Friday, 1 August 2008

Mission impossible

"95% of our patients see a smile as a valuable social asset," says the dentist's flyer that's just popped through the letterbox .

For the rest of the day, I mull over the 5% who don't. Are they so generously supplied with assets that teeth come a long way down the list or have they simply given up trying?

"The things you fuss about," says Lindy who, thanks to her outsize personality and embonpoint, probably accounts for at least four of those missing percentage points all on her own.

Unlikely though it sounds, we're cycling to the supermarket, not because Lindy has suddenly developed a taste for exercise but because she's just had the latest cosmetic treatment on a few almost imperceptible thread veins and wants to display the results to an admiring public. I can only hope the public has been adequately schooled in its response.

Lindy, who has no truck with lycra shirts and padded shorts is, in its loosest sense, wearing a skirt so short it is actually a fringe. She pauses at the traffic light to admire her reflection in a shop window. Several drivers, doing the same thing, swerve violently.

"Like my mount?"she yells at me. She is in command of a man's bike that she describes as a 'trophy'. I'd like to ask what happened to its previous owner, but with Bad Lindy, ignorance is almost invariably bliss - or at the very least, a necessity if nightmares full of graphic text-fuelled images are to be avoided.

"Blimey - dropped my sunglasses," says Lindy. "I'll just get off and pick them up."

As she dismounts, she is compelled to essay a sort of high kick to avoid the bike frame. At the apex of the manoeuvre, I hear what I can only descibe as a collective gasp and the scene suddenly resembles one of those freeze frame panoramic ads, where all movement is suddenly stilled.

Except, that is, for Lindy, who repeats her high kick and re-mounts, apparently oblivious to the reaction she's caused.

"Lindy," I say, not having to raise my voice at all, as it is the only thing audible in an otherwise completely silent street.


"Everyone's looking."

"So? What's new?"

She follows my gaze and is greeted with expressions that range from total shock to utter delight.

"Bloody hell," she says. "Good thing I've didn't go commando today."

She pauses, evidently trying to remember something.

"Whoops!" she says, and guffaws. "Who says a smile's a girl's best social asset now?"

She cycles on ahead, still laughing. "Remind me to keep my glasses on, on the way home," she calls back to me.