Disaster Fret

I am a disaster.

I am sitting in the car I hate outside a stranger’s house on the verge of being late for a writing workshop. Somewhere, amidst the sandy detritus from yesterday’s beach visit, there is a veneer that fell from the empty prescription bottle into which I had stuffed it so that I could get to this lovely home on time.

I am a disaster.

My husband serenaded me with the theme from Deliverance  – which he hummed, off key of course… romantic, I know — as I scurried about collecting what I’d need for today.  Now, our daughter knows the tune too. The gifts just keep on giving.


Because I have big, horsey teeth – my husband also knows how to sweet talk me doesn’t he? And, one of the fake ones has fallen – and I can’t get it back up … into my mouth so that when I walk into this room of nine ‘writerly’ strangers I won’t be self-conscious. What could go wrong as I introduce my ostensibly erudite self to a bunch of literate strangers… looking like a Hillbilly.

“Mom, it’s a writing workshop.  How much smiling do you think you’ll be doing anyway?”  And you wonder why I fret over my daughter’s academic future?

You’d think a white tooth would be easy to find on black leather. You’d be wrong.

I have assumed every awkward position possible to search for my cap and was rewarded by finding it in the cup holder, where logic should’ve told me to look first.

I am a gap-toothed disaster – and a stone cold sober one at that…  despite what passers by might have suspected if any had seen me searching my car moments ago.

I’m an Angeleno, so naturally assume that everything and anything can be done in one’s car. Even if that vehicle is a three-year-old SUV that has broken down twice in the past month. Thus, I pour the liquid from the tube I just bought at the nearby drugstore – in the ‘Oral Care’ section… don’t know why supplies for dentures being found in oral care strikes me as funny but it does — into the hole in the cap.  The liquid is not at all viscous.  I bought the wrong stuff – I should’ve just gotten the more expensive larger-than-I’ll-ever-need, premixed tube.

I should read labels more carefully.  I should do so many things more carefully and better. My daughter sometimes catches the nut warnings on labels that I miss.  The guilt. “Fixodent and Forget It” runs on a hellish loop in my head.

I am a disaster who bought the wrong denture product.  For the record, that is not a sentence I ever expected to type; ‘denture’ was not supposed to be in my vernacular.

I am chatty and smile widely showing my teeth. But not today because I didn’t buy Fixodent and now can’t forget it – either the jingle or the fact.  I am commenting on other people’s work while trying to keep my upper lip stiff … so that it covers the Deliverance-worthy gap in my teeth.

My face is puffy from the copious food I’ve shoved into it due to the course of steroids set to end tomorrow.  Prednisone, every asthmatic’s fren-emy – soothes irritated bronchioles while making you crazy and ravenous.

Who is the disaster staring back at me in the powder room mirror in Glendale?  Is it me? Or, is that a reflection of a marshmallow-like person off the Cahulawassee River?

It’s my turn to share what I’ve written.  I read it, and then did so again – while trying not to show my teeth. Is the woman on my right staring into the abyss that should be my right Canine tooth or can she hear the words of my ‘Blog Manifesto’?

I am a disaster – but I can still think and opine.  And others can apparently hear my prose through my clenched lips; the comments are complimentary and constructive. Our teacher says I sound ‘authoritative’

Sure, I’m authoritative, as full of gravitas as the Pillsbury Doughboy’s grandmother.

But through the gap, the bloat and the lower third of self-doubt that dances across my screen when I write, 
I am heard.  And really, isn’t that the point of a writing workshop? To create strings of words that convey truths of whatever import or size that connect us with each other.


I tell my daughter that she is beautiful but that it doesn’t matter because I want her to wear her self-confidence like a comfortable summer t-shirt not like a pair of Spanx.  Now, I try to parent myself and open my mouth literally so that the power of the words on the screen can come out like they would… in the backwoods of Georgia.

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