Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Well, thank goodness for flexible spending accounts

I went to the dentist today because I had a broken tooth. Now I have a temporary crown, a permanent one on order, and I went ahead and paid the estimated $350 for my part of the bill. Two years ago I had two of them; the year before that, one. So I have some expensive hardware in my mouth. The oral surgeons from a couple of years ago wanted me to get implants; I laughed. Yes, I have dental insurance, but I don't think I can absorb the costs of implants. Still, better to get dental care while I still have a job....

They were having a little trouble getting me numb with one round of shots, so they gave me a second set. I am now quite numb, even an hour after leaving them. I walked down to the library (where I found a couple of Friends of the Library store books for $2 each. Appropriately, one was The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which I just watched, and the other is Julie and Julia (yeah, still have that out from Netflix)). Then I went over to Zaxby's. I don't eat chicken, but they have cheese bites that aren't cooked in the chicken grease. I got some of those and a drink. One, it is hard to masticate completely when your mouth is numb all over. I couldn't really taste the food. Two, it's even worse trying to drink out of a straw. I just choked because I couldn't judge how much suction was needed. But I'm afraid that if I try without the straw, it will end up in one big drool puddle on my shirt.

One thing about being a paedestrian is that you notice things other people don't, the people who just drive by in their little self-contained worlds. Today at work there were thousands of bugs making circles above the grass. They were June bugs (Cotinis nitida). I don't know if that's a mating thing, or if that's how they find food, or what--probably the former. But whatever they were doing, they were doing it with all their might.

Tuesday something a little strange happened. I was on my way to the bus stop and there was this man dressed for work carrying around a small stick going up and down the bushes, looking intently. Turns out he had found a snake, a very tiny garter snake that was quite unhappy with being poked with by a stick. He told me that he was afraid of snakes. I pointed out that it was pretty much harmless, so long as you didn't irritate it too badly, and even if it bit him it wasn't poisonous or anything. You'd have think he'd just leave it alone, and I told him he should, as it wasn't bothering anything and anyhow they're beneficial about keeping away pests. But he was poking it with the stick. I had to go on to the bus stop. I do hope he didn't kill the poor thing. The snake was maybe a foot or so long and just a half inch around. It wasn't hurting anybody. It was just being a snake, a snake that was desperately trying to get away from the crazy man hunting it down with his pokey stick. I really just don't understand people. I have a friend who's afraid of snakes. If he'd seen it, he would have screamed like a little girl and run away from it. The last thing he would have done was poked it with a stick. That's a proper (although somewhat unmanly) way to respond. But I guess there are those people who will attack anything they fear, and they can be scary, especially when it comes to when what they fear are people they perceive as different.

See, walking around a lot gives you food for thought, too.

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