Ouch. That’s the verdict, one week after the multiple extraction of all my wisdom teeth in one literal sitting, in the chair in the Park Street rooms of my dental surgeon and his anaesthetist, who drops by on Tuesdays. “Tuesdays are extractions,” the dentist’s assistant explained cheerfully when it had become evident I would have to have the teeth out, and needed to schedule the next available appointment. Looking at the crowded waiting room today, as I returned for my one-week checkup, I was pierced by that fine but powerful current, thankfully rare, which makes me a little rueful that I wasn’t more interested in things scientific, biological, physiological, chemical and so on in my formative years. Perhaps it was because I was not surrounded by scientists in my family. Perhaps it was a personality-driven preference for things cultural and bookish. At the moment I’m writing up a story for a women’s magazine about intelligent women, grappling among other things with stereotypes that surround them and the changing nature of debates over women’s intelligence over the decades/centuries, in which women’s relative lack of professional interest in the sciences has remained fairly consistent. While no one seems to have found an empirically defensible reason for this disparity between the sexes, it nevertheless exists and my own lack of interest was quite stunning today as I waited for over an hour for my three-minute consultation.

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