Man vs Teeth

“That’ll be £204 sir”

Hideous. But I’d pay it again in a heartbeat.

My flight to The Isle of Man is at lunchtime. There is a sudden break in one of my molars. Night-time grinding of teeth. A bit snapped off right by the tongue root. Ow. Seriously. Ow. The tongue is a strong muscle.  The break is sharp. Every swallow forces the side of my tongue into the jagged fangs of the toothcrack. Sleeping is fitful, and punctuated with painful wake-ups when I swallow. Eating, I discovered, was to be avoided entirely. I considered painkillers, but in this case the pain is doing what pain is supposed to do. It’s warning me. “You’re shredding your tongue! Stop it!” I’d sooner sleep badly and not eat for a bit but keep my tongue intact than dose up on codeine, lose track of it, eat steak or dream of eating steak and wake up with a mouth full of my own blood and half my tongue grated off by a rogue tooth.

Mouth pain is hard to think past. It’s so close to the brain.

Problem is I only had about two hours in the morning to find an emergency dentist before I had to get myself off to Gatwick Airport and fly. I’m heading to the Isle of Man, where I’m going to have to do some filming that involves talking to people. Talking to people involves using my tongue. Using my tongue involves pain… It might come across as an interesting character choice, to lisp through the shoot occasionally wincing for no clear reason. But better to have it fixed so I have the option of doing the lines some other way if I’d prefer. Problem is, half an hour of dentistry at short notice is never going to be cheap in easy distance from my flat. But £204? Good God. Still. I’m out of pain now apart from the damage on the side and root of my tongue.

I’m flying to The Isle of Man on someone else’s ticket. He’s filming a short out there. A friend of a friend. “My actor mate grew up on the island” led to someone phoning me from the island, which led to a short notice offer of a flight over here. I’ve got no checked luggage, but I might buy a bagspace for the way home as I have a couple of things out there that I’d like to have over here instead.


Now I’ve been checked into a windy guestroom overlooking the sea in Peel. I just went for dinner with the director. He’s a good guy, trying to make something in an island devoid of artists. Once again I feel that pang I felt a couple of years ago when I came over here and looked at setting up a company and realised I’d have to BE the scene. There is none. It’s tempting, but time consuming.

There was the brief possibility of a film industry here back in Waking Ned days. There’s the infrastructure to make stuff here. There fuckloads of accommodation empty but for one week of the year. The tax breaks are not what they used to be though which is why the focus shifted. Most of the artists just leave.

I’m the first guest signed into the guesthouse this month, but as a result they’ve very kindly upgraded me. My room is beautiful. The wind is coming in hard from the sea and the rain is up. Home weather! It’s only half seven. I’m going for a stroll down the seafront in the tempest. Then … beauty sleep without tongue grating.

Nice to see the windy island again. To briefly drive the old roads. To say hello to the fairies. It was only halfway through dinner that someone tells me “You know I’m a dentist, right? You should’ve told me. I’ve got a clinic in Peel.” Arse.

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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