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I woke up in a very good, albeit slightly hungover mood still reeling from last night’s events.  Today was part IV of Andria’s Dental Saga– which is the part of the story where I actually meet my dentist for the first time instead of spending more time with Erin the anxious hygienist-in-training, or the rather hilarious girl who took my x-rays last week.

My plan was, to go get the tooth re-filled, beg off of work for the afternoon citing numb face to watch Jurassic Park II and read this fascinating book The Fattening of America (about the economics of obesity– yes, I should do homework instead, yes, it’s a lot like Fast Food Nation), then shift my focus to eye doctors instead of dentists since I have a hard time reading the power-point in class. Instead I got a different tooth filled and now have yet another appointment for next Wednesday when I will be having a root canal.

Root Canal.

The two scariest words in all of dentistry are happening to me in one week.  Also, it turns out that root canals cost as much as some cars, so there goes my dinner plans for tomorrow night (sorry Joe), my tickets to The Nutcracker (sorry Culture Friend), and my plans to turn on the heat (sorry Watson and any potential visitors I may have had).

I’m feeling very “woe is me” right now, and very much like one of those hard-working folks Obama talks about just struggling to break even.  I brush my teeth at least three times a day, I chew sugar-free gum exclusively, I take a calcium supplement daily, and I’ve started flossing, I actually do everything you’re supposed to do to keep your teeth healthy and intact except visiting the dentist regularly.

I could just let it go, but then my tooth would break and eventually fall out.  I’d be the girl with two masters degrees and a missing tooth.  I have very few vanities, but I’m not going to have a gaping hole in my mouth– that’s non-negotiable.

Go to the dentist, all of you.

is something that I knew had to be, but I couldn’t quite believe could be.  I’ve been terrified that somehow, the fear would get to people and they would go with the familiar.  This morning, I got to my polling place (opened at 7am) at 6:30am– 10 minutes before anyone else with nothing to do but wonder if I was at the wrong door.  Once the signs were out, I spent 15 minutes with a factory worker, a gay man, and a black man who was voting for the first time.  I got AMERICA without even trying, and we all seemed to be of like minds, and we were all ready to wait in line for however long it took to make our feelings known.

I remember, growing up, knowing my parents voted straight party (Republican). I knew the candidate that they really wanted to win had been knocked out early, and they were just voting for the lesser of two evils.  They did it again this election, I’m sure.  I remember four years ago, doing the same thing.  It doesn’t seem to matter to them that both of their children have been on public assistance that their party opposes, or that a college education doesn’t guarantee a good job the way it did when they were starting out.

Even when my father was in the North Dakota State Legislature–the only state that still has a law banning co-habitation between males and females on the books–he couldn’t remember how he personally voted on that piece of legislation, even though one of his two children (me) lived with her boyfriend at the time.  Holding elected public office had been a dream of my father’s for most of his and my life, by this point, but once he got what he wanted, he seemed to lose interest.

I went to school in England immediately after Bush was elected, and never brought up politics with the locals.  As a result of my accent, I only talked politics with the locals, and they had very little to say that was kind.  My protests that I hadn’t actually voted for Bush or that most Americans hadn’t voted for Bush, carried no weight.  The Brits drank Budweiser and smoked Marlboros and told me that America was doomed– before 9-11.

This time, the election really means something.

I’m both ecstatic and terrified by this victory because it’s what I really want. There’s nowhere else to assign blame.  I feel like if Obama fails, or disappoints me, he’ll really be disappointing ME.  I feel like if this administration doesn’t work, things will become worse than we can imagine.

I’ve had one boss in my long working career who I felt was really a good boss.  I respected him, I wanted to please him, and I felt like he really had my best interests at heart.  I can’t fix America, and I don’t want to, but the man who has been chosen is someone I actually believe in. I want him to continue to make me believe.

I don’t want to let him down.

I don’t want him to let me down.