Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wow, today sucks (spoilers for The Road)

My mouth has been hurting for the last week.

I had a cleaning at my excellent dentist last week and the pain started the day after. I went in and he found a small infection on the gumline on the lower left side of my mouth. He put me on anti-biotics, nuff said.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up to a screaming pain in my jaw that was much more than a simple infection. Monday afternoon I found out that one of my molars had done gone bad and I needed a root canal. Today I experienced my first root canal.

The procedure itself was not that bad. The doctor in Santa Rosa was terrific (it was an endodontist, not a dentist that did it), the staff was helpful, and my insurance will cover the situation just fine. It was later in the afternoon, when the numbness went away, did the soreness really set in. My mouth doesn't really hurt as much as it is simply really sore. I'm pumping the 600 mg ibuprofen every few hours, but all in all the pain sucks. I do know that it is getting better though because I'm now only sore around the tooth, not the whole damn jaw line. What's worse, I still need a permanent filling and a crown on the damn thing so it doesn't break. Back to the drill I go.

The second thing that I did today is read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Yes, I read it today. The book is a very simple read, and took me about four hours to complete with minimal interruptions. It is a good summer reading book in that you can finish in a few days and then discuss it will all the other women who will think you are wonderful for reading an Oprah Book Club selection. I read it because I really enjoy stories about the end of the world. Yep, I'm a fan of the "Apocalyptic Horror" novels that are stories of dread, and then human survival. In 6th grade I read Alas Babylon, a story about a family in Florida that lives through a nuclear attack, and then continued to read stories that saw the end of human civilization; The Stand, On the Beach, Fail-Safe, Warday, and my grand dame, Bangs and Whimpers.

The Road is less about post-apocalyptic survival as it is a story about a father and a son. Both are trying to get to the coast of the United States from some unnamed inland location, while battling the cannibals, starvation, and the memories of all that they have seen in their trek. McCarthy is a very good at portraying the scene, and all that is felt within any given situation. While an easy read, you might find yourself drifting off trying to figure out why a character did this or that during the story. About the only thing that is for sure is the love of the father and the son for each other. Still, the book is a total downer with only slight signs of hope. Some scenes are downright disturbing and much of the book has the tone of a person that is about to be executed for the crime of living during a nuclear winter. You just know that one or both are going to die because that's the tone that the book sets. When the father starts coughing up blood about 60% into the book, you know he's done eventually.

I read it, and then I'm sending it to the used bookstore. Although I'm into apocalyptic fiction, I'm looking for the struggle much more than the certain fate. It might seem simple to really like happier endings, but my opinion is that this isn't much of a story as it is a picture of normal life during a nuclear winter, and "maybe normal" at that. I don't see humanity becoming the "commune" versus the "cannibals" if the government went into the tank, or becoming so vicious that it looses all sense of reason. The book, although well written, was depressing and will not stay on my shelves.

The good news is that thanks to my root canal and The Road, it can only get better tomorrow.
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