So last night Reine (favorite daughter) and I went to BAM to pick up the tickets for Ethel’s DOCUMERICA and then we realized the show started at 7:30 instead of 7 which meant we had time to get something to eat. Reine led us to La Caye which I thought was Jamaican the entire time we were there (not entirely idiotically, because Reine did allude to the prevalence of Jamaica/West Indian cuisine in Fort Greene, so I just inferred…), but I should have realized it was Haitian because the menu was in French. Since we only had about 30 minutes we ordered a salad (it had beets, but I was wearing a black dress so it seemed safe to eat beets, which it would not have been had I been wearing anything white) and Shiktay(cod fish mixed with onions, peppers, garlic and parsley - served with French bread) to share. The Shiktay was tasty, but early on I realized that shreds of codfish were becoming lodged in my teeth and that my teeth had a vice-like hold on shreds of this Shiktay. In fact, I have never known a vice to hold on so tightly or to so persistently resist dislodgment, as did my teeth last night. Still, we finished most of the food, tossed back our glasses of Pinot Noir, and then headed back to BAM where I went straight to the ladies’ room in order to floss. I proudly pulled from my purse a credit card sized FLOSSCARD® Compliments of Irwin Miller, Donald Salomon & Joseph Esposito, DMDs & DDSs, my dentists. Although Miller has been retired for at least three years now and plays golf in Arizona full time. I figure that the two remaining partners kept his name on the FLOSSCARD® to be nice, or because it is cheaper than making any changes to the printing on the card, or it could just be that this FLOSSCARD® has been in my purse for several years, and hence predates Dr. Miller’s (“Miller the Driller”) retirement. Whatever the reason for Miller’s name on the FLOSSCARD®, Reine was impressed that I had this with me. She wasn’t about to waste time checking to see the names of the generous dentists, the dentists of her youth. I pulled out a length of floss for Reine, and then one for myself. She flossed and departed. I flossed and flossed, and kept flossing. I succeeded in dislodging the shred of codfish from between my upper left molars, but then – was I feeling cocky? – I proceeded to keep flossing in places where there was no lodged codfish. I tried flossing between the upper right molars, molars that are impossibly tight. So tight that the very floss got stuck between them, and then shredded. No amount of subsequent flossing could dislodge that shredded piece of floss, and in fact all attempts to dislodge floss with floss were abject failures. Because the floss on the FLOSSCARD®, while a freebie, was unwaxed, or deficiently waxed. And if I didn’t know it before, I know now that the tightness of my teeth requires HIGHLY WAXED FLOSS.
While I was fruitlessly trying to floss out the shredded floss, Lorraine F* came into the ladies' room and we greeted each other, and she even proceeded to introduce me to a friend who she said I may or may not have met at an earlier occasion at her house, and I tried to be gracious but my tongue was probing my upper right molars and the shredded floss that still dangled from between them. So I just said that I really needed to finish flossing, which was not entirely true because I am guessing (hindsight?) it was already clear, even to me, that no amount of flossing with the unwaxed floss was going to solve the situation and was probably going to make it worse. I don’t need to describe the unpleasant feelings of having stuff, anything, floss or food, jammed between two already tightly jammed together teeth. You all know that feeling, unless you are blessed with teeth sufficiently spaced apart, and then nothing I can say can possibly evoke the feeling. It is sui generis.
And also, it seemed just a bit uncanny that in less than a week I had two awkward encounters in ladies' rooms, though this one at BAM was certainly the lesser, in awkwardness. The first awkward – the most awkward – ladies’ room encounter was in a country club on Long Island, with CSB’s ex-wife, at the wedding of CSB’s son. Post-divorce civility has not been achieved with this particular ex-wife – nothing approaching it – and so there I was at my stepson’s wedding, and yet have never actually laid eyes on his mother. Had I met her in the ladies’ room at Grand Central Station prior to that wedding, I would not have known who she was. I would have been clueless when she hurled invective my way. Because she would recognize me, since she has made a point of it, and anyway I am fairly easy to find. (Even on FB:)
But I did see her at the wedding, since we sat catty-corner within ten feet of each during the ceremony, and now at least I knew what she looked like. At the wedding, at this first opportunity in years, the ex-wife clearly was disinclined to be civil to any of her former in-laws, never mind me. So later on, during the dinner & dancing portion of the evening, there I was washing my hands in the ladies’ room, and just as I turned around, CSB’s ex-wife walked in, saw me, spat out “ O F#%@ ing Christ” and marched out. That was it. In over ten years, that now qualifies as our only face-to-face encounter. For a second I considered dashing after her and saying, “This is such a happy occasion, let’s try to be friendly….” Or something similarly smarmy.
But I wasn’t wearing a bulletproof dress, and I knew the last thing she wanted was to converse with me that night; what occurred in the ladies room, stayed in the ladies’ room.
I spent the first hour of Ethel’s DOCUMERICA trying to ignore the shredded unwaxed floss that was stuck between my molars and filaments of which dangled in my mouth, and failing to ignore any of it. Meanwhile, the technological portion of the evening failed. The middle screen of the three screens for displaying the DOCUMERICA photographs went black. At first I thought this might be on purpose, but after being black for a really long time, it was clear. Midway though the program, the performers stopped, and over the loudspeaker we heard that they would try to fix the technological problem. Five minutes later we heard on the loudspeaker that the technological problems had proved intractable, and so they would continue sans visuals. Reine and I departed for her home, where she assured me I would find very WAXY FLOSS. And I did. So that problem was solved.
Some problems** are more easily solved than others. All it takes is very WAXY FLOSS.
* A friend and also host to some of our NYC bees and very gracious and most likely someone who would never floss in a public rest room.
** BAM has since fixed the technological glitch, so you can now see DOCUMERICA in all its glory.