This morning found me in the dentist’s chair, staring up at a poster taped to the ceiling that said “every warm hand is a whisper from the heart,” which didn’t make sense to me at that particular time, and doesn’t make sense to me now.  I was grateful for that poster regardless.  I was also thanking my stars that Chris Martin exists, and that he sings loud enough that I can hear “Clocks” over the whir of brush and sputter of water squirter.

It’s a little ridiculous for a twenty-two-year-old woman to be scared (here I want to use a less polite word than I’ll actually use) to death of the dentist.  And I’m scared.  No matter how much resolve I have walking in the door, no matter how confident I am that I’ve brushed and flossed adequately, it’s all smashed on the tasteful carpet under my feet when I’m led to the chair.  Or the gallows, if you prefer.

You see, when I was decently young, but not young enough to be crying the way I did (maybe thirteen, fourteen?), a dentist had to drill at a cavity I had.  “I’m not going to use Novocaine, because I won’t be drilling near any nerves,” he told me, pleasant as could be. “You just raise your hand if you feel any pain.”  And so he began drilling.  The drill vibrating in my mouth was a little uncomfortable, but not painful.  And then suddenly, it was.  It was as if there was a rotten core to my tooth, strung through with thousands of nerves so that no one could get too close.  And that dentist had just burst through all of them and was drilling on the one soft spot that was more sensitive than any other part.  I raised my hand as high as I could.

He barely paused.  “Really?  That hurt?  Hmm … I’m not anywhere near a nerve.  I’m just going to keep going, okay, sweetie?  Almost done.”

So he kept going, and it kept hurting more than anything I’d ever experienced, and salty globes were sliding down my face, and my (still raised) palm was sweating.

In the car I told my mom that I was never going back to that dentist.

She let me switch, and I haven’t had such an unpleasant experience since, but I’m still wary.  I didn’t put on mascara this morning because I didn’t want it to run if I cried.

So this all explains why it’s so important that I can hear Chris Martin and that I have (albeit confusing) posters to distract me.  Because otherwise I’m confident that I’ll snatch up my purse and flee at the first mention of drilling.


Last night, I went to a Coldplay concert in Saint Paul with my sister.  She wore colored jeans, and I, forsaking all trends and risking looking like her parental escort, wore plain old blue jeans.

We sat in the nosebleeds, as all good college students do. We also lost our tans from waiting inside for too long.

It was a fantastic concert.  If you’ve ever seen Chris Martin perform, you know how fun he is to watch.  As he sings, he does a joyous dance, spinning in childlike circles and hopping from foot to foot.  The man behind me put it this way: “He dances the way his music makes you want to dance.  The way you would dance if there was no one else in the world to see you making a fool of yourself.”  Well said, my friend.

There was more than Chris Martin, though.  There were also astounding visuals.  Lights, obviously, crossing across the stadium in neon lines.  Backdrops painted with the old-school New York graffiti that provides the theme of Mylo Xyloto.  And then, suddenly, in great, rocketing bursts, there was confetti.  We weren’t dusted, of course, being in the top row, but the stage was littered with it for the duration of the show.

There were also balloons, which dropped from the ceiling (again, to shower only those lucky few sitting on the floor).  Rather disturbing to me, don’t ask why, was that after the balloons had been crowd-surfed toward the stage, and rolled in a great multi-colored pile, the lights dimmed briefly.  Chris was still singing, but over his voice you could hear the echoing pops of a thousand innocent balloons.  The stage hands had pins, apparently, and whisk brooms to quickly sweep the shards of rubber away.

After the first goodbye, Coldplay appeared again, this time in the middle of the audience, on a narrow platform I hadn’t noticed before.  Here’s a bit of that:

They played, in case you’re wondering, mostly stuff from Mylo Xyloto, but also some older songs.  The encore was quite gratifying, because it featured Speed of Sound, Fix You, Clocks, etc.  The classics.  Clocks, especially, was important to hear: My one and only brush with the semi-gothic was freshman year of high school.  I basically hated it, because I had transferred from private to public, and didn’t have very many friends.  I also had to ride the bus, which was a new and horrifying experience for me.  What made it better was stuffing the buds of my iPod mini (a novelty at the time) into my ears and playing Clocks over and over, while staring wistfully (or so I imagined) out the window.

Clearly, I haven’t changed much since then; I’ve had this on repeat all day: