I Think It’s Time


I wonder if normal people worry this much.

I’m standing at the mirror, staring at the gaping hole that used to be my second molar.  You can’t see really see it at all, and yet I still cover my mouth when I smile.  It’s been three days.  I’ll get used to it.

The dentist says my teeth are being worn down by acid reflux.  I feel guilty for stopping the Prilosec my doctor prescribed.  I don’t feel old enough for heartburn medicine.  The commercials always show balding overweight men belching at the dinner table.  It was just another pill to take.   I’m trying to cut back.  Maybe I can cut back on something else.

I’ve been toting around my tray of pills for a few decades now.  From Ohio to Hawaii to Japan to Kentucky and all the little trips in between. The contents have changed a bit but the hassle remains the same.  When I studied abroad in Kobe, I had to submit a Yakkan Shomei for permission to import prescription medication into Japan.  It was a huge ordeal involving documentation, long distance phone calls, and a personal visit to the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu.  (I’m lucky I lived in Hawaii at the time; the closest Consulate to me now is 300 miles away.)

I wonder if normal people worry about these things when they’re planning adventures.  Do they scrawl a list of  foreign medical terminology in their travel journal? (喘息が起こっていますよ!Do they know the regulations for bringing a CPAP machine as carry-on baggage?  (It doesn’t count toward your free baggage limit.)

Maybe normal people have normal worries.  Like, maybe the plane will crash.  (I’ve only worried about that once, when we had to make an emergency landing at Dallas/Fort Worth.  I’ve never really cared for Dallas since.)   Do they worry about losing their passport, or losing their wallet, or losing their way? (I highly recommend Japan for losing things, I’ve done all three there.)

And maybe normal people worry about the acid wearing away at their teeth, and how their speech will change when they get dentures.

And maybe normal people worry that their dream of teaching English in Japan will fall apart the way their teeth have.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Maybe I should have gone to the dentist more often.  Maybe I should have eaten better.  Maybe I shouldn’t have waited so long to pursue a teaching career.

Maybe I think too much.  I think it’s time to go.

My teaching course starts in two months.



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