the life of a toothbrush

I love my battery-powered toothbrush. It does a far better job than I ever seem to do manually. And, oddly, I kind of enjoy the buzzing noise it makes. A while ago, I figured it might be in need of a battery change. It seemed to take longer than usual to brush; the droning buzz seemed to be quieter than I remembered. But it didn't seem urgent enough for me to do anything about it. So I continued brushing as is. For weeks.

Just the other day, Niel brought some batteries into the bathroom to replace the ones in his toothbrush. "Oh, please change mine, too, while you're at it," I remarked.

The next time I turned on my toothbrush, my eyes widened in amazement. The buzz was back, in all its loud glory. As I started brushing, I excitedly exclaimed to Niel, "It feels like I'm at the dentist!" The difference from the day before was startling. I hadn't realized how slow and incompetent my toothbrush had actually become. I had no idea how bad it had really gotten. Until it was better. The comparison was remarkable.

How did I not realize just how bad it was? The downward spiral was slow. Gradual. Incremental. So much so, that while I figured it might be good to change the batteries, I didn't think it was necessary. Not yet. "It can wait a few more weeks..." Slowly dying is not as obvious as suddenly dying.

But with new batteries in it, my toothbrush has sprung back to life. It's more alive than I honestly ever recall it being, so stark is the contrast between pre- and post-battery change.

Only when I got back what I'd lost did I realize just how badly things had gotten.

Regardless of how slow or sudden the death, new life is always astonishing.