randomized vowel and consonant sounds. I try to work out the relationship between my letter and hers, but without Alan Turing and a series of computers, I can’t crack it.
- I say “no” and return to 1) until after a few tries we come to some sort of vague compromise and move on to the next letter.
- This game of verbal ping-pong continues for a few months untill I feel we might have reached the end of my name.
- She reads the written name back to me and– it just sounds like a cross between an icelandic science-fiction superhero and a bad Scrabble hand: Nmaryqetdarz
- So we start at 1) again and repeat the process until we both give up and she just draws a picture of me and puts it in the ‘file’
Now the dentist herself and I can communicate a little better but she has an absolutely amazing verbal habit of inserting the word “actually” in place of any form of punctuation, any word she doesn’t know or as a general substitute for breathing. It it quite remarkable and goes something like this:
“So what we will do actually is actually drill a post actually in your gum actually and put a crown actually on top actually and do you pay for your treatment actually?”
I am not exaggerating, please go there and see for yourself.
Anyway it will take ages to fix my tooth so I will be leaning to the left eating-wise for the next few weeks.
Talk to you later, actually!