From 'The Letter'
One Friday night, the bulb in my hotel room blew, leaving the flashing multi-coloured neon coursing through Room 11 as my only source of light. The bulb was one of those modern day energy bulbs – about the only modern thing in the hotel – that was not going to be found in a local shop late at night. I went down to reception see they had any spare bulbs. At weekends, a young guy, Abdul, manned the desk. He was tall, angular, slightly effeminate in his movement, and sported a World War One high fade and quiff long before every man under forty started wearing their hair like that.
Abdul had only recently returned to work after some time off to get an invisilign brace and was on his laptop watching what he told me was a DVD of the virtual 3D treatment plan of the work his Budapest dentist was overseeing. Abdul explained it was much cheaper to get dental treatment out in central Europe. Picking up on my curiosity, the search for a spare energy bulb took a back seat. Instead, I leaned against the desk enthralled as I watched Abdul’s dental video.
“This video shows the series of movements my teeth will go through over the course of the treatment,” Abdul told me, clicking on a number of individual clips on the menu. “And this last one here is a projection of the final alignment of my teeth in nine months’ time.”
The visuals were impressive. Seeing it made me recall the invisilign brace I’d had pencilled in until Channel 4 eventually declined to make my pilot, so I was intrigued to get an unexpected opportunity to learn a little more about the orthodontics my writing failure had denied me. While I was out of luck on the bulb front that night, the half hour or so I spent with Abdul going through every stage of his treatment ended up rekindling my long-standing interest in orthodontics.