Recently, I had my biannual date with my periodontist, which usually involves a nice hygienist cleaning my teeth and then poking around with a little pointy thingy and calling out numbers and sometimes she says "Uh oh," and then gets the nice doctor who sometimes has to do things to my mouth that make me long for ground glass to chew on, if I have any teeth left.

I so look forward to these little rendezvous.

This time, the nice hygienist didn't say "Uh oh," and she even shouted out numbers lower than I had expected (and if you know what I'm talking about, well, then you understand, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, all I can say is "floss like your life depends on it") and all the dread lifted from my shoulders and I was so relieved that there'd be no ground glass this time and I realized: "This makes me so happy."

What on earth has happened in my life?

First: When you start calling an appointment with a man who is just waiting for the opportunity to carve into your gums a "date," you need to get out more.

Second: I have never understood why the hygienist always sounds surprised if gums bleed. Hello! You're poking at it with a sharp stick! Quit poking and we won't have this problem.

Third: When the best thing that's happened to you this week is that your troublesome No. 2 distal pocket has shrunk by 30 percent you come to understand that your life has taken a terrible turn and you need to have some fun.

So my first thought is: Simple. You don't have fun in your life, you do something fun. And that is, indeed, quite simple until I had my second thought, that it's been so long since I've done anything but cook and clean and work and grocery shop and worry about the economy that I haven't the foggiest idea what would constitute "fun."

The whole concept is broken for me. Suggest a movie and all I can think of are the prices. And maybe the kid behind me kicking the seat. Suggest dinner out and then I've got prices again and long waits and lots of noise. And so on.

Desperate not to become a soulless, menopausal shrew (though it might be too late), I actually Googled the phrase "nothing sounds like fun," and was encouraged to find a website that asked the question, "(What to do) When nothing sounds like fun?" and presumably answered it.

Unfortunately, their answer was a suggestion to switch exercise videos, which for me hits the Fun Meter about even with the periodontist. Another website used the word "fun" in discussing passing eight kidney stones in nine days, which is starting to sound like a passable metaphor for my life. I found a site that mentioned that anhedonia might be a side effect from certain anti-depressants, but I'm not taking any. Yet.

So I'm now on a mission of sorts, to figure out what "fun" looks like. I'll take any ideas you have, because my life is starting to narrow down to the Old Lady version of the board game, Clue: Me, on the couch, with a sleepy basset hound. Real fun.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at Her column appears monthly.


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