If you go to the dentist on a regular basis (yearly for me, mainly because I've never been able to say 'no' to them scheduling me again after another visit. That, and they take much better care of my teeth than I do) then you're familiar with a routine that they follow. Mine goes something like this:
- Sit in the chair.
- Update my contact details.
- Ask me if I've been taking care of my teeth (regular brushing, flossing).
- Take x-rays (every second year).
- Remove tartar from in-between teeth with a vengeance.
- Gargle/rinse with toothpaste-tasking liquid.
- Reschedule to do this again next year.
I've never had that fear of dentists - knowing that they're doing and how they go about it helps (if they have to remove tartar from between my teeth with a metal pointy thing because the only thing tartar will respond to is a metal pointy thing, then so be it) - and actually enjoy getting my teeth cleaned-up. It's like that feeling after a new haircut where you put your hand to the short hair at the back of your neck and push up against the grain of your hair - a feeling you only get after a new haircut. The dental equivalent is that when the gunk from between my bottom front teeth gets removed, I suddenly have a small gap between my teeth that I can feel with my tongue and spend the rest of the day just trying to see how little of my tongue I can actually squeeze between that gap.
Anyway: the clean-up I like; the asking me if I floss daily and then me having to be honest and telling them that no I haven't been flossing regularly and have been neglecting their advice for over 20 years: I don't like, mainly because it then makes me feel guilty for not listening to them and that I'm now making their job harder than it should be and that it's attitudes like mine that make up all those terrible dental hygiene statistics and blah blah blah...
(Seriously, my conscience reacts to the smallest things and has way too much say in how I live.)
I'm just glad that I only have to do this once a year, because any more often and I might just have to start avoiding my dentist. My teeth would not be happy about that.
Now, on a completely related tangent (bear with me), I go to Subway on a regular basis; much more often than my dentist, like every week. There's a routine there too, and it goes something like this:
- Ask what bread/meal you're putting together.
- Ask which cheese you want in it.
- Ask if you like your sub fresh or toasted.
- Ask what salads you'd like in your sub.
- Salt and pepper?
- Any other things? (turn it into a meal, buy cookies, etc)
- And if you swipe a SUBCARD®, ask if you've registered it online.
It's that last one that gets to me. Why? Because I haven't registered my Subcard.
The last 3 times I've been to Subway, I've been asked if I've registered my Subcard and each time I've had to say 'no' and each time I've felt slightly worse about not registering that I actually avoided Subway for a bit just so they wouldn't ask me to register.
It reminds me of the dentist, when the nurses ask if I've been flossing my teeth, because it's advice I should be taking (keeps my teeth cleaner / is really the only way to check what's on your card), and takes virtually no time at all to do (5 minutes each night? / 5 minutes once and that's it!). I can't get angry at the nurse/cashier either because it's their job to make sure I'm flossing/registering and I can't just hate someone for doing their job (unless their job is evil, of which dental nurse / Subway cashier is not).
So today, sensing I needed to eat something relatively healthy because all I've got waiting for me at home are meat and potatoes, I decided to go to Subway for lunch, but first, went online to register my Subcard. Then I went to Subway, worked my way through the sandwich-making queue, got to the end to pay for my sub, swiped my registered-only-20-minutes-ago Subcard, prepared myself to say "YES OH YES THIS CARD IS REGISTERED MWUAHAHAHAHAHA" (or something like that), and...
...didn't even get asked if I registered my Subcard.