While I was lying in the dentist’s chair, though, a number of things crossed my mind.
Firstly, isn't it extraordinary, what we humans do to ourselves? I imagined an intelligent animal looking down at me as I lay in an electrically driven reclining chair, whilst two people (the dentist and his assistant) had their hands inside my mouth. "What on earth is going on?” they would wonder. Then the dentist starts poking metal tools in around my mouth, calling out to his assistant some coded language only they can understand, "Upper left molars two". Baffling, I guess.
The second thing though was this. I can't help but feel a little nervous when in the dentist's waiting room. I don't know why, but I always have, as long as I can remember. Once I'm reclined in the dental chair, it's amazing the things that I try to think of to relax myself.
I imagine I'm playing cricket or in a summer meadow listening to Julee Cruise. You know, the real sort of relaxing things that human are meant to think of in those sorts of situations. None seem to work that well. It's only when I start to think of individual parts of my body that are tense, like my neck or stomach, that I can relax those actual muscles. My stomach wall seems to be the favoured area. I can feel how tight those muscles are but, with a little effort, I can think about them becoming more relaxed - and hey, presto, they do.
Of course, after a few minutes of this, I've forgotten where I am and become more relaxed anyway. It's usually then that I realise that the dentist has been asking me if I prefer mint or orange flavoured paste and I've been oblivious to his questions!