Dental News Bulletin

© International Times, 2019

If my dentist wasn’t a dentist, he would have been a political analyst. Or maybe he is, in his spare time. I must ask him at my next check-up. My experience of ‘butchery dentistry’ during the Soviet Era makes me plan the trips to Alex’s practice to the finest detail. So much so that I’m already an hour early, hoping to have made a mistake and hear Jenny saying your appointment was yesterday, but she offers me tea instead. A patient asks whether we should be waiting for fresh scones too, and the room bursts into laughter.

I never thought people could laugh at the dentist, but there we go. I laugh too, when the door opens and Alex shows me in. Any news, he asks. I think about my 42 mobile news alerts screaming from the back pocket. It’s only midday. I barely slept these past four days, waiting for a catastrophic British exit, worrying about knife crime, thinking that my next-door neighbour could be a serial killer for what I know, as he always looks cheerful when I walk past his garden. This exact scenario featured in a three-part documentary I watched back to back last week. I am sure I have an undetected disease. The scientist who presented the last episode of Horizon made me believe that I’m so ill, I started monitoring my dog for behavioural changes.

Any news, then? As I struggle to answer with an open mouth, I mutter No, though I want to confess my addiction to technology when he takes his phone out and says I wish there were no news. Like in 1930.

Alex reminds me of the ideal news bulletin, on 18thApril 1930 when the BBC news presenter had nothing to communicate to the nation. His script of the 8: 45pm bulletin was: There is no news, followed by 15-minute piano music.

My gums look healthy, while the D-Day celebrations are in full swing on TV.

© Maria Stadnicka, 2019

Published in International Times, 22nd June 2019.

Numbers for One Life

London. Friday afternoon. 2017.

It is summer. And a beautiful bitter one.

A few numbers for a statistical analysis which does not matter.

There are 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace.

There are almost 20,000 homes sitting empty in London. They are called ‘ghost’ homes.

The Crown Jewels have a total value of 44.5 billion pounds.

Stuart Gulliver, CEO at HSBC, will receive 9.7 million pounds as reward for cutting costs. Basically, for making money for others.

Philip May works as a senior executive at investment fund Capital Group that controls $1.4 trillion in assets.

Over 31 million pounds will be given this year in prizes at Wimbledon.

Theresa May promises 5 million pounds. To be shared between hundreds of people without food, clothes and a roof over their heads. Victims of Grenfell Tower fire.

Theresa May gets free food and accommodation wherever she goes. At all times.

An average wedding in the UK costs 20,000 pounds.

One cremation is 1,600 pounds, if it is planned. Otherwise, it is free.

Fire resistant cladding is 24 pounds per square metre.

One life has no price. Nor numbers.