Day 362 | the day starts well: but later I stop my smiling

Esperance Day 64

Sitting in the kitchen this morning, swilling coffee and eating toast with Vegemite, a travelling couple in their twenties, tall, (they might be Germans), comes in.

I spotted them earlier in their Wicked camper van, one of thousands. The slogans painted on the side of the van, (the backpackers of old current favourite mode of transport), was a surprisingly inoffensive ‘Real men cry’ but I notice the words on the back have brown packaging tape plastered over them, these are often either offensive or obscene, or both, and can be discomforting to even the Anything Goes generation. (Occasionally they can be funny but usually they are along the crass and unfunny lines of “Two things smell like fish … and one of them is fish”, or, “I’m not a gynecologist but I’ll look into it”.)

I say my usual Howdee but they ignore me and prepare brekkie. They face each other, faces quite close, looking at each other, but say nothing. It’s silent. It’s a little awkward. They are not smiling. They sit that way for 20 minutes, munching away like cows before silently filing out. I wonder how they are going to fill in the long drive across the Nullabor but maybe they’ve already come that way and have just exhausted a lifetime’s conversation in that landscape vacancy.

But I’m smiling. I’m in happytown Esperance for the summer. The weather is perking up and so am I.

I’m heading to the dentist, finally a tooth is going and I’ve found that self administration of my pliers to the task is as hard as it sounds. The tooth has been an issue even before the second, failed, $1200 root canal over a year ago. It’s a long story but after I heard that having a chronic tooth problem can cause severe health issues through your whole body finally worked up the courage to undertake the deed. What is it that makes dentists think they should be entitled to $700 an hour to drill and fill? Everyone else has a shitty job as well. I state my case, rip her out, and then there’s a lot of fluffing about. The Xray showed a pretty extensive infection and the dental nurse holding my head down shuddered when it was wrenched out.

That’s my first dental absence on my way to resemble my mate Klaus the cameleer with whom I talked near Kununurra back on Day 207. Yikes!!

When the bill was presented, $225 for the padded out 15 minutes work, most of it waiting for the anaesthetic to work, I completely lost my smile.