“I spent half my life thinking dying was the most important thing I could do… or — at least — that dying was my most likely accomplishment. What the fuck did I care about what shape my teeth were in? Who knew, ten years ago or fifteen years ago that I’d be here ten years later or fifteen years later needing to have a tooth pulled so my jaw doesn’t get infected which will require even more surgery?”
“When You Spend 6570 Consecutive Days Wanting To Kill Yourself The Little Things Get Neglected… Like Dental Hygiene”; Me, June 13, 2007
Sometimes just the act of delaying a defeat can be a victory.
I had another tooth pulled last week. It wasn’t a surprise. This was the second time it had become infected, and even though the infection was again killed by penicillin, there was just too much damage done to the tooth. I couldn’t even close my mouth properly because the infection had pushed the tooth up just enough that chewing was difficult, and painful.
So the dentist pulled it out, and I have another giant hole in my face… and now I almost have enough holes they’ll soon be turning into ditches.
But it’s not as bad as it could have been. The tooth was originally supposed to be pulled way back in November of 2008, but once the penicillin killed the infection, and knowing I would have to lose it sooner rather than later, I decided I was going to keep it for as long as I could. Which was last week.
“When I made the decision I was actually sitting in the dentists chair, with that paper bib chained around my neck, waiting for the freezing to kick in. I kept thinking “yeah, it’s still tender, and the roots are so close to the surface there’s a definite issue with heat and cold… but fuck it, I want my tooth.”
This would have been the fourth one in less than two years, so I don’t think the dentist was entirely surprised I was rebelling. She agreed keeping it wouldn’t be a bad idea as long as it wasn’t infected or painful.”
Drawing A Line In The Enamel With A 7.2 Blood Sugar Level; December 17, 2008
So instead of four teeth pulled in two years, I managed to make it to almost four. It doesn’t sound like much, but every time I flossed that massive molar I smiled a little because I remembered making the decision to keep it, and how I felt getting out of that dentist’s chair with the same number of teeth as when I sat down.
Of course I made a video of the extraction. I made one of the last one as well, so far it has received more than 30,000 views on YouTube. I’ve taken a lot of photos in my dentists office as well. They love me. This time I managed to get the actual tooth in the video, I missed it the last time because I couldn’t feel anything.
I don’t know what happened between now and when I was a kid… because back then, when the dentists put both his hands into your mouth and jammed stainless steel pokers straight into the holes in our teeth so they could tickle our nerves, they’d barely use more anaesthetic then what’s found in the average Aspirin.
But now, somehow, we have what’s called a “No Pain Clinic”, where they juice you up until you can’t feel daylight. Seriously, is ‘anaesthetic’ just that much less expensive now?
Enjoy, it’s only a couple of minutes and any shaking comes from the Lithium, not from the dentist jerking a huge piece of bone out of my head… remember to floss at least once every day.
Anyway. So… a couple of weeks ago my mother received her income tax return and decided I needed a new bed.
Which actually sounded like a good idea because the one I’ve been using for the past six years, since I moved back here, is almost twenty years old.
The springs in the mattress had become a little sprung.
Until I inherited the twenty-year old frame, mattress and box spring, I hadn’t “owned” a bed since I was eighteen. Some of the rooming houses I lived in came furnished, for the unfurnished ones I’d find a mattress and sometimes a box spring, and just drop them on the floor.
For a little while, in Toronto, I was living in the basement of a friends place and using an inflatable mattress… until he found me a really flimsy, and very sprung mattress that I’m sure was meant for a dog. But once I figured out where the really sprung springs where it was comfortable enough to sleep on.
There have also been more than a few weeks where I had no mattress, or box spring or a frame.
But now I have an (approx.) four-foot high $880 mattress and box spring (I kept the old frame).
My old mattress was definitely falling apart, and there weren’t many white spots left. But it was disposable. If I were ever to move again, I could just chuck the fucking thing off my balcony and walk away.
Which, until I moved back here, was pretty much how I rolled. My first apartment was a rooming house in a nearby town, where we shared furniture in the common area, and for a bed I used a sleeping bag.
When I moved to Ottawa I brought a radio, a small digital alarm clock, a sports bag filled with clothes and some books. Nine years later, when I moved to Toronto, I brought the same radio, the same clock, the same books and a larger sports bag filled with clothes. When I moved back home three years later, I brought the same radio, the same clock, a computer, the same books and the same sports bag.
I’ve never had a lot of “stuff” before. When I was living in Toronto I used a cab to move, twice. Here to there, one load, all done. Now I look around and wonder how the fuck I’m ever going to get out of here. Or if, in another six months, I’ll even fit in here.
I’ve got a couch and armchair; four bookcases full of books; a dining table and four chairs; a CD rack; lamps; a long desk for the computer; a stereo; two dressers; a trunk; dishes; cutlery; two pots and two pans; curtains; three comforters; four sheets (that came with the mattress); a cat; a litter box; a garbage can; a TV; thirty photos on the walls; stuff for the baby to lay in; two oscillating fans; meat in the freezer; a recycling box; cleaning products; twelve rolls of toilet paper; three boxes of Kleenex; a bike; a calendar next to my front door; a place to put important papers hanging next to the calendar; a broom; eight cloth grocery bags; a phone; a blender and a hand mixer; a mountain bike; three clear large storage bins; a coffee table and an end table; a table for the printer and a large, red office chair on wheels.
But pretty soon, at this rate, I’ll have nowhere to wheel to… I also have a dehumidifier.
Then, just for kicks, empty four garbage bags of clothes on top of it all.
There are paths to my couch which have been totally, and permanently, cut off. I can still remember a time where there was only one path to my couch, and it was the width of my apartment. Actually, I can remember not having a couch. Just the rocking armchair I found on the street. I threw it out a month ago. I miss my chair.
I don’t know how I managed to accumulate all of this crap in just four (or so) years. But I feel like some of it has been thrown at me in an attempt to turn me into an adult… or something.
Them: “Let’s go Gabriel… we’re going to Ikea.” Me: “Why?” Them: “Because you need bookshelves.” Me: “…but I have a couple of boards and some bricks.” Them: [strange look of bewilderment] “Get in the car.”
I’m partially… maybe even mostly serious, I think people (re: my mom and girlfriend) are trying to pile enough stuff into this apartment so I won’t be able to find the door, let alone get on a bus and fuck off somewhere with my digital clock, my little stereo, a sports bag full of clothes, and some books.
All of which I still have.
And I do want to find a way out of here.
I just have to figure out what to do with all of this stuff.
In all seriousness read a book called “It Is All TooMuch” by Peter Walsh (maybe Welsh). It is a little new-agey but unlike most books/blogs/advice from friends on “stuff” it is less about taking a trip to Ikea to buy things to put your stuff in or on, and more about figuring out what you really want and need to keep.
Maybe you’re done with it? Maybe ready to stay.
Who knows. In the end? It’s just stuff. Leave it behind, and someone will take it.
I’m still not a big stuff person. I hate having things to tie me down, but then I realize that I’m building a home for the girls, and part of that is having some permanence.
A little Ikea is ok. Just don’t let it go to your head 😛
I’m sorry for your loss. I expect to be where you are dentally in another couple years…sigh. Stupid teeth.
I hate stuff, too. Perhaps an “accidental” bonfire might be the solution? 😉
I got too much stuff. Too much stuff was my method of staying alive through suicidal thoughts-feeling.
You see I have empathy for whoever would have to clean up my stuff if I was dead.
with a tad of embarassment thrown in. but you are dead? but I wouldn’t want to be remembered as a messy”horder”.
So when ever I got serious about commiting suicide I would clean up.
But cleaning up and organizing-sorting would take a week, and by then I wouldn’t feel so bad to feel the need to consider suicide.
My place started to look better, this work made me feel better about myself.
Plus I would likely feel some attachment to my junk/stuff and regret the thought of it tossed into the trash> during this I would consider the wisdom of the solution of suicide.
That’s really interesting Mark. Thanks for the comment. One of the reasons I had so little stuff for so long was because moving so often was a reaction to being depressed. Moving, for me, was almost cathartic… like a new start. I think it also became a habit after the 30th or 40th place, but after waking up from weeks of depression, or just bad vibes, getting out always acted as a caffeine jolt to my system. It got me out of the house and walking while I looked for a place, and forced me to think about stuff other than my desire to crawl back under my blankets and never come back.
Cleaning up used to be my way of coping with the after effects of long bouts of suicidal thoughts as well… weird. It’d be like waking up while already awake, seeing the mess I had created, and needing to get things cleaned up. Getting a haircut was another way of making things better… it was like making my surroundings newer made me more comfortable in them.
I do have hoarder tendencies. Until last year I had a stack of newspapers roughly four-feet high… but not the whole newspaper, the stack was made up of pages and inserts. I still collect articles and magazines. If I read something interesting in a waiting room I’ll sneak the magazine out. But now I can force myself to throw them away.
Weird… and the embarrassment thing, I used to look at how little I had and think “what am I going to leave people?”.
Thanks for everyone’s comment…
I’ve made up my mind to start getting rid of some of this stuff. I think the CD rack, the bike and some of the chairs will be first to go… we have a village-wide yard sale coming up in, I think, July.
I think I’ll start giving away my hardcovers as well.
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Moving is a grand pain in the arse! I can’t stand it! I’ve done it so many times!
I like detritus so if you want to send anything my way that you think would be good, you know where I am! No seriously! I’m not joking!
It would have to “small detritus” for postage, but I’ll take something from you nin-JAH! Yeah! I want my nin-JAH’s detritus!
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