Dear Benefactor,

Another reason I have not gone hiking recently is because I have been doing mundane things like going to the dentist.

On Friday, I arrived at my teeth-cleaning appointment promptly at 8:00.

I sat in the chair, waiting for the procedure to start. I admit, getting your teeth cleaned is better than having a filling done or a root canal performed, but still, I would much rather be shopping for Lane Bryant underwear than spending my precious morning getting my chompers scraped.

I waited for the dental assistant—we’ll call her Bertha #3—to start working on my mouth. Instead, she talked about how much she loved my books. For ten minutes. “The part where you talk about your husband burying you in the compost pile? That was so funny.”

I recalled that she had four copies of my books: two for herself and two for a friend of hers.

“How’s your friend?” I asked. “Did she like the books as well?”

“She died.”

I didn’t even know what to say. Here I was, sitting in this wretched chair internally complaining about being there and this young woman—turns out she was only 54—was…dead.

Bertha and I then started talking about my Aunt Ann. She had gone to this same dentist before my family had. “I never met your Aunt Ann,” Bertha advised, “but I’ve met your Uncle John. He’s a sweetheart.”

Yes, and now he’s a widower. They should be traveling the countryside in their RV together. He shouldn’t be gallivanting around the east coast on his own as we speak. They should be…together.

Like I said, there I was, complaining about my teeth, while people around me were dying. Dying of the same disease that I had bonked on the nose and conquered.

Well, my good sir, maybe I should go on a little hike by myself this week and as I meander through the woods, I should give myself a little attitude adjustment.

Sincerely,

Marie