I’m supposed to be playing in two Scrabble tournaments here in Danville, Illinois. My husband is running the tournaments for Readers’ Route, a literacy organization out of Danville Community College—it’s a charitable event, but because I had a tooth extracted yesterday and it still really hurts today, I’m not feeling very charitable. So I didn’t play. Tomorrow is another (Scrabble) day.
I spent the day in bed, thanking God for Vicodin and watching the new Mildred Pierce mini-series in its entirety on HBO. Kate Winslett makes a great Mildred Pierce. She’s beautiful but not stunning, at least not in this movie. Winslett allows the camera to focus on her heavy-ish calves and a neck not elongated by low-cut dresses—her wardrobe is elegant and visually interesting, but not always flattering. All of which makes her the more sympathetic as Mildred. The shock on her face when she finds her new husband in bed with her ungrateful daughter is almost unbearable to watch. Yesterday at the hotel, post tooth-extraction, I watched When Harry Met Sally and was reminded what a not-so-great actress Meg Ryan is. She was fine in the funny scenes, but overacted in all of the others. The movie was what I needed yesterday—funny writing, adorable Billy Crystal—just as Mildred Pierce is what I needed today.
That and Vicodin, which is great but will mess up your mind. The simplest tasks—turning on a hotel shower, for example—are both much more complex and much more fun with Vicodin. And I found myself knitting backwards, if that’s even possible, and then reknitting what I had knitted backwards, all the while smiling to myself. When the Vicodin wore off, though, I had one of those dramatic Mildred Pierce realizations, only with teeth. I realized that having a tooth extracted is like the reverse of plastic surgery—nothing makes you look older. Looking in the mirror, I saw a drunken chipmunk staring back, a pathetic, old, drunken chipmunk. And I don’t drink anymore.
I try to console myself: the hole where my tooth was will be filled, the pink flush will leave my face, and I’ll soon be able to manipulate complex machinery like shower faucets.