The Man I Met at the Dental Clinic

Simone(Szeman) L.
2 min readJun 6, 2023

He is a store associate of a supermarket. But he made me think of my father.

the endless days of waiting

During the waiting time of visa, I am not allowed to work after graduation. As a boiled child grew up in a small family, I should explain my current situation to my parents. But I did not. They both never go to college, thus I don’t want to upset them.

I seem to use up a lifetime’s worth of luck after I got this second master’s degree. I suddenly feel enough. This feeling first appeared in 2020 after I did deep cleaning (flap operation periodontal therapy) on my teeth. I gradually lose my care and patience. Things I valued a lot are no longer interest me.

I am thinking these days that even though there is no visa problem, does the job market here fit me? I have nothing except the master’s of Arts in Vancouver which merely needs labors to serve rich or retired people.

Today, I went for a routine teeth cleaning, and Dr. Lo advised me to be cautious about the condition of my teeth. They can’t get any worse. While waiting at the front desk, I encountered a middle-aged man sitting on the sofa. He approached Dr. Lo in Mandarin, inquiring about his dental problems. He came across in a uniform from his workplace, a local Asian supermarket nearby. I think of my father. However, they have nothing in common. My father’s Mandarin is only average, and he is not a store associate. But he and my father are alone at this moment when their children are not around. The store associate found hard to communicate with the dentist in Mandarin while my father does not know English.

How about the other option—going home? I checked the flight tickets online, and the one-way trip in July is less than 1000 Canadian dollars.

Going home means I go back to the unliked and familiar environment to be a couch potato. The different thing is that my family will be around me to count down the lives of my teeth together. At least, we have each other not doing rat race.

It’s not that “I’m not into you,” rather, I’m just not that into myself.



Simone(Szeman) L.

Cantonese with interdisciplinary and transnational background living in Canada, big fan of South East Asia and Big Data. Live for big city.