Ludolf Backhuysen, Ships Running Aground In a Storm

The sea was angry that day my friends. The sky was cloudy as our president’s judgement, dark as his rule. The rain, like a million tiny silver hammers of Maxwell, came down upon my head. Life, as it has a nasty habit of doing, had intervened on behalf of misery, and served me a summons. There was nothing to be done, this trip on choppy seas had to be made.

For my safety, landlubber that I am, the captain brought me down into the hold of the ship amid a payload of instruments and devices, the purposes of which I dared not ponder. He sat me down saying, “just relax, lay back, you shouldn’t feel a thing. It will all be over before you know it.” His first mate placed a cup of water at my side and the they went about their duties, not paying me any heed.

What followed was… well unpleasant. I closed my eyes, feeling nothing so much as numb. I opened my mouth as if to yawn but no sound issued. Outside thunder did what it does best and rumbled ominously. Other noises sounded above me and my closed eyes which were less familiar and is as much perhaps even more ominous.

I heard machinery revving and spinning and a wet spluttering as though the boats motor were meeting resistance and throwing water against rocks. I heard the scraping and clinking of unknown devices being put to use, and the voices of the crew, calling out in the lingo of their kind, the meanings impenetrable to such as I. I’d swear I could feel the heat of these unknown machines on me as though they were a millimeter from my face. I found it hard to swallow. The burning smell of motors and hot friction was inescapable. I promised myself I’d take whatever precautions needed to avoid trips like this in the future.

Jan Porcellis, Shipping In Stormy seas

Suddenly everything seemed to stop. No more sounds; no more fury. I opened my eyes. As if on cue the captain reappeared, saying, “Pick up that cup of water and use it son! Then get up out of that chair and come with me. It’s all over.” And indeed it was.

As it turns out while I was down in the hold the storm had blown over. I walked out onto the upper decks to find bright clear skies. We’d docked and my leg of this blasted trip was at an end. The captain handed me my writs of passage, informed me the price of the voyage had been taken care of (miracle of miracles!), and simply bid me farewell, as though it were just another day at the office for him, which I guess it was. I disembarked from the ship and headed out into a gloriously warm and sunny day, my trial at sea over.

All of which is to simply to say:

It was pouring this afternoon here in New York, and I had the misfortune of being obliged to head down to my local dentist, in the pissing rain, to have two, counte em’, two root canals. Not a fun scenario. But as it turns out when it was all over and I left the office the rain had stopped, giving way to a gorgeous sunny day. I had a scrip for some heavy pain-killers in hand and a stroll through a glistening Central Park in front of me. So it ain’t all bad!

Oh wait, I spoke too soon. It’s pouring again, worse than before. And the Novocain is wearing off… I think I’m about to have a flashback…

Gerrit van Honthorst, The Dentist

yeesh. For more on the trials and tribulations of dentistry see this previous post pulling teeth.

05.19. filed under: life. personal.