How do you do yours?

Have you ever watched someone performing a basic task and wondered why you don’t do it the same way?

I’ve just witnessed, from the corner of my eye, someone brushing their teeth. The fact they are brushing their teeth at work isn’t the issue here, although I have to commend them on their commitment to maintaining their exemplary dental hygiene even if it is a LITTLE bit weird to have brought in an electric toothbrush, floss and mouthwash. Instead I’m wondering why he was brushing his teeth the way he was, in particular, and this is all based on a couple of glances as I’m not in the habit of staring at men when they are in the bathroom regardless of what activity they are performing, the way he was brushing his front teeth. The front of his front teeth to be precise.

Gums bared in a grimace, teeth locked together he scrubbed vigorously back and forth, up and down, back and forth, all with the electric toothbrush whirring away as well. Most odd. I think.

Like most people my parents taught me how to brush my teeth. At least I presume they did for I have no recollection of the event itself. I’m not sure why I brush my teeth the way I do but it’s certainly come from them. Since buying an electric toothbrush I may have become lazy, but I thought the entire purpose of buying a “machine” was that it would do all the work? Or is it just me?? Maybe it is down to how you were taught to do something.

Same goes for, say, tying your shoelaces. Most of us will use the same ‘bow’ knot and probably approach the task in the same (similar) way but, the world being what it is, some of the more contrary people will do it differently (you know, the lefties of the world, they are all only pretending you know, to try and be different..). Now I did go through a spell, as a surly teenager trying to find my niche in the world, of deliberately doing things differently. Tying my shoelaces so the knot was on the inside of my foot instead of square on the top, for example. Ahhh yes, I was a rebellious sole (geddit) with a moderate and non-confrontational outlook, quite a hard balance to maintain that one.

Watching people (people watching if you will) is hugely fun, indeed my new wife (as she was then) and I spent a merry day on our honeymoon, sitting out under the awnings of a Spanish cafe, watching people dodge the rain and go about their daily business. We watched the people sitting around us, and watched on as the afternoon progressed, the rain faded and the tourists returned to saunter along the shopfronts, meandering through the puddles.

But watching someone up close, doing something as basic as brushing their teeth is entirely different. With the distance removed you are aware of your own influence on the situation, the fact they have slowed down perhaps, the brushing less vigorous, their head swivelling slightly in your direction..

“Yschh? Cunn ahhh hep ooo?”

You flush in embarassment, point out that they’ve dribbled toothpaste on their tie, and leave quickly. But you still pause at the door to look back as the buzzing of the toothbrush returns.

12 comments

  1. Scrubbing vigorously, particularly with an electric toothbrush that is already brushing, is the way to get bad gum erosion. He’ll have front teeth like a horse’s in a few years.

  2. I still find myself surprised to see how other people look for websites

    Personally, I’ll take a couple of educated guesses ( .com , .co.uk , f’rexample, and maybe a couple of spelling alterations if necessary) for a domain name before I go to Google for it.

    However, Herself just types everything into Google – even stuff she uses all the time: BBC, EBay, etc. Even when/if she’s bookmarked them. It drives me barmy.

  3. I think this person has some dental obsession.

    People watching I don’t much care for, having spent every working day of my life surrounded by zillions of people it seems. And people listening (esp on buses) I detest. So much that just today I’ve jumped on your bandwagon and purchased a music machine. It’s a phone with FM feature. Nokia 2310 at 19.99, but I got twenty quid off, making it very cheap indeed. Will I have to buy some special antenna earplugs? I could possibly afford them.

  4. Google Ads! How shocking. Did you know there’s no “Home” button on your individual story pages, Gordon? Had to edit the URL, which your less technical or older readers might not cope with.

    (No consultancy charge for this. You’ve earned a voucher.)

  5. Click the ‘banner’ (informationally overloaded) to ‘go home’.

    And yes, shocking use of Ads I’m sure you’ll agree.

  6. I can’t believe your workmate brushed his teeth in front of you-clarify, you were both in the work’s bathroom weren’t you? he wasn’t just sitting in front of his computer brushing his teeth?

    What’s next? Someone shaving their armpits in front of you?

  7. Oi. I brush my teeth at work every day, and I don’t think that makes me odd. Just hygenic. (I eat a lot of tuna, and I don’t want to inflict cat breath on my colleagues.) I do do it in the bathroom, but I don’t care who sees me.

    The one that I find strange is watching other women put mascara on. Why grimace? Why do you need to use your mouth to apply eye makeup.

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