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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Janet And Her Series of Unfortunate Events

Some people take a few thousand bucks and spend it on lavish cruises and extravagant, but relaxing day trips.

Then there are others of us who have to use a few thousand to do things like get wisdom teeth pulled and fix a car after a fender bender.

But let me start where all stories should start; at the beginning.

I went to the oral surgeon after the twice "filled" cavity in my wisdom tooth was still causing me pain. After a highly scientific panoramic x-ray my worst fears were confirmed, the damage had most likely gone to the root, the most reasonable solution being to pull the tooth.

Now I had prepared myself for this, so I began my heavy duty round of questions:

1. Doesn't it make more sense to get all 4 pulled at once instead of just the one considering my age and that they might bother me someday anyhow?
2. Should I be concerned that my mouth barely opens large enough for general practioners when saying ahh?
3. Will my TMJ be made worse, better, or none of the above by this procedure?
4. Don't I have to get my mouth guard refitted after this considering I'd have 4 less teeth?

The questions went on from there, but I won't bore you. As far as the answers were concerned I found I got some bland, non committal, anything is possible type responses, but only one that really mattered: It might make the TMJ better, it might make it worse. It might be a temporary thing or it may be permanent.

So I did what any rationale human being who really had no other options would do; I scheduled the surgery and went home, crying.

I can deal with pain. Pain and I have been long time friends now or at least, worthy adversaries. But permanent, pain backing a bag and moving in type pain? That idea is just too scary for words, not to mention a painful recovery + the class I have now = a mental breakdown for Janet. The only saving grace being I scheduled my surgery for the week I am off from school in November. Sure, nobody likes spending their time off in a Percocet induced daze, well maybe Robert Downey Jr types but other than that, no. But it's better than instead of taking time off and still dealing with the pressure of what I missed since anyone who has ever known a teacher knows, in many ways, it is actually more worse to be out then in.

But still I didn't feel completely reassured by the oral surgeon I met. I guess it was his middle of the road attitude, no matter how accurate. That and the fact that I got to wondering just how many of these procedures he had done considering he didn't look much older than me.

After talking with my friend who just got the procedure done over the summer, she whole heartedly suggested I go back again and meet with the surgeon who started the practice because that is who she had and she felt completely at ease. I also called my dentist to confirm I was doing the right thing and the receptionist there innocently referred to the same doctor. In my book good recommendations are better than no recommendations at all. So I went ahead and booked another appointment, still over a week away, but still before my surgery.

Just when I got through the pain this procedure would do to my teeth and my pocketbook, Tuesday went and happened.

I was leaving school just like I do everyday, although sometimes I wonder why I even bother considering I'm there again before I know it. At the end of the street where my school is there is a turn. Traffic comes at you from the left and from the right. There is no light there, just a stop sign. So because it is a city, getting out of that turn has always given me the heebie jeebies. But I do it. I do it every day, successfully I might add, even when people behind me are honking their horns to just go already.

But just like with most cities, they are cluttered with people who follow their own set of rules while driving. The city where I work is no exception. I looked to the left, I looked to the right, I even looked back again.

And I went.

I made the turn and right. as. I. turned. left. I felt impact.

I still didn't see a car at this point.

So I pulled over and the car that I hit/hit me, who knows pulled over behind me. A hot headed Latina a la a young Rosie Perez got out of the car and started yelling, in English. At this point, I'm still in shock. The damage to both cars is minor, though mine is even more minor because I have the bigger car. The good news is we are both alive and neither one of us is hurt. This is probably because I couldn't have been going more than 5 miles an hour since all I did was turn.

As for her situation, my guess is this: She turned out of one of the many side streets in the town and therefore technically was going straight for like 5 seconds when the accident occurred. That or she was going straight and accelerated, not expecting me to turn and then not having enough time to slow down. Regardless one thing was clear: I wasn't getting any information out of this woman and I didn't want to fight with her. already told you. I'm a lover, not a fighter.

So finally a cop arrives on the scene. By this point she's playing the "I don't speak English too well" card which is BULL you know what considering she conversed with me just fine. The cop takes her statement, only problem is he takes it in Spanish, so I have no idea what she says.

Soon after this her boyfriend shows up but lucky for me, a teacher from my school has pulled over and waited with me by this point too. Neither one of them were witnesses to the accident, however, I do work in a town where everybody is everybody's cousin, so chances of "witnesses" popping up later on are not impossible.

My co-worker kept me calm and had been living in the town for many years up until recently so said she could make a few calls if need be. But in the heat of the moment, which is all that matters, it was my word against hers and I stuck by my word. I didn't see her and I felt impact. I didn't even care if it seemed incriminating. It was the truth and I was sticking with it.

Now any sort of accident is always upsetting on many levels, but this particular accident was very upsetting to me considering the timing and my history in the year 2005. If you recall I got my first ever speeding ticket which I paid and got no points. Then I had my first ever accident which was because of mother nature and again, there was points, just a brand new car after my old one was totaled.

Some would look at these cases and call me cursed. Other would call me lucky.

So the third time's the charm right?

The kicker is I really am an "excellent driver". If anything, I'm actually overly cautious since I was afraid to drive, period for so many years. But you probably don't believe that, and it's ok. I don't know if I would if I were you either.

But back to the loose ends of my story. Just as I feared, the cop came back and gave me a ticket. Why? Because I was turning. And that's when I lost it and cried. Not because of the little bit of damage that I'm sure won't cost that little of a bit. Not because I had ran into an angry J-Lo. Not because of embarrassment.

Because I got a ticket.

Yet I had what had to be one of the greenest or most decent cops ever because he saw me crying and I swear, I thought he was going to cry himself. He kept begging me not to cry, telling me that it's happened to him, that he's gotten tickets and had accidents and that it's all part of life. Okkk. Meanwhile my coworker was going off about the I'm Spanish! I'm English! I'm Spanish! testimonial that just took place. Neither of it was here or there. All that mattered was I got a ticket and I doubt I'll be lucky a third time.

Now this cop insisted that he would help me. He told me over and over I would get no points. He circled the number on the back of the ticket, told me to plead not guilty and that he would be there for me and luckily my coworker can attest to this. I don't know if he was just kind or realized I was a teacher and working for the town, just like him. Either way, it made me feel a little better, till I thought about it some more.

I understand that if all goes well I'll have no points, but I still have a ticket, which means I'll still have insurance points considering I got a ticket and she devil didn't. And unless they can reverse that in the courtroom, I'm screwed.

Unless of course I develop lockjaw from getting my teeth out and they just end up having pity on me. I'm always one for looking on the brightside.



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