There follows a guest post by Daily Sceptic reader Julie Sandliands, who was inspired by our recent post on spreading a little scepticism to write about her recent visit to the Covid time warp that is her local dentist. If other readers have more stories of spreading their scepticism amongst unsuspecting Covidians, email us here.
I try to be nice. I really do. When approached by a mask-wearing individual, jumping into a busy road in an attempt to keep a sensible social distance, I fight the eyeball rolling, tutting and shaking of head urges. I tend to look in the opposite direction whilst reverse counting from five to one. Mostly this tactic not only saves the other individual from my irritation, but also keeps my stress at a healthy level. Yes, your mask doesn’t protect me from either respiratory viruses or a decline in mental health.
However, it was an emergency visit to the dentist that tested my patience and even reverse-counting, repeatedly, had absolutely no effect.
A nasty abscess on a back upper tooth was causing some discomfort. However, it was a beautiful sunny spring morning, and despite looking like a lopsided hamster, all was well with the world.
As I walked into the reception area, two masked receptionists looked up from their screens:
Receptionist 1: You can’t just come in here.
Me, smiling: Good morning… Why not?
Receptionist 2: It’s to keep everybody safe.
Me, looking around: Safe from what?
Receptionist 2: Covid. It’s the rules.
Me looking around again: But there’s no one here apart from us!
Receptionist 2: It doesn’t matter, and you need to wear a mask.
Me: Sorry, I’m unable to wear a mask… Erm, so what should I have done, you know, to speak to you?
Receptionist 2: You should’ve waited outside and we’d have come and got you.
Me: But how would you know I’m outside to come and get me?
Receptionist 1, incredulous: You come in and tell us you’re here!
Me: Ah, I see. Do you want me to do that now or are you happy that I am here and would like to make an emergency appointment?
I returned that afternoon at 2pm, determined to be a nice person. I followed the instructions I had been given that morning; I went into the spacious, well-ventilated reception area and told the two masked receptionists I had arrived. I then went back outside and sat on one of the two plastic chairs in a narrow hallway. A couple of minutes later one of the receptionists appeared wearing: a mask, a visor, a plastic pinny and a pair of royal blue plastic gloves.
Receptionist: Do you have any symptoms?
Me, tapping my ear whilst cocking my head to one side: I’m sorry I can’t hear you.
Receptionist, much louder: Do you have any symptoms?
Me: Yes, I am in a lot of pain and the left-hand-side of my face is swollen.
Receptionist, even louder: No, do you have any Covid symptoms?
Me, slightly irritated and at the same volume: No, and I wouldn’t be standing here if I did!
Receptionist, reduced volume: Could you use the hand sanitiser please?
Me: No, it’s carcinogenic and plays havoc with my atopic dermatitis, sorry eczema…
Receptionist, handing me a blue surgical mask: Can you put this on?
Receptionist, irritated: Ah, you like being a rebel, do you?
Me: That’s an interesting choice of word, “rebel”. Do you mean like the harmless rebel student who never wears a school tie?
Receptionist, retracting the mask but at the same time raising her right hand, grasping a forehead thermometer gun: I’m going to take your temperature.
Me, huge sigh: I wouldn’t bother, I’m having a hot flush. Damned menopause!
Not another word was uttered. Twenty minutes later, tooth extracted and £122 poorer, I left waving cheerily at safely clad personnel, both of whom ignored my friendly gesture for yet another screen fix. Oh well, I tried. I really did! Perhaps, next time, a piece of cotton around the offending tooth tied to a door handle would be less painful for all concerned.
Five, four, three, two, one…