a few days ago, while perusing the free stuff section on craig's list looking for a mattress for my roommate, i came across an ad for free teeth cleaning. apparently tufts dental school students needed volunteers. the one caveat was you had to fit their profile, since they were looking for specific examples of bad teeth for their students to fix. if you didn't have what they wanted they wouldn't take you.

apparently my e-mail inquiry to them was intriguing enough that they wanted to have a lot. the fact that i haven't been to the dentist in many years (ashamed to go now, it's been so long) and i may or may not have cavities and tartar build-up were all pluses in their eyes. so a young woman named ramya got in touch with me and scheduled an appointment at the dental school in boston for this late afternoon.

i almost cancelled the appointment because i was pretty sure they wouldn't pick me. my teeth aren't that great, but they're not too bad either. i brush and floss daily. however it did give me a chance to hang out in chinatown a bit so i went just for the experience.

i couldn't decide if i should take the subway since i didn't like the idea of biking back from the city at night around rush hour. i took the bike anyway, just because it was cheaper and fulfilled my weekly exercise quota.

i parked by the chinatown gate and then went to the citizens bank next to south station to cash in a few traveler's checks my 2nd aunt gave me in exchange for cash. it was 4:00 by that point, and also when ramya called to let me know she was running late and asked if we could push back the appointment to 5:00.

i spent the next 45 minutes wandering chinatown. the one thing i wanted to see was the condemned apartment building at 25 harrison avenue that's been making news. since some crucial structural support columns had been removed, about 30 chinese tenants are homeless because the building has been deemed unsafe to enter. the chinese landlord was interviewed on television saying he'd pay hotel fees for the dispossessed tenants for only a single night, and it's not his responsibility that his building might collapse at any point.

i wandered as far as the washington street c-mart (formerly super 88) on the other side of the turnpike before making my way to the tufts dental building. even though i was never directly involved with the dental/medical school, it still gave me a sense of nostalgia seeing that old tufts symbol. i took the elevator to the 3rd floor and called ramya to let her know i'd arrived. in the waiting room was a mix of people, some looked like young professionals while others appeared to be townies who by their onward appearance you could tell they had bad teeth. i guess everyone was there for the same thing, to see if we'd qualify.

moments later i met ramya, a very pretty indian girl from michigan in her last (4th) year of dental school. her hand was cold when i shook it, having just gotten back from taunton, where they were doing work at a VA hospital. in order to graduate and get their license they need to demonstrate what they've learned on live patients. the specific thing she was looking for was cavities in between teeth (i didn't even realize that was possible). after she got me to sign a consent form, she brought me to a smaller waiting room buzzing with dental students taking patients in to get x-rayed.

ramya ended up taking 9 x-rays of my teeth. these were digital x-rays which showed up on the computer screen right away. many of the x-rays were repeats, in case they missed something, but i was a little concerned. after looking at the images, she said my teeth were fine, or at least not at the severity she needed for her exam patients. she had an advisor come in to confer her findings before she led me back to her examination cubicle. she took a quick look at my teeth and said i had a small cavity in one of my molars. i told her my usual dentist would be able to take care of it, now that i know my teeth aren't as bad as i'd feared.

next to the chinatown gate was supposed to be an art installation launch party happening at 6:00, with some sort of performance. when i got there though, it was just some people standing around, waiting for something to happen. it seemed boring so left. since it was dinnertime, i went to the chinatown on harrison avenue to get some spicy porkchop with rice, one of my usual favorites. i strapped the takeout to the back of my bike with my bungie netting. next i returned to the washington street c-mart to pick up some tofu squares for my mother.

i then made my way home. i wanted to get back via the longfellow bridge but i couldn't think of an easy way to get there from chinatown, so i ended up heading to the skywalk at the intersection of beacon and arlington street, to take the charles river bikepath home. it was a few miles longer, but i wouldn't have to worry about car traffic (just jogger and bike traffic). some parts of the path was dark, illuminated only by the passing headlights on nearby storrow drive.

instead of going home i went to the cafe first to drop off the tofu for my mother (she'd already gone home, only my father was there). i got a chance to catch my breath before continuing onwards to my place.

i couldn't wait to eat but recoiled in horror when i saw they gave me the wrong order! since i didn't have much choice, i ate it anyway, saving the rest for tomorrow.

my wine key (AKA waiter's friend) finally arrived today ($3.30, all the way from hong kong via dealextreme). i was starting to wonder if it'd ever come since i ordered it so long ago. i can't wait to use it to open my first bottle of wine.

my roommate left the house today around 1:00. when i saw her later in the evening, she'd bought a big rotisserie chicken from star market, said she had a craving for meat after eating nothing but noodles for the past few days.