Fast = Good

Reestablishing the infrastrucure of everyday life is one of the most annoying things about moving. In my experience, it takes about a year in a place before you have settled in with friendships (if any), weekly routine, apartment layout, grocery options, fitness activities, dog-walking routes, childcare providers, extracurricular activities, and go-to restaurants. There are always some things that you lament losing, but you learn to appreciate the new things you’ve never had anywhere else. You also form interesting cross-cultural insights. Over the years I have shared many such insights on this blog. Here’s an NYC insight for you.

Fast = Good

Today I had to go to the dentist. It’s my 3rd visit to that dentist and the thing that takes me by surprise each time is how quickly I am in and out of the chair. It all happens so fast that the dentist is out in the hallway and the assistants are cleaning up, and I have to say, “So are we done for today?” because it just doesn’t seem plausible.

And then, the thing is, that, given how quickly it all went, I find that I am making a baseline assumption that they must not have done a careful and thorough job. All of my other dentists in all of the other places I have been seemed to take so much time, chatting, going over my x-rays in detail, taking great care to make sure that my gums are in tip-top shape, sanding down my new fillings so that they fit my bite perfectly. Today, I had a cavity excavated and filled so quickly that I thought he might just be finishing the drilling part. What shoddy work, I thought to myself, maybe I will just pay out of pocket to keep seeing my dentist back in Vermont.

Later in the day I got online to locate an endodontist that takes my insurance. As I was reading reviews and recommendations, I noted that one of the most sought after endodontists was praised again and again for the speed at which she worked. That led me to go back and look at the comments on my dentist and I found the same thing – people praising the fact that they were in and out of the chair so quickly that they didn’t even have to skip their early evening yoga, etc. And then I thought about how I consciously plan my routes around Manhattan so as to limit the amount of time I will be trapped slow-walking behind tourists, and how when the kids and I are walking and slow people are in front of us I say “frogger” and the three of us disband so we can individually weave around the slowpokes, and how it is almost physically painful when I first get back to Montpelier and I go to buy groceries and the cashier takes soooo long that I resort to deep breathing to maintain a pleasant demeanor.

Fast = Good. Does this mean my dentist is a keeper? Not necessarily. But it does mean that I need to think twice before I associate speed with shoddy work.

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