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My(27f) best friend’s(30f) horrible ex roommate(32f) keeps trying to feign a friendship with me.

2020.10.02 00:22 throwRAeta My(27f) best friend’s(30f) horrible ex roommate(32f) keeps trying to feign a friendship with me.

I realize this is ridiculous. I was raised in a very passive household. This has caused quite a bit of trouble throughout my life, but I’ve been working on being more assertive/confident in therapy. I want to use my time in therapy for my actual bigger issues, so that’s why I’m posting here.
So, in 2017, my best friend moved in with a coworker of hers. They got along really well and the house was literally a block away from where they worked. It was perfect.
We’ll call my best friend Helen and her roommate Carrie.
I always liked Carrie but we didn’t really have anything in common and tbh, she really didn’t hold her liquor very well and I was usually only around her at parties. She didn’t usually become aggressive or cause trouble while drinking, but she typically needed a babysitter. (She would pass out at the bar, we would find her in the bathroom covered in piss and/or vomit. That kind of stuff)
So towards the end of their first year living together, right after they had resigned her lease, Carrie started being a total bitch. I’m going to try to keep this brief so I will just use bullet points.
-Carrie started complaining that Helen didn’t let her dog out to pee while she was at work, so it’s Helen’s fault that her dog was pissing all over the place. (She never asked Helen to. Helen let her out every morning but the dog was old and we believe she was having bladder issues.)
-Carrie would refuse to clean up after said incidents and began to blame it on Helen’s cats. -I’m sure most of us know how potent cat pee is. It wasn’t cats.
-Carrie began to bring strange men home and one of them got so drunk, he went to Helen’s room in the middle of the night thinking it was the bathroom, was stark naked, and peed in her hamper.
-Dishes and whose food was whose started to become a bigger issue.
These are the smaller things that I don’t really care about. But they started progressing.
Carrie started taking photos of Helen’s room while Helen was at work or away. Helen always had her door closed.
Helen is usually a tidy person but, she began dating a dude who is not. And I want to point out that the common rooms were always clean. Helen’s bedroom was not because her bf would get off work really late, bring fast food home and just leave it in there.
So, Carrie would take these photos of Helen’s messy room and would show it to all of their coworkers. One of their coworkers thought it was weird and told Helen. Helen hates confrontation even more than I do and I believe she just asked her not to go in her room anymore.
This was when Carrie made it to my shit list.
We lived in a small town and Carrie would tell anyone who would listen about how much of a slob her roommate is.
The biggest things that I’m still pissed off about are:
Helen found out she was pregnant at 6 weeks. That is very early to find out. She told Carrie because she still felt they were friends. Carrie flipped her shit and demanded Helen get an abortion. Helen hadn’t even decided what she was going to do yet but Helen was making it very clear that she did not want to live with a pregnant person or a baby.
After a few weeks, Helen decided to keep the baby and is trying to make accommodations for Carrie so she doesn’t have to live with a baby. Carrie didn’t want to move out and she didn’t want Helen to move out either. She just kept telling Helen that she was making a mistake and ruining her life by keeping the baby. Or that Helen was an unfit parent/would be an awful mother, and just all around saying really hurtful things.
I also want to point out that Helen would show me texts messages between them and she was often apologetic to Carrie. I thought it was unnecessary to apologize to a roommate/friend for getting pregnant. Carrie would acknowledge the apologies but never accept them and would just restate how unfit she was or how her life was over now.
Helen began looking for apartments. However, one day Carrie would say she wanted to move out and then the next day she would make a comment about how a friend mentioned they could take over for Helen on their lease. She was always flip flopping and would freak out when Helen would ask her which decision she was going to make. -I believe Carrie did this stuff on purpose to try and “punish” Helen or something.
THEN Carrie began telling everyone that Helen was pregnant. This upset me for multiple reasons, first being Helen found out so early that she very well could have had complications, but also because she robbed Helen of being able to spread the good news herself. This is her first baby and she didn’t get to tell many people herself. On top of that, Carrie was turning the story around to make it all about her. How she doesn’t want to live with a pregnant person and how now she either has to leave or find a new roommate.
Carrie ended up moving out and Helen’s bf moved in. Helen and Carrie have not been on good terms since.
Now, I had been planning to move across the country before Helen found out about her pregnancy. I moved when she was about four months along.
I think it’s worth mentioning that I used to work at a populabeloved bar that really had no turn over rate. Usually once you got a job there, you stayed there. It was a great place to work. Like I said, we lived in a small town, so pretty much every patron was a regular. I lived my regulars and they loved me.
Carrie ended up taking my position at the bar.
When I came back to visit about a year later, Helen and I visited the bar I used to work at. It was so great to see everyone. Carrie ran straight up to me like we were old buds and wrapped me in a huge hug. I was taken aback. One, we were not very close from the beginning. But also, the last time we spoke, it wasn’t very friendly. I didn’t want to be rude, so I hugged her with one arm, and pretended I didn’t hear her talking to me and blatantly turned around to start talking with Helen. Any other interaction I had with her, I made sure to be polite, but curt. She was my bartender for the night, so I treated her as just that. That was about a year ago.
She follows me on social media and this year she has been overloading me with compliments and I usually just ignore them, hoping she’ll get the point. But, she only does it publicly. And every time she makes it seem like we’re best friends. “You are usually so cute to boot anyway, but WOW this photo is so pretty. I can’t wait to see you when you visit.” That kind of stuff.
I feel like she’s doing this to put on a show for the regulars that I still interact with. Or even for my old coworkers.
I don’t like it and I’m not sure if I should just block her or let her know that I don’t want to interact with her after the way she treated my friend.
I want to start sticking up for myself and the people I love but this stuff feels too old to dredge up but I feel like blocking her without context would be immature. And I guess I’m worried that she’ll spin the story to people back home that I was rude to her for no reason and more ‘woe is me’ kinda stuff.
So, should I just block her and move on? Or should I tell her I don’t want to be her friend?
submitted by throwRAeta to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2020.10.01 21:47 normancrane Iris [4/5]

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Blood, guts and bone shards blanketed the surfaces of the waiting room, making it look like the inside of an unwashed jar of strawberry jam. My wife was gone. Every woman in the room was gone. The space behind the reception desk stood eerily empty. The television in the corner was showing the splattered lens of a camera that a hand suddenly wiped clean—its burst of motion a shock to the prevailing stillness—to reveal the peaceful image of a Los Angeles street in which bloodied men and boys stood frozen, startled…
I was too numb to speak.
Someone unlocked the hospital doors but nobody entered.
The waiting room smelled like an abattoir.
My clothes smelled like an abattoir.
I walked toward the doors, opened them with my hip and continued into the morning sunlight. I half expected shit to rain down from the skies. If I had a razor blade in my pocket I would have slit my wrists, but all I had was my wallet, my car keys and my phone. Sliding my fingers over the keys reminded me how dull they were. I didn’t want to drive. I didn’t want anything, but if I had to do something I would walk. I stepped on the heel of one shoe with the toe of another and slid my shoe off. The other one I pulled off with my hand. I wasn’t wearing socks. I hadn’t had enough time to put them on. I threw the shoes away. I wanted to walk until my feet hurt so much that I couldn’t walk anymore.
I put one foot in front of the other all the way back to my apartment building, waited for the elevator, and took it to my floor. In the hall, I passed a man wearing clean summer clothes. He didn’t give my bloody ones a second glance. I nodded to him, he nodded back, and I unlocked the door to my apartment and walked in. My feet left footprints on the linoleum. A dark, drying stain in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall was all that was left of Pillow. She’d squeezed in and died alone. I took out a mop and rotely removed the stain. Then I took off my clothes, flung them on the bed, which was as unmade as when we left it, took a shower and laid down on the crumpled sheets beside the only pieces of my wife that I had left. My sleep smelled like an abattoir.
I awoke to a world without women.
I rolled off the bed into sore thighs and guilt, got up to emptiness that echoed the slightest noise, and left my wife’s clothes on the sheets without thinking that eventually I’d have to pack them into a plastic bag and slide them down the garbage chute. I felt magnified and hollow. In the kitchen, I used the stove top as a table because the actual table had my wife’s tablet on it, and spilled instant coffee. What I didn’t spill I drank in a few gulps, the way I used to drink ice cold milk as a boy. I stood in front of the living room window for a while before realizing I was naked, then realizing that it didn’t matter because men changed in front of each other at the pool and peed next to one another into urinals in public restrooms, and there weren’t any women to hide from, no one to offend. The world, I told myself, was now a sprawling men’s pisser, so I slammed the window open and pissed.
I wanted to call someone—to tell them that my wife was dead, because that’s a duty owed by the living—but whom could I call: her sister, her parents? Her sister was dead. Her father had a dead wife and two dead daughters. There was nothing to say. Everyone knew. I called my wife’s father anyway. Was he still my father-in-law now that I was a widower? He didn’t accept the connection. Widower: a word loses all but historical meaning when there are no alternatives. If all animals were dogs, we’d purge one of those words from our vocabulary. We were all widowers. It was synonymous with man. I switched on the television and stared, crying, at a montage of photographs showing the bloody landscapes of cities, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and churches, all under the tasteless headline: “International Pop”. Would we clean it up, these remnants of the people we loved? Could we even use the same buildings, knowing what had happened in them? The illusion of practical thinking pushed my feeling of emptiness away. I missed arms wrapping around me from behind while I stared through rain streaked windows. I missed barking and a wagging tail that hit my leg whenever I was standing too close. Happiness seemed impossible. I called Bakshi because I needed confirmation that I still had a voice. “They’re the lucky ones,” he said right after I’d introduced myself. “They’re out. We’re the fools still locked in, and now we’re all alone.”
For three weeks, I expected my wife to show up at the apartment door. I removed her clothes from the bed and stuffed them into a garbage bag, but kept the garbage bag in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall. I probably would have kept a dead body in the freezer if I had one and it fit. As a city and as a world, those were grim, disorganized weeks for us. Nobody worked. I don’t know what we did. Sat around and drank, smoked. And we called each other, often out of the blue. Every day, I received a call from someone I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years. The conversations all followed a pattern. There was no catching up and no explanation of lost time, just a question like “How are you holding up?” followed by a thoughtless answer (“Fine, I guess. And you?”) followed by an exchange of details about the women we’d lost. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, teachers, students, co-workers. We talked about the colour of their hair, their senses of humour, their favourite movies. We said nothing about ourselves, choosing instead to inhabit the personas of those whom we’d loved. In the hallway, I would put on my wife’s coats but never look at myself in the mirror. I wore her winter hats in the middle of July. Facebook became a graveyard, with the gender field separating the mourners from the dead.
The World Health Organization issued a communique stating that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all the women in the world were dead, but it called for any woman still alive to come forward immediately. The language of the communique was as sterile as the Earth. Nobody came forward. The World Wildlife Fund created an inventory of all mammalian species that listed in ascending order how long each species would exist. Humans were on the bottom. Both the World Health Organization and the World Wildlife Fund predicted that unless significant technological progress occurred in the field of fertility within the next fifty years, the last human, a theoretical boy named Philip born into a theoretical developed country on March 26, 2025, would die in 93 years. On the day of his death, Philip would be the last remaining mammal—although not necessarily animal—on Earth. No organization or government has ever officially stated that July 4, 2025, was the most destructive day in recorded history, on the morning of which, Eastern Time, four billion out of a total of eight billion people ceased to exist as anything more than memories. What killed them was neither an act of war nor an act of terrorism. Neither was it human negligence. There was no one to blame and no one to prosecute. In the western countries, where the majority of people no longer believed in any religion, we could not even call it an act of God. So we responded by calling it nothing at all.
And, like nothing, our lives persisted. We ate, we slept and we adapted. After the first wave of suicides ended, we hosed off what the rain hadn’t already washed away and began to reorganize the systems on which our societies ran. It was a challenge tempered only slightly in countries where women had not made up a significant portion of the workforce. We held new elections, formed me boards of directors and slowed down the assembly lines and bus schedules to make it possible for our communities to keep running. There was less food in the supermarkets, but we also needed less food. Instead of two trains we ran one, but one sufficed. I don’t remember the day when I finally took the black garbage bag from its resting place and walked it to the chute. “How are you holding up?” a male voice would say on the street. “Fine, I guess. And you?” I’d answer. ##!! wrote a piece of Python code to predict the box office profitability of new movies, in which real actors played alongside computer-generated actresses. The code was only partially successful. Because while it did accurately predict the success of new movies in relation to one other, it failed to include the overwhelming popularity of re-releases of films from the past—films starring Bette Davis, Giulietta Masina, Meryl Streep: women who at least on screen were still flesh and blood. Theatres played retrospectives. On Amazon, books by female authors topped the charts. Sales of albums by women vocalists surged. We thirsted for another sex. I watched, read and listened like everyone else, and in between I cherished any media on which I found images or recordings of my wife. I was angry for not having made more. I looked at the same photos and watched the same clips over and over again. I memorized my wife’s Facebook timeline and tagged all her Tweets by date, theme and my own rating. When I went out, I would talk to the air as if she was walking beside me, sometimes quoting her actual words as answers to my questions and sometimes inventing my own as if she was a beloved character in an imagined novel. When people looked at me like I was crazy, I didn’t care. I wasn’t the only one. But, more importantly, my wife meant more to me than they did. I remembered times when we’d stroll through the park or down downtown sidewalks and I would be too ashamed to kiss her in the presence of strangers. Now, I would tell her that I love her in the densest crowd. I would ask her whether I should buy ketchup or mustard in the condiments aisle. She helped me pick out my clothes in the morning. She convinced me to eat healthy and exercise.
In November, I was in Bakshi’s apartment for the first time, waiting for a pizza delivery boy, when one of Bakshi’s friends who was browsing Reddit told us that the Tribe of Akna was starting a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to buy the Republic of Suriname, rename it Xibalba and close its borders for all except the enlightened. Xibalba would have no laws, Salvador Abaroa said in a message on the site. He was banging his gong as he did. Everything would be legal, and anyone who pledged $100 would receive a two-week visa to this new "Mayan Buddhist Eden". If you pledged over $10,000, you would receive citizenship. “Everything in life is destroyed by energy,” Abaroa said. “But let the energy enlighten you before it consumes your body. Xibalba is finite life unbound.” Bakshi’s phone buzzed. The pizza boy had sent an email. He couldn’t get upstairs, so Bakshi and I took the elevator to the building’s front entrance. The boy’s face was so white that I saw it as soon as the elevator doors slid open. Walking closer, I saw that he was powdered. His cheeks were also rouged, and he was wearing cranberry coloured lipstick, a Marilyn Monroe wig and a short black skirt. Compared to his face, his thin legs looked like incongruously dark popsicle sticks. Bakshi paid for the pizza and added another five dollars for the tip. The boy batted his fake eyelashes and asked if maybe he could do something to earn a little more. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I could come upstairs and clean the place up a little. You two live alone?” Bakshi passed me the two pizza boxes—They felt hot in my hands.—and dug around in his wallet. “It’s not just the two of us,” I said. The boy smiled. “That’s OK. I’ve done parties before if that’s what you’re into.” I saw the reaction on Bakshi’s face, and I saw the boy’s grotesque caricature of a woman. “There’s condoms and lube in the car,” the boy said, pointing to a sedan with a pizza spray-painted across its side parked by the curb. “My boss says I can take up to two hours but it’s not like he uses a stopwatch.” I stepped on Bakshi’s foot and shouldered him away. He was still fiddling with his wallet. “We’re not interested,” I said to the boy. He just shrugged. “Suit yourselves. If you change your mind, order another pizza and ask for Ruby.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we shuffled inside, I saw Bakshi’s cheeks turn red. “I’m not actually—” he mumbled, but I didn’t let him finish. What had bothered me so much about the boy wasn’t the way he looked or acted; in fact, it wasn’t really the boy at all. He was just trying to make a buck. What bothered me was how ruthlessly we’d already begun to exploit each other.
For those of us who were heterosexual, sex was a definite weakness. I missed it. I would never have it with a woman again. The closest substitute was pornography, whose price rose with its popularity, but which, at least for me, now came scented with the unpleasantness of historicity and nostalgia. Videos and photos, not to mention physical magazines, were collector’s items in the same way that we once collected coins or action figures. The richest men bought up the exclusive rights to their favourite porn stars and guarded them by law with a viciousness once reserved for the RIAA and MPAA. Perhaps exclusivity gave them a possessive satisfaction. In response, we pirated whatever we could and fought for a pornographic public domain. Although new pornography was still being produced, either with the help of the same virtual technology they used for mainstream movies or with the participation of young men in costume, it lacked the taste of the originals. It was like eating chocolate made without cocoa. The best pornography, and therefore the best sex, became the pornography of the mind.
The Tribe of Akna reached its Kickstarter goal in early December. On December 20, I went to church for the first time since getting married because that was the theoretical date that my wife—along with every other woman—was supposed to have given birth. I wanted to be alone with others. Someone posted a video on TikTok from Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront, dubbing over Marlon Brando’s speech to say: “You don’t understand. I could’a had a piece of ass. I could’a been a school board member. I could’a been a son’s daddy”. It was juvenile and heartbreaking. By Christmas, the Surinamese government was already expelling its citizens, each of whom had theoretically been given a fraction of the funds paid to the government from the Tribe of Akna’s Kickstarter pool, and Salvador Abaroa’s lawyers were petitioning for international recognition of the new state of Xibalba. Neither Canada nor the United States opened diplomatic relations, but others did. I knew people who had pledged money, and when in January they disappeared on trips, I had no doubt to where. Infamy spread in the form of stories and urban legends. There’s no need for details. People disappeared, and ethicists wrote about the ethical neutrality of murder, arguing that because we were all slated to die, leaving the Earth barren in a century, destruction was a human inevitability, and what is inevitable can never be bad, even when it comes earlier than expected—even when it comes by force. Because, as a species, we hadn’t chosen destruction for ourselves, neither should any individual member of our species be able to choose now for himself. To the ethicists of what became known as the New Inevitability School, suicide was a greater evil than murder because it implied choice and inequality. If the ship was going down, no one should be allowed to get off. A second wave of suicides coincided with the debate, leading many governments to pass laws making suicide illegal. But how do you punish someone who already wants to die? In China: by keeping him alive and selling him to Xibalba, where he becomes the physical plaything of its citizens and visa-holders. The Chinese was the first embassy to open in Xibalban Paramaribo.
The men working on Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything continued working, steadily adding new variables to their equations, complicating their calculations in the hopes that someday the variable they added would be the final one and the equation would yield an answer. “It’s pointless,” Bakshi would comment after reading about one of the small breakthroughs they periodically announced. “Even if they do manage to predict something, anything, it won’t amount to anything more than the painfully obvious. And after decades of adding and subtracting their beans, they’ll come out of their Los Alamos datalabs like groundhogs into a world blanketed by storm clouds and conclude, finally and with plenty of self-congratulations, that it’s about to fucking rain.”
It rained a lot in February. It was one of the warmest Februaries in Toronto’s history. Sometimes I went for walks along the waterfront, talking to my wife, listening to Billie Holiday and trying to recall as many female faces as I could. Ones from the distant past: my mother, my grandmothers. Ones from the recent past: the woman whose life my wife saved on the way to the hospital, the Armenian woman with the film magazine and the injured son, the Jamaican woman, Bakshi’s wife. I focused on their faces, then zoomed out to see their bodies. I carried an umbrella but seldom opened it because the pounding of the raindrops against the material distorted my mental images. I saw people rush across the street holding newspapers above their heads while dogs roamed the alleyways wearing nothing at all. Of the two, it was dogs that had the shorter time left on Earth, and if they could let the rain soak their fur and drip off their bodies, I could surely let it run down my face. It was first my mother and later my wife who told me to always cover up in the rain, “because moisture causes colds,” but I was alone now and I didn’t want to be separated from the falling water by a sheet of glass anymore. I already was cold. I saw a man sit down on a bench, open his briefcase, pack rocks into it, then close it, tie it to his wrist, check his watch and start to walk into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario. Another man took out his phone and tapped his screen a few times. The man in the lake walked slowly, savouring each step. When the police arrived, sirens blaring, the water was up to his neck. I felt guilty for watching the three officers splash into the lake after him. I don’t know what happened after that because I turned my back and walked away. I hope they didn’t stop him. I hope he got to do what he wanted to do.
“Screw the police.” Bakshi passed me a book. “You should read this,” he said. It was by a professor of film and media studies at a small university in Texas. There was a stage on the cover, flanked by two red curtains. The photo had been taken from the actors’ side, looking out at an audience that the stage lights made too dark to see. The title was Hiding Behind The Curtains. I flipped the book over. There was no photo of the author. “It’s a theory,” Bakshi said, “that undercuts what Abaroa and the Inevitabilists are saying. It’s a little too poetic in parts but—listen, you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” I said I hadn’t. “Well, anyway, what this guy says is that what if instead of our situation letting us do anything we want, it’s actually the opposite, a test to see how we act when we only think that we’re doomed. I mean what if the women who died in March, what if they’re just—” “Hiding behind the curtains,” I said. He bit his lower lip. “It sounds stupid when you say it like that but, as a metaphor, it has a kind of elegance, right?” I flipped through the book, reading a few sentences at random. It struck me as neo-Christian. “Isn’t this a little too spiritual for you? I thought we were all locked into one path,” I said. “I thought that, too, but lately I’ve been able to do things—things that I didn’t really want to do.” For a second I was concerned. “Nothing bad,” he said. “I mean I’ve felt like I’m locked into doing one thing, say having a drink of water, but I resist and pour myself a glass of orange juice instead.” I shook my head. “It’s hard to explain,” he said. That’s how most theories ended, I thought: reason and evidence up to a crucial point, and then it gets so personal that it’s hard to explain. You either make the jump or you don’t. “Just read it,” he said. “Please read it. You don’t have to agree with it, I just want to get your opinion, an objective opinion.”
I never did read the book, and Bakshi forgot about it, too, but that day he was excited and happy, and those were rare feelings. I was simultaneously glad for him and jealous. Afterwards, we went out onto the balcony and drank Czech beer until morning. When it got cool, we put on our coats. It started to drizzle so we wore blue plastic suits like the ones they used to give you on boat rides in Niagara Falls. When it was time to go home, I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I almost got into a fight, the first one of my life, because I bumped into a man on the street and told him to get the fuck out of my way. I don’t remember much more of my walk home. The only reason I remember Behind The Curtains at all is because when I woke up in the afternoon it was the first thing that my hung over brain recognized. It was lying on the floor beside the bed. Then I opened the blinds covering my bedroom window and, through my spread fingers that I’d meant to use as a shield from the first blast of daylight, I saw the pincers for the first time.
They’d appeared while I was asleep. I turned on the television and checked my phone. The media and the internet were feverish, but nobody knew what the thing was, just a massive, vaguely rectangular shape blotting out a strip of the sky. NASA stated that it had received no extraterrestrial messages to coincide with the appearance. Every government claimed ignorance. The panel discussions on television only worsened my headache. Bakshi emailed me links to photos from Mumbai, Cape Town, Sydney and Mexico City, all showing the same shape; or rather one of a pair of shapes, for there were two of them, one on each side of the Earth, and they’d trapped our planet between themselves like gargantuan fingers clutching an equally gargantuan ping-pong ball. That’s why somebody came up with the term “the pincers”. It stuck. Because I’d slept in last night’s clothes I was already dressed, so I ran down the stairs and out of my apartment building to get a better look at them from the parking lot. You’re not supposed to look at the sun, but I wasn’t the only one breaking that rule. There were entire crowds with upturned faces in the streets. If the pincers, too, could see, they would perhaps be as baffled by us as we were of them: billions of tiny specks all over the surface of this ping-pong ball gathering in points on a grid, coagulating into large puddles that vanished overnight only to reassemble in the morning. In the following days, scientists scrambled to study the pincers and their potential effects on us, but they discovered nothing. The pincers did nothing. They emitted nothing, consumed nothing. They simply were. And they could not be measured or detected in any way other than by eyesight. When we shot rays at them, the rays continued on their paths unaffected, as if nothing was there. The pincers did, however, affect the sun’s rays coming towards us. They cut up our days. The sun would rise, travel over the sky, hide behind a pincer—enveloping us in a second night—before revealing itself again as a second day. But if the pincers’ physical effect on us was limited to its blockage of light, their mental effects on us were astoundingly severe. For many, this was the sign they’d been waiting for. It brought hope. It brought gloom. It broke and confirmed ideas that were hard to explain. In their ambiguity, the pincers could be anything, but in their strangeness they at least reassured us of the reality of the strange times in which we were living. Men walked away from the theory of everything, citing the pincers as the ultimate variable that proved the futility of prognostication. Others took up the calculations because if the pincers could appear, what else was out there in our future? However, ambiguity can only last for a certain period. Information narrows possibilities. On April 1, 2026, every Twitter account in the world received the following message:
as you can see this message is longer than the allowed one hundred forty characters time and space are malleable you thought you had one hundred years but prepare for the plucking
The sender was @. The message appeared in each user’s feed at exactly the same time and in his first language, without punctuation. Because of the date most of us thought it was a hoax, but the developers of Twitter denied this vehemently. It wasn’t until a court forced them to reveal their code, which proved that a message of that length and sent by a blank user was impossible, that our doubts ceased. ##!! took bets on what the message meant. Salvador Abaroa broadcast a response into space in a language he called Bodhi Mayan, then addressed the rest of us in English, saying that in the pincers he had identified an all-powerful prehistoric fire deity, described in an old Sanskrit text as having the resemblance of mirrored black fangs, whose appearance signified the end of time. “All of us will burn,” he said, “but paradise shall be known only to those who burn willingly.” Two days later, The Tribe of Akna announced that in one month it would seal Xibalba from the world and set fire to everything and everyone in it. For the first time, its spokesman said, an entire nation would commit suicide as one. Jonestown was but a blip. As a gesture of goodwill, he said that Xibalba was offering free immolation visas to anyone who applied within the next week. The New Inevitability School condemned the plan as “offensively unethical” and inequalitist and urged an international Xibalban boycott. Nothing came of it. When the date arrived, we watched with rapt attention on live streams and from the vantage points of circling news planes as Salvador Abaroa struck flint against steel, creating the spark that caught the char cloth, starting a fire that blossomed bright crimson and in the next weeks consumed all 163,821 square kilometres of the former Republic of Suriname and all 2,500,000 of its estimated Xibalban inhabitants. Despite concerns that the fire would spread beyond Xibalba’s borders, The Tribe of Akna had been careful. There were no accidental casualties and no unplanned property damage. No borders were crossed. Once the fire burned out, reporters competed to be first to capture the mood on the ground. Paramaribo resembled the smouldering darkness of a fire pit.
It was a few days later while sitting on Bakshi’s balcony, looking up at the pincers and rereading a reproduction of @’s message—someone had spray-painted it across the wall of a building opposite Bakshi’s—that I remembered Iris. The memory was so absorbing that I didn’t notice when Bakshi slid open the balcony door and sat down beside me, but I must have been smiling because he said, “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but you look a little loony tonight. Seriously, man, you do not look sufficiently freaked out.” I’d remembered Iris before, swirling elements of her plain face, but now I also remembered her words and her theory. I turned to Bakshi, who seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, and said, “Let’s get up on the roof of this place.” He grabbed my arm and held on tightly. “I’m not going to jump, if that’s what you mean.” It wasn’t what I meant, but I asked, “why not?” He said, “I don’t know. I know we’re fucked as a species and all that, but I figure if I’m still alive I might as well see what happens next, like in a bad movie you want to see through to the end.” I promised him that I wasn’t going to jump, either. Then I scrambled inside his apartment, grabbed my hat and jacket from the closet by the front door and put them on while speed walking down the hall, toward the fire escape. I realized I’d been spending a lot of time here. The alarm went off as soon I pushed open the door with my hip but I didn’t care. When Bakshi caught up with me, I was already outside, leaping up two stairs at a time. The metal construction was rusted. The treads wobbled. On the roof, the wind nearly blew my hat off and it was so loud I could have screamed and no one would have heard me. Holding my hat in my hands, I crouched and looked out over the twinkling city spread out in front of me. It looked alive in spite of the pincers in the sky. “Let’s do something crazy,” I yelled. Bakshi was still catching his breath behind me. “What, like this isn’t crazy enough?” The NHL may have been gone but my hat still bore the Maple Leafs logo, as quaint and obsolete by then as the Weimar Republic in the summer of 1945. “When’s the last time you played ball hockey?” I asked. Bakshi crouched beside me. “You’re acting weird. And I haven’t played ball hockey in ages.” I stood up so suddenly that Bakshi almost fell over. This time I knew I was smiling. “So call your buddies,” I said. “Tell them to bring their sticks and their gear and to meet us in front of the ACC in one hour.” Bakshi patted me on the back. Toronto shone like jewels scattered over black velvet. “The ACC’s been closed for years, buddy. I think you’re really starting to lose it.” I knew it was closed. “Lose what?” I asked. “It’s closed and we’re going to break in.”
The chains broke apart like shortbread. The electricity worked. The clouds of dust made me sneeze. We used duffel bags to mark out the goals. We raced up and down the stands and bent over, wheezing at imaginary finish lines. We got into the announcer’s booth and called each other cunts through the microphone. We ran, fell and shot rubber pucks for hours. We didn’t keep score. We didn’t worry. “What about the police?” someone asked. The rest of us answered: “Screw the fucking police!”
And when everybody packed up and went home, I stayed behind.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Bakshi asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Because I have to get back so that I can shower, get changed and get to work.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“And you promise me you’ll catch a cab?”
“I’m not suicidal.”
He fixed his grip on his duffel bag. “I didn’t say you were. I was just checking.”
“I want to see the end of the movie, too,” I said.
He saluted. I watched him leave. When he was gone, my wife walked down from the nosebleeds and took a seat beside me. “There’s someone I want to tell you about,” I said. She lifted her chin like she always does when something unexpected catches her interest, and scooted closer. I put my arm across the back of her beautiful shoulders. She always liked that, even though the position drives me crazy because I tend to talk a lot with my hands. “Stuck at Leafs-Wings snorefest,” she said. “Game sucks but I love the man sitting beside me.” (January 15, 2019. Themes: hockey, love, me. Rating: 5/5). “Her name was Iris,” I said.

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2020.10.01 21:41 normancrane Iris [2/5]

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2025, Pre-

I graduated with a degree in one field, found a low paying job in another, got married, worked my way to slightly better pay, wanted to have a child, bought a Beagle named Pillow as a temporary substitute, lived in an apartment overlooking a green garbage bin that was always full of beer cans and pizza boxes, and held my wife, crying, when we found out that we couldn’t have children. Somewhere along the way my parents died and Kurt Schwaller, a physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, proved a grand theory of everything that rather than being based on the vibrations of strings, was based on a property of particles called viscous time force. I never understood the details. To me they lacked imagination. The overriding point, the experts on television told us, was that given enough data and computing power we could now predict the outcome of anything. The effect was that no one wanted to study theoretical physics and everyone wanted to make breakthroughs in data collection systems and biological hardware. Hackers created a version of Linux that ran from DNA. Western Digital released the first working holographic storage drive. The NSA, FSB, BND and other agencies rushed to put their suddenly valuable mass of unprocessed raw spy data to prognostic use. A Chinese bookmaker known only by the nick ##!! wrote a piece of Python code that could predict the outcomes of hockey games. Within a month, the NHL and KHL were scrambling to come up with ways of saving their leagues by making them more unpredictable. They introduced elements of chance: power plays without penalties, a tilting ice surface, fluctuating rules that sometimes allowed for icings and offsides and sometimes not, and, finally, a pre-game lottery by which the names of the players on both teams were put into a pot and randomly drawn into two squads. Given enough variables, the strategy did thwart the code, but the inherent unfairness of the innovations alienated the players, the draft made owners question why they were paying the salaries of superstars who played against them half of the time, and the fans simply stopped paying attention to a league full of teams for which their already dwindling loyalty had bottomed out. Besides, the code was basic. ##!! had room to expand. The KHL folded first, followed by the NHL, and then the other sports leagues, preemptively. They didn’t bother to wait until their own codes were broken. I remember seeing an interview with ##!! while this was still front page news. The reporter, a perpetually smiling big-breasted blonde with blindingly white teeth, asked him if he thought that hockey could be rescued by the creation of roving blue lines that would continually alter the relative sizes of both offensive zones and the neutral zone. ##!! answered that he didn’t know what a blue line was because he’d never watched a hockey game in his life. His voice was cold, objective, and there was something terrifyingly inhuman about the idea that a person with no knowledge of a subject could nevertheless understand it so completely. Content had become a mere input of form.
By 2025, mainstream interest in the theory of everything faded, not because the theory was wrong but because it was too right and too abstract and now there weren’t any young theoretical physicists to help explain it using cute graphics on YouTube. We consumed what we understood and passively accepted the fallout while going on with our daily lives. The people who did understand made money, but for the rest of us the consequences were less than their potential, because even with enough time, memory and microprocessors the most we could know was the what and the when, not the why. For the governments and corporations pouring taxes and tax-free earnings into complex models of world domination, that didn’t matter. They weren’t interested in cause. They were in the business of exploiting certainty to gain power. As long as they could predict lightning, they were satisfied. If they could make it, all the better. Away from the cutting edge, however, like ants or ancients, what we craved to know was where the lightning came from, what it meant, and on that issue the theory was silent. As Kurt Schwaller put it in a speech to the United Nations, “All I’ve given you is a tool—a microscope to magnify the minutes, so to speak—with which to investigate in perfect detail the entirety of our interrelations. But the investigations still have to made, ladies and gentlemen. Have a hay stack, look for the needle. Know there might not be one.”
In January, my wife and I began a fertility treatment for which we’d been saving for years. It was undoubtedly the reason we became so emotionally involved in the media attention around Aiko, the lovely, black-haired and fashionable Crown Princess of Japan, who along with her husband was going through the same ordeal that we were. For a few months, it seemed as if the whole world sat on the edges of its seat, wishing for this beautiful royal couple to conceive. And we sat on two, our own and one somewhere in an exotic Japan updated by the royal Twitter feed. It strikes me now that royalty has always fascinated the proles, a feeling that historically went in tandem with hatred, respect or awe, but it was the Japanese who held our attentions the longest and the most genuinely in the twenty-first century, when equality had more or less rendered a hereditary ruling class obsolete. The British declared themselves post-Christian in 2014 and post-Royal in 2021, the European Court of Justice ruled all other European royals invalid in 2022, and the Muslim monarchs pompously degraded themselves one-by-one into their own exiles and executions. Only the Japanese line survived, adapting to the times by refusing to take itself seriously on anything but the most superficial level. They dressed nicely, acted politely and observed a social protocol that we admired without wanting to follow it ourselves. Before he died, my father had often marvelled that the Second World War began with Japan being led by an emperor god, and ended with the American occupation forcing him to renounce his divinity. The Japanese god had died because MacArthur willed it and Hirohito spoke it. Godhood was like plaque. If your mother told you to brush your teeth, off it went, provided you used the right flavour of Colgate. Kings had once ruled by divine right. By 2025, the Crown Princess of Japan ruled our hearts merely by popular approval. She was our special friend, with whom we were all on intimate and imaginary terms. Indeed, on the day she died—on the day they all died—Princess Aiko’s was the most friended account on Facebook.
That’s why March 27, 2025, was such a joyous occasion for us. In hindsight, it’s utterly sick to associate the date with happiness of any kind, but history must always be understood in context, and the context of the announcement was a wirelessly connected world whose collective hopes came suddenly true to the jingle of a breaking news story on the BBC. I was in the kitchen sauteing onions when I heard it. Cutting them had made me cry and my eyes were still red. Then the announcer’s voice broke as he was setting up his intro, and in a video clip that was subsequently rebroadcast, downloaded and parodied close to a billion times in the one hundred thirty-two days that followed, he said: “The Crown Princess of Japan is pregnant!”
I ran to the living room and hugged my wife, who’d fallen to her knees in front of the wall-mounted monitor. Pillow was doing laps on and off the sofa. The BBC cut away from the announcer’s joyful face to a live feed from Japan. As I held my wife, her body felt warm and full of life. The top of her jeans cut into her waist. Her tears wetted the top of my shirt sleeve. Both of our phones started to buzz—emails and Twitter notifications streaming in. On the monitor, Aiko and her husband, both of their angular faces larger than life in 110” 1080p, waved to the crowd in Tokyo and the billions watching around the world. They spoke in Japanese and a woman on the BBC translated, but we hardly needed to know her exact words to understand the emotions. If them, why not also us? I knew my wife was having the same thought. We, too, could have a family. Then I smelled burning oil and the pungency of onions and I remembered my sauteing. I gently removed my arms from around my wife’s shoulders and ran back to the kitchen, still listening to Aiko’s voice and its polite English echo, and my hands must have been shaking, or else my whole body was shaking, because after I had turned down the heat I reached for the handle of the frying pan, knocked the pan off the stove top instead, and burned myself while stupidly trying to catch it before it fell, clattering, to the floor. The burned onions splattered. I’d cracked one of the kitchen tiles. My hand turned pale and I felt a numbness before my skin started to overflow with the warmth of pain. Without turning off the broadcast, my wife shooed me downstairs to the garage where we kept our car and drove me to the hospital.
The Toronto streets were raucous. Horns honked. J-pop blared. In the commotion we nearly hit a pedestrian, a middle-aged white woman pushing a baby carriage, who’d cut across Lake Shore without looking both ways. She had appeared suddenly from behind a parked transport—and my wife instinctively jerked the car from the left lane to the right, scraping our side mirror against the truck but saving two lives. The woman barely noticed. She disappeared into a crowd of Asian kids on the other side of street who were dancing to electronica and waving half a dozen Japanese flags, one of which was the Rising Sun Flag, the military flag of Imperial Japan. Clutching my wrist in the hope it would dull the pain in my hand, I wondered how many of them knew about the suffering Japanese soldiers had inflicted on countless Chinese in the name of that flag. To the right, Lake Ontario shone and sparkled in the late afternoon light. A passenger jet took off from Toronto Island Airport and climbed into the sky.
In the hospital waiting room, I sat next to a woman who was reading a movie magazine with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s face on the cover. The Cannes film festival was coming up. My wife checked me in at the reception desk. The woman beside me put down her magazine and told me that she was there with her son, as if needing to justify her presence. I affirmed by nodding. He’d hurt his leg playing soccer for a local Armenian junior boys team, she went on. I said I’d hurt myself frying onions and that I was here with my wife. She said my wife was pretty and asked if I liked movies. Without meaning to do it, I tried to guess her age—unsuccessfully—and proceeded to imagine having doggy style sex with her. She had dark eyes that barely blinked and plump thighs. When I started to feel guilty, I answered her question: sometimes I watched movies at home, but I hadn’t been to a theatre in a decade. When my wife sat down, I let the two of them talk about the woman’s son. I was having trouble concentrating. I took my phone out of my pocket and read all the new emails about the royal conception, then stared at the seconds hand going slowly around its digital clock face on my home screen, wondering why we so often emulated the limitations of analogue machines on devices that were no longer bound by them. I switched my clock type to a digital readout. Now the seconds no longer rotated but flickered away. They called my name over the crackling intercom and a nurse led me to one of the empty rooms. “How about that baby,” he said while we walked. I didn’t see his face, only the shaved back of his head. “The things they can do these days, even for infertile couples.”
I waited for over thirty minutes for a doctor. When one came in, she inspected my hand for less than ten seconds before telling me that I was fine and hinting that I shouldn’t have wasted her time by coming to the emergency room. She had high cheek bones, thin lips and bony wrists. Her tablet had a faux clipboard wallpaper. Maybe I had only misinterpreted her tone. “How about that baby,” I said.
“It’s not a baby yet,” she answered.
This time her tone was impossible to misinterpret. I was only repeating what the nurse had said, I told myself. But I didn’t say that to her. Instead, I imagined her coming home at night to an empty apartment, furnished possibly in a minimalistic Japanese or Swedish style, brewing a cup of black coffee and settling into an armchair to re-read a Simone de Beauvoir novel. I was about to imagine having sex with her when I caught hold of myself and wondered what was up with me today.
When I got back to the waiting room, my wife was no longer there—but the Armenian woman was. She pointed down the hall and told me a room number. She said that sometime after I left, my wife had gotten a cramp and started to vomit all over the floor. Someone was still mopping up. The other people in the waiting room, which was filling up, gave me tactfully dirty looks, either because I was with the vomiter or because I’d shirked my responsible by being away during the vomiting. Irrationally, I wiped my own mouth and fled down the hall.
Inside the numbered room, my wife was sitting hunched over on an observation bed, slowly kicking her feet back and forth. “Are you OK?” I asked.
“Come here,” she said.
I did, and sat beside her on the bed. I repeated my question. She still smelled a little of vomit, but she looked up at me like the world’s luckiest puppy, her eyes big and glassy, and said, “Norman, I’m pregnant.”
That’s all she could say—
That’s all either of us could say for a while.
We just sat there on the examination bed like a pair of best friends on a swing set after dark, dangling our feet and taking turns pulling each other closer. “Are you sure?” I finally asked. My voice was hoarse. I sounded like a frog.
“Yes.” She kicked the heel of my shoe with the rubber toe of hers. “We’re going to have a baby.”
It was beautiful. The most wonderful moment of my life. I remembered the day we met and our little marriage ceremony. I thought about being a father, and felt positively terrified, and about being a better husband, and felt absolutely determined, and as I kissed my wife there in the little hospital room with its sterile green walls, I imagined making love to her. I kept imagining it as we drove back to the apartment through partying Toronto streets. “Not since the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup!” the radio announcer proclaimed—before I turned him off. I also turned off my phone and my wife’s phone. No more buzzing. In the underground parking lot, I leaned over and licked her soft neck. I pushed her through the open apartment door and straight into the living room, onto the sofa, and wished I could be the cushions beneath her thighs and the air invading her lungs. Pillow barked a greeting and wagged her tail. The monitor on the wall showed talking heads and fertility experts. I unbuttoned my wife’s blouse. She unbuckled my belt. The picture on the monitor dissolved to a close-up of Aiko’s smiling face. My wife and I took turns sliding off each other’s jeans. I kissed her bare stomach. She ran her hands through my hair. I dimmed the lights. We made love.
When we were done it was starry nighttime. My wife bandaged my hand. We turned off the television. The silence was refreshing because people on television too often talk like they’re trying to push you off a ledge. My wife excused me from the duty of making supper because of my ineptness with the frying pan, and handed me a leash instead. I hooked it up to Pillow’s collar and took her outside. While she peed, I gazed up at the sky and identified the Big Dipper. It and the Little Dipper were the only constellations I could identify without using a smartphone app. After Pillow finished, we ducked into a nook and I peed, too. The March sky was amazingly clear of smog. My urine splashed on the concrete and I felt embarrassingly primal. I breathed in, shook out the last drops and zipped up.
In the apartment, we ate grilled portabella mushrooms topped with parmesan and parsley and drank brown rice tea. My wife had changed into fresh clothes. I had changed into fresh skin. Every time she said “mom” and “dad”, the words discharged trickles of electricity up and down my peripheral nervous system. We were happy; we were going to have a baby. The whole world was happy; the Crown Princess of Japan of was going to have a baby. The sounds of drunken urban celebrations drifted in through our bedroom window all night like fog, and we barely slept.

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2020.09.30 23:05 catdogblackwhite12 Just found out my ex from 2 years ago gave me HSV2, Please help me feel better!

Hi. So I was dating a guy for around a year two years ago. We had been dating for around 3 months when I recall having pain during sex. I assumed it was from friction and so I said I needed to stop. A few days went by and it still hurt and burned when I peed. I thought maybe it was a UTI since I had never had one, but all of my friends had and described it like this. I had it for around 10 days so I went to a doctor and they told me everything was normal and it was most likely yeast. Since then I've had a little cut pop up down there every now and then, when I say every now and then I mean it's so far and few between I didn't think much of it, just assumed it was yeast.
Cut to 3 weeks ago and I went to get an annual pap smear. I happened to have one of the cuts at the time and showed my gyno. She said it just looked like an abrasion but she would test it just to see. I got a call last week saying I tested positive for HSV2. I know now it had to have been from him bc. everything just adds up. I'm not telling him because he's already made my life hell and now he's really ruined it I feel.
How am I ever going to find love again? Who would want to be with me now? I feel unlovable and unworthy and just plain hopeless. I don't want anyone to know for fear of being labeled gross and a slut, which I'm not. My parents would be even more devastated than me and I really could use some reassurance right now
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2020.09.30 18:25 normancrane Iris [1/3]

Table of Contents

Part 1 <-- You are here.
Part 2
Part 3 (Soon)

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Iris

The first person to ever tell me the theory was Iris. It was nighttime in 2015, and we were lying on an old mattress on the roof of a four-storey apartment building in a university town in southern Ontario. A party was going on downstairs to which we’d both been invited and from whose monotony we’d helped each other escape through an ordinary white door that said “No entrance”. It was summer. I remember the heat waves and the radiating warmth of the asphalt. Our semester was over and we had started existing until the next one started in the way all students exist when they don’t spend their months off at home or touring Europe. I could feel the bass thumping from below. I could see the infinite stars in the cloudless sky. The sound seemed so disconnected from the image. Iris and I weren’t dating, we were just friends, but she leaned toward me on the mattress that night until I could feel her breathing on my neck, and, with my eyes pointed spaceward, she began: “What if…”
Back then it was pure speculation, a wild fantasy inspired by the THC from the joint we were passing back and forth and uninhibited by the beer we’d already drunk. There was nothing scientific or even philosophical about Iris’ telling of it. The theory was a flight of imagination influenced by her name and personalized by the genetic defect of her eyes, which her doctors had said would render her blind by fifty. Even thirty-five seemed far away. It’s heartbreaking now to know that Iris never did live to experience her blindness—her own genetic fate interrupted by the genetic fate of the world—but that night, imagination, the quality Einstein called more important than knowledge, lit up both our brains in synapses of neon as we shared our joint, sucking it into glowing nothingness, Iris paranoid that she’d wake up one morning in eternal darkness despite the doctors’ assurances that her blindness would occur gradually, and me fearing that I would never find love, never share my life with anyone, but soothed at least by Iris’ words and her impossible ideas because Einstein was right, and imagination is magical enough to cure anything.

2025, Pre-

I graduated with a degree in one field, found a low paying job in another, got married, worked my way to slightly better pay, wanted to have a child, bought a Beagle named Pillow as a temporary substitute, lived in an apartment overlooking a green garbage bin that was always full of beer cans and pizza boxes, and held my wife, crying, when we found out that we couldn’t have children. Somewhere along the way my parents died and Kurt Schwaller, a physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, proved a grand theory of everything that rather than being based on the vibrations of strings, was based on a property of particles called viscous time force. I never understood the details. To me they lacked imagination. The overriding point, the experts on television told us, was that given enough data and computing power we could now predict the outcome of anything. The effect was that no one wanted to study theoretical physics and everyone wanted to make breakthroughs in data collection systems and biological hardware. Hackers created a version of Linux that ran from DNA. Western Digital released the first working holographic storage drive. The NSA, FSB, BND and other agencies rushed to put their suddenly valuable mass of unprocessed raw spy data to prognostic use. A Chinese bookmaker known only by the nick ##!! wrote a piece of Python code that could predict the outcomes of hockey games. Within a month, the NHL and KHL were scrambling to come up with ways of saving their leagues by making them more unpredictable. They introduced elements of chance: power plays without penalties, a tilting ice surface, fluctuating rules that sometimes allowed for icings and offsides and sometimes not, and, finally, a pre-game lottery by which the names of the players on both teams were put into a pot and randomly drawn into two squads. Given enough variables, the strategy did thwart the code, but the inherent unfairness of the innovations alienated the players, the draft made owners question why they were paying the salaries of superstars who played against them half of the time, and the fans simply stopped paying attention to a league full of teams for which their already dwindling loyalty had bottomed out. Besides, the code was basic. ##!! had room to expand. The KHL folded first, followed by the NHL, and then the other sports leagues, preemptively. They didn’t bother to wait until their own codes were broken. I remember seeing an interview with ##!! while this was still front page news. The reporter, a perpetually smiling big-breasted blonde with blindingly white teeth, asked him if he thought that hockey could be rescued by the creation of roving blue lines that would continually alter the relative sizes of both offensive zones and the neutral zone. ##!! answered that he didn’t know what a blue line was because he’d never watched a hockey game in his life. His voice was cold, objective, and there was something terrifyingly inhuman about the idea that a person with no knowledge of a subject could nevertheless understand it so completely. Content had become a mere input of form.
By 2025, mainstream interest in the theory of everything faded, not because the theory was wrong but because it was too right and too abstract and now there weren’t any young theoretical physicists to help explain it using cute graphics on YouTube. We consumed what we understood and passively accepted the fallout while going on with our daily lives. The people who did understand made money, but for the rest of us the consequences were less than their potential, because even with enough time, memory and microprocessors the most we could know was the what and the when, not the why. For the governments and corporations pouring taxes and tax-free earnings into complex models of world domination, that didn’t matter. They weren’t interested in cause. They were in the business of exploiting certainty to gain power. As long as they could predict lightning, they were satisfied. If they could make it, all the better. Away from the cutting edge, however, like ants or ancients, what we craved to know was where the lightning came from, what it meant, and on that issue the theory was silent. As Kurt Schwaller put it in a speech to the United Nations, “All I’ve given you is a tool—a microscope to magnify the minutes, so to speak—with which to investigate in perfect detail the entirety of our interrelations. But the investigations still have to made, ladies and gentlemen. Have a hay stack, look for the needle. Know there might not be one.”
In January, my wife and I began a fertility treatment for which we’d been saving for years. It was undoubtedly the reason we became so emotionally involved in the media attention around Aiko, the lovely, black-haired and fashionable Crown Princess of Japan, who along with her husband was going through the same ordeal that we were. For a few months, it seemed as if the whole world sat on the edges of its seat, wishing for this beautiful royal couple to conceive. And we sat on two, our own and one somewhere in an exotic Japan updated by the royal Twitter feed. It strikes me now that royalty has always fascinated the proles, a feeling that historically went in tandem with hatred, respect or awe, but it was the Japanese who held our attentions the longest and the most genuinely in the twenty-first century, when equality had more or less rendered a hereditary ruling class obsolete. The British declared themselves post-Christian in 2014 and post-Royal in 2021, the European Court of Justice ruled all other European royals invalid in 2022, and the Muslim monarchs pompously degraded themselves one-by-one into their own exiles and executions. Only the Japanese line survived, adapting to the times by refusing to take itself seriously on anything but the most superficial level. They dressed nicely, acted politely and observed a social protocol that we admired without wanting to follow it ourselves. Before he died, my father had often marvelled that the Second World War began with Japan being led by an emperor god, and ended with the American occupation forcing him to renounce his divinity. The Japanese god had died because MacArthur willed it and Hirohito spoke it. Godhood was like plaque. If your mother told you to brush your teeth, off it went, provided you used the right flavour of Colgate. Kings had once ruled by divine right. By 2025, the Crown Princess of Japan ruled our hearts merely by popular approval. She was our special friend, with whom we were all on intimate and imaginary terms. Indeed, on the day she died—on the day they all died—Princess Aiko’s was the most friended account on Facebook.
That’s why March 27, 2025, was such a joyous occasion for us. In hindsight, it’s utterly sick to associate the date with happiness of any kind, but history must always be understood in context, and the context of the announcement was a wirelessly connected world whose collective hopes came suddenly true to the jingle of a breaking news story on the BBC. I was in the kitchen sauteing onions when I heard it. Cutting them had made me cry and my eyes were still red. Then the announcer’s voice broke as he was setting up his intro, and in a video clip that was subsequently rebroadcast, downloaded and parodied close to a billion times in the one hundred thirty-two days that followed, he said: “The Crown Princess of Japan is pregnant!”
I ran to the living room and hugged my wife, who’d fallen to her knees in front of the wall-mounted monitor. Pillow was doing laps on and off the sofa. The BBC cut away from the announcer’s joyful face to a live feed from Japan. As I held my wife, her body felt warm and full of life. The top of her jeans cut into her waist. Her tears wetted the top of my shirt sleeve. Both of our phones started to buzz—emails and Twitter notifications streaming in. On the monitor, Aiko and her husband, both of their angular faces larger than life in 110” 1080p, waved to the crowd in Tokyo and the billions watching around the world. They spoke in Japanese and a woman on the BBC translated, but we hardly needed to know her exact words to understand the emotions. If them, why not also us? I knew my wife was having the same thought. We, too, could have a family. Then I smelled burning oil and the pungency of onions and I remembered my sauteing. I gently removed my arms from around my wife’s shoulders and ran back to the kitchen, still listening to Aiko’s voice and its polite English echo, and my hands must have been shaking, or else my whole body was shaking, because after I had turned down the heat I reached for the handle of the frying pan, knocked the pan off the stove top instead, and burned myself while stupidly trying to catch it before it fell, clattering, to the floor. The burned onions splattered. I’d cracked one of the kitchen tiles. My hand turned pale and I felt a numbness before my skin started to overflow with the warmth of pain. Without turning off the broadcast, my wife shooed me downstairs to the garage where we kept our car and drove me to the hospital.
The Toronto streets were raucous. Horns honked. J-pop blared. In the commotion we nearly hit a pedestrian, a middle-aged white woman pushing a baby carriage, who’d cut across Lake Shore without looking both ways. She had appeared suddenly from behind a parked transport—and my wife instinctively jerked the car from the left lane to the right, scraping our side mirror against the truck but saving two lives. The woman barely noticed. She disappeared into a crowd of Asian kids on the other side of street who were dancing to electronica and waving half a dozen Japanese flags, one of which was the Rising Sun Flag, the military flag of Imperial Japan. Clutching my wrist in the hope it would dull the pain in my hand, I wondered how many of them knew about the suffering Japanese soldiers had inflicted on countless Chinese in the name of that flag. To the right, Lake Ontario shone and sparkled in the late afternoon light. A passenger jet took off from Toronto Island Airport and climbed into the sky.
In the hospital waiting room, I sat next to a woman who was reading a movie magazine with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s face on the cover. The Cannes film festival was coming up. My wife checked me in at the reception desk. The woman beside me put down her magazine and told me that she was there with her son, as if needing to justify her presence. I affirmed by nodding. He’d hurt his leg playing soccer for a local Armenian junior boys team, she went on. I said I’d hurt myself frying onions and that I was here with my wife. She said my wife was pretty and asked if I liked movies. Without meaning to do it, I tried to guess her age—unsuccessfully—and proceeded to imagine having doggy style sex with her. She had dark eyes that barely blinked and plump thighs. When I started to feel guilty, I answered her question: sometimes I watched movies at home, but I hadn’t been to a theatre in a decade. When my wife sat down, I let the two of them talk about the woman’s son. I was having trouble concentrating. I took my phone out of my pocket and read all the new emails about the royal conception, then stared at the seconds hand going slowly around its digital clock face on my home screen, wondering why we so often emulated the limitations of analogue machines on devices that were no longer bound by them. I switched my clock type to a digital readout. Now the seconds no longer rotated but flickered away. They called my name over the crackling intercom and a nurse led me to one of the empty rooms. “How about that baby,” he said while we walked. I didn’t see his face, only the shaved back of his head. “The things they can do these days, even for infertile couples.”
I waited for over thirty minutes for a doctor. When one came in, she inspected my hand for less than ten seconds before telling me that I was fine and hinting that I shouldn’t have wasted her time by coming to the emergency room. She had high cheek bones, thin lips and bony wrists. Her tablet had a faux clipboard wallpaper. Maybe I had only misinterpreted her tone. “How about that baby,” I said.
“It’s not a baby yet,” she answered.
This time her tone was impossible to misinterpret. I was only repeating what the nurse had said, I told myself. But I didn’t say that to her. Instead, I imagined her coming home at night to an empty apartment, furnished possibly in a minimalistic Japanese or Swedish style, brewing a cup of black coffee and settling into an armchair to re-read a Simone de Beauvoir novel. I was about to imagine having sex with her when I caught hold of myself and wondered what was up with me today.
When I got back to the waiting room, my wife was no longer there—but the Armenian woman was. She pointed down the hall and told me a room number. She said that sometime after I left, my wife had gotten a cramp and started to vomit all over the floor. Someone was still mopping up. The other people in the waiting room, which was filling up, gave me tactfully dirty looks, either because I was with the vomiter or because I’d shirked my responsible by being away during the vomiting. Irrationally, I wiped my own mouth and fled down the hall.
Inside the numbered room, my wife was sitting hunched over on an observation bed, slowly kicking her feet back and forth. “Are you OK?” I asked.
“Come here,” she said.
I did, and sat beside her on the bed. I repeated my question. She still smelled a little of vomit, but she looked up at me like the world’s luckiest puppy, her eyes big and glassy, and said, “Norman, I’m pregnant.”
That’s all she could say—
That’s all either of us could say for a while.
We just sat there on the examination bed like a pair of best friends on a swing set after dark, dangling our feet and taking turns pulling each other closer. “Are you sure?” I finally asked. My voice was hoarse. I sounded like a frog.
“Yes.” She kicked the heel of my shoe with the rubber toe of hers. “We’re going to have a baby.”
It was beautiful. The most wonderful moment of my life. I remembered the day we met and our little marriage ceremony. I thought about being a father, and felt positively terrified, and about being a better husband, and felt absolutely determined, and as I kissed my wife there in the little hospital room with its sterile green walls, I imagined making love to her. I kept imagining it as we drove back to the apartment through partying Toronto streets. “Not since the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup!” the radio announcer proclaimed—before I turned him off. I also turned off my phone and my wife’s phone. No more buzzing. In the underground parking lot, I leaned over and licked her soft neck. I pushed her through the open apartment door and straight into the living room, onto the sofa, and wished I could be the cushions beneath her thighs and the air invading her lungs. Pillow barked a greeting and wagged her tail. The monitor on the wall showed talking heads and fertility experts. I unbuttoned my wife’s blouse. She unbuckled my belt. The picture on the monitor dissolved to a close-up of Aiko’s smiling face. My wife and I took turns sliding off each other’s jeans. I kissed her bare stomach. She ran her hands through my hair. I dimmed the lights. We made love.
When we were done it was starry nighttime. My wife bandaged my hand. We turned off the television. The silence was refreshing because people on television too often talk like they’re trying to push you off a ledge. My wife excused me from the duty of making supper because of my ineptness with the frying pan, and handed me a leash instead. I hooked it up to Pillow’s collar and took her outside. While she peed, I gazed up at the sky and identified the Big Dipper. It and the Little Dipper were the only constellations I could identify without using a smartphone app. After Pillow finished, we ducked into a nook and I peed, too. The March sky was amazingly clear of smog. My urine splashed on the concrete and I felt embarrassingly primal. I breathed in, shook out the last drops and zipped up.
In the apartment, we ate grilled portabella mushrooms topped with parmesan and parsley and drank brown rice tea. My wife had changed into fresh clothes. I had changed into fresh skin. Every time she said “mom” and “dad”, the words discharged trickles of electricity up and down my peripheral nervous system. We were happy; we were going to have a baby. The whole world was happy; the Crown Princess of Japan of was going to have a baby. The sounds of drunken urban celebrations drifted in through our bedroom window all night like fog, and we barely slept.

2025, Post-

Gold is precious because it’s rare. Now close your eyes and imagine that the next time you open them, everything in your world will be golden: your kitchen table, the bananas you bought on the way home from work yesterday, your bottle of shampoo, even your teeth. Now blink. You’re not alone. The market’s flooded. Gold isn’t rare anymore. It’s everywhere. Which means that it’s worth about as much as its weight in mud, because there’s nothing intrinsically good about gold. Can you write on your gold table? It scratches. Surely you can’t eat your golden fruit. Your shampoo’s not a liquid anymore, so your hair’s already starting to get greasy. And if you do find something to eat that’s not made of metal, how long will those gold teeth last before you grind them into finely polished nubs?
For two days the Earth glittered.
For two days we lived in a daze of perfection.
And then, on March 29, a researcher working with lab mice at Stanford University noticed something odd. All of his female mice were pregnant. He contacted several of his colleagues who were also working with mice, rats, and monkeys. All their female animals were pregnant, too. Some of the colleagues had wives and girlfriends. They took innocent-seeming trips to their local pharmacies and bought up all the available pregnancy tests. At home, women took test after test and all of them showed positive. By midnight, the researchers had drafted a joint letter and sent copies of it to the major newspapers in their countries. On the morning of March 30, the news hit.
When I checked my Twitter feed after breakfast, #impregtoo was already trending. Throughout the day, Reddit lit up with increasingly bizarre accounts of pregnancies that physically couldn’t be but, apparently, were. Post-menopausal women, celibate women, prepubescent girls, women who’d had their uteruses removed only to discover that their reproductive systems had spontaneously regenerated like the severed tales of lizards. Existing early stage pregnancies aborted themselves and re-fertilized, like a system rebooting. Later term pregnancies developed Matryoshka-like pregnancies nested within pregnancies. After a while, I stopped reading, choosing to spend time with my wife instead. As night fell, we reclined on the sofa, her head on my chest, Pillow curled up in our tangle of feet, the television off, and the streets of Toronto eerily quiet save for the intermittent blaring of far off sirens, as any lingering doubts about the reality of the situation melted away like the brief, late season snow that floated gently down from the sky, blackening the streets.
On March 30, the World Health Organization issued a communique confirming that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all female mammals were pregnant. No cause was identified. It urged any woman who was not pregnant to step forward immediately. Otherwise, the communique offered no guidance. It indicated merely that the organization was already working with governments around the world to prepare for a massive influx of human population in approximately nine months’ time. Most places, including Toronto, reacted with stunned panic. Non-essential workplaces and schools were decried closed. People were urged to stay indoors. Hospitals prepared for possible complications. A few supermarkets ran out of canned food and there were several bank runs, but nothing happened that the existing systems couldn’t handle. Populations kept their nerve. Highway and air traffic increased slightly as people rushed to be with their friends, families and gynaecologists. We spent the entire day in our apartment and let Pillow pee in the tub. Except for the conspiracy theorists, who believed that the Earth was being cosmically pollinated by aliens, most of us weren’t scared to go outside, but we were scared of the unknown, and we preferred to process that fear in the comfort of our own dens.
The New York Times ran a front page editorial arguing for an evaluation of the situation using Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything. In conjunction with The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Wikipedia Foundation, a website was set up asking users for technical help, monetary donations and the sharing of any surplus computing power.
The project quickly ran into problems. To accurately predict anything, the theory of everything needed sufficient data, and, on April 2, cryptome.org published a series of leaked emails between the French Minister of Health and a high-ranking member of World Health Organization that proved the latter’s communique had been disingenuous at best. Externally, the World Health Organization had concluded that all female mammals were pregnant. That remained true. However, it had failed to admit an even more baffling development: the wombs of all female mammals had inexplicably become impenetrable to all rays and materials that had so far been tried against them. For all intents and purposes, there was no way to see inside the womb, or to destroy it. The only way to revert the body to its natural form, to terminate the pregnancy, was to kill the woman—an experiment that, according to the high-ranking member of the World Health Organization, the French government had helped conduct on unwilling women in Mali. Both parties issued repeated denials until a video surfaced showing the murders. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. They spun their denials into arguments about the necessity of sacrificing lives for the greater good.
Reminded once again of the deception inherent in politics, many turned to religion, but the mainstream religions were hesitant to react. They offered few opinions and no answers. The fringe religions split into two camps. Some leaders welcomed this development, the greatest of all known miracles, while others denounced the same as a universal and unnatural punishment for our collective sins of hedonism, egoism and pride. The most successful of all was the Tribe of Akna, a vaguely mystical Maya revival cult that sprang up seemingly overnight and was led by a Guatemalan freelance programmer named Salvador Abaroa. Although it originated in Mexico City, the Tribe spread as quickly across the world as the computer viruses that Abaroa was notorious for creating. On the Tribe’s homepage, Abaroa could be seen striking an antique brass gong and saying in Spanish-tinged English, “Like energy, life is never destroyed. Every one of us plays an integral part of the cosmic ecosystem. Every man, woman and virus.” Elsewhere on the website, you could buy self-published theological textbooks, listen to scratchy recordings of speeches by Alan Watts and read about the hypothesis that Maya thought was deeply connected to Buddhism because the Mayans had crossed the Pacific Ocean and colonized Asia.
But despite the apparent international cooperation happening at the highest levels, the first week of April was an atomizing period for the so-called people on the ground. We hunkered down. Most personal communication was digital. My wife and I exchanged emails with her parents and sister, but we met no one face-to-face, not even on Skype. We neither invited our neighbours to dinner nor were invited by them, despite how easy it was to walk down the hall and knock. I read far more than I wrote, and even when I did write, responding to a blog post or news story, I found it easier to relate to strangers than to the people I knew. My wife said I had a high tolerance for solitude. “Who do you know in the city?” she asked. Although we’d been living here together for three years, she still considered Toronto mine. She was the stranger, I was the native. I said that I knew a few people from work. She told me to call one of them I’d never called before. I did, and the next day’s sky was cloudless and sunny and there were five of us in the apartment: my wife and I, my friend Bakshi and his wife Jacinda, and their daughter, Greta. Greta drank apple juice while the rest of us drank wine, and all five of us gorged ourselves on freshly baked peach cobbler, laughing at silly faces and cracking immature jokes. It hardly registered for me that the majority of the room was unstoppably pregnant, but wasn’t that the point: to forget—if only for a few hours? Instead of watching the BBC, we streamed BDRips of Hayao Miyazaki movies from The Pirate Bay. Porco Rosso ruled the skies, castles flew, a Catbus arrived at its magical stop. Then Bakshi’s phone rang, and he excused himself from the table to take the call. When he returned, his face was grey. “What’s the matter?” Jacinda asked him. He was still holding the phone to his ear. “It’s Kurt Schwaller,” he said. “They just found his body. They think he killed himself.”
submitted by normancrane to stayawake [link] [comments]


2020.09.30 16:13 sapphiretrust Step 1 237 and the humongous rise (lol) to a 238 CK

Hi all,
Wanted to do a write-up for all the people who only see 280 write-ups here (-__-)
I'm a US-IMG, my OET is scheduled for two weeks from now and I'm hoping to match into IM by next March.
Prep Time: 3 months, took my Step 1 in June after a year of prep and I wanted to take CK in time to apply for match.
Resources:
Mainly UW and Dr. Emma Holliday youtube vids and Divine Intervention Podcasts.
I tried the Onlinemeded videos but it wasn't as useful as getting through questions. It wasn't like Step 1 where I depended on BNB to learn the material anew, this was a jump-off Step 1. So honestly, the best prep was Step 1. There were some PBS for the heme/onc q's and I was like yay we'll never be rid of it haha.
I would do 1-2 blocks at the beginning of my prep and increased slowly. By the last 2 weeks, I was doing 4-5 blocks because I didn't even think I could finish one round by my test date. I believe the increase from my UWSA 1 and 2 can be attributed to forcing 5and sometimes even 6 blocks of UW. I know that doing 200+ q's is not super practical and I probably missed the finer points on revision, but the sheer amount of questions I was looking at per day helped me to see patterns and focus better during my SA 2. During my jogs/errands/cooking, I would listen to the Emma Holliday lectures and choice Divine Intervention Podcasts.
https://www.reddit.com/Step2/comments/h12nyhow_to_use_the_divine_intervention_podcasts_from/ ---This is a great post by the elusive man himself. I thought the risk factors, and the 3rd year medicine shelf review series (ep. 29-32 i think?) were really helpful.

Test Day:
Slept well the previous night. I took step 1 with a mask because of 'rona so it wasn't a new experience for me. Practice wearing one during your prep days just to see how uncomfortable it is! I had protein bars and chocolate during my breaks. Took a break each section and peed way too often lol. The test itself was hard of course, but after reading so many posts on this subreddit about how crazy vague and insane it is, I was (at least mentally) prepared for the randomness, even if I ended up guessing lmao. There were a couple drug ads, I thought the randy Neill biostats youtube videos helped but because of time constraints/me sucking at these types of q's I think I mainly ended up guessing. I ran out of time on 3/4 blocks where I ended up not having time to review my marked questions. Mostly it feels like a fever dream and I'm glad I never have to take CK again.
Post Test:
Didn't look up any CK stuff, did the same for Step 1 and that was a great decision lol. I started my ERAS stuff and compiling LOR's so I kept busy and tried not to dwell on what happened.
Result: I am pretty happy with this score given that I honestly thought I had failed! I have been up since midnight with fitful bouts of sleep and dreams of me opening the score report(-_-) The score discrepancy between my UWSA 1 and 2 gave me tons and tons of anxiety but I'm pleased that I at least got a point higher than Step 1! I wanted to get my CK score back before applying so the timing was a bit crunched but I'm content with my result.
Thank you to this subreddit for helpful advice and tips!!
Real deal: 238 (9/12)
Step 1: 237 (June 2020)
UW%: 58% one pass only
Nbme 6: didn't do
Nbme 7: 203 (5 wks out)
Nbme 8: 204 (4 wks out)
New free 120: 64% (2 wks out)
UWSA1: 214 (13 days out)
UWSA2: 244 (1 wk out)
Old free 120: 80% (3 days out)
submitted by sapphiretrust to Step2 [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 18:32 EmployedorNah Strange Preemployment Test Situation

So I had to take a preemployment drug test at the end of August, which I knew I wouldn’t pass (heavy concentrates smoker for years). I talked to my doctor about it, and he gave me a Marinol prescription, so when the MRO called, I’d have a viable reason for THC in my system. So I took the test, peed dirty, and waited for the call from the MRO. The call came about a week later, and I gave them my prescription number for the Marinol. The MRO asked if I had ever consumed plant-based THC, and I said no. To my surprise, the MRO told me they were going to do further testing on my sample (mc/gs?) to test for plant-based THC (thc-v), so they could be sure I’m taking Marinol and not using plant-derived THC. At this point, I just agree and get off the call. My HR person calls me the next day to let me know my hire date would be moved out a week because the testing facility is doing further testing of my sample. That was September 3rd. I haven’t heard from the testing center or HR since, and I’ve been working as normal. I still haven’t signed a contract (neither of the other new hires have either), and I still haven’t received my first paycheck (other new hires got theirs a few days ago).
My questions are: wtf happened here? Did I miraculously not have thc-v in my system? Are they still doing the testing? Is my employer ignoring my positive thc result? When can I exhale/feel like I have this job secured?
Edit: I know I probably should’ve used QF but what’s done is done
submitted by EmployedorNah to drugtesthelp [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 03:28 Napkxng The first time I really clicked with a girl and she was honest and mature enough to say she's not over her ex... How do I recover

I never would have thought to ever post anything like this ever lol.
I'm 21m, I'm old af to not have ever been in a relationship but it is what it is. We met in person and she asked me for my snap and we talked and we both were obsessed with how well we were together and how close we felt and everything. I'm not the cutest cat so I wad really glad cos we talked about some deep shi from the start and it was easy, and she's way out of my league too.
My friend who I know her from was telling me to be careful because she likes me not in that way and she really peed me off after saying that. But I feel like she was looking out for me and when I slightly tried to trigger the convo about exes she said she should be honest and she's not over him.
I've never had exes and never been in any relationship or date etc but I do know the feeling of thinking about someone a lot.
I feel kinda fkd because she was one of the only people I've ever clicked proper with and it just sucks so so bad rn.
She did say it was fresh and maybe over time but I don't wanna be on the sideline watching and feel like that.
Im a kinda weird guy, some say weird in a funny good way but I find it hard to super connect with people and i really don't think I'll meet anyone similar.
submitted by Napkxng to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2020.09.28 21:18 normancrane Iris [3/3]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 <-- You are here.
I awoke to a world without women.
I rolled off the bed into sore thighs and guilt, got up to emptiness that echoed the slightest noise, and left my wife’s clothes on the sheets without thinking that eventually I’d have to pack them into a plastic bag and slide them down the garbage chute. I felt magnified and hollow. In the kitchen, I used the stove top as a table because the actual table had my wife’s tablet on it, and spilled instant coffee. What I didn’t spill I drank in a few gulps, the way I used to drink ice cold milk as a boy. I stood in front of the living room window for a while before realizing I was naked, then realizing that it didn’t matter because men changed in front of each other at the pool and peed next to one another into urinals in public restrooms, and there weren’t any women to hide from, no one to offend. The world, I told myself, was now a sprawling men’s pisser, so I slammed the window open and pissed.
I wanted to call someone—to tell them that my wife was dead, because that’s a duty owed by the living—but whom could I call: her sister, her parents? Her sister was dead. Her father had a dead wife and two dead daughters. There was nothing to say. Everyone knew. I called my wife’s father anyway. Was he still my father-in-law now that I was a widower? He didn’t accept the connection. Widower: a word loses all but historical meaning when there are no alternatives. If all animals were dogs, we’d purge one of those words from our vocabulary. We were all widowers. It was synonymous with man. I switched on the television and stared, crying, at a montage of photographs showing the bloody landscapes of cities, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and churches, all under the tasteless headline: “International Pop”. Would we clean it up, these remnants of the people we loved? Could we even use the same buildings, knowing what had happened in them? The illusion of practical thinking pushed my feeling of emptiness away. I missed arms wrapping around me from behind while I stared through rain streaked windows. I missed barking and a wagging tail that hit my leg whenever I was standing too close. Happiness seemed impossible. I called Bakshi because I needed confirmation that I still had a voice. “They’re the lucky ones,” he said right after I’d introduced myself. “They’re out. We’re the fools still locked in, and now we’re all alone.”
For three weeks, I expected my wife to show up at the apartment door. I removed her clothes from the bed and stuffed them into a garbage bag, but kept the garbage bag in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall. I probably would have kept a dead body in the freezer if I had one and it fit. As a city and as a world, those were grim, disorganized weeks for us. Nobody worked. I don’t know what we did. Sat around and drank, smoked. And we called each other, often out of the blue. Every day, I received a call from someone I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years. The conversations all followed a pattern. There was no catching up and no explanation of lost time, just a question like “How are you holding up?” followed by a thoughtless answer (“Fine, I guess. And you?”) followed by an exchange of details about the women we’d lost. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, teachers, students, co-workers. We talked about the colour of their hair, their senses of humour, their favourite movies. We said nothing about ourselves, choosing instead to inhabit the personas of those whom we’d loved. In the hallway, I would put on my wife’s coats but never look at myself in the mirror. I wore her winter hats in the middle of July. Facebook became a graveyard, with the gender field separating the mourners from the dead.
The World Health Organization issued a communique stating that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all the women in the world were dead, but it called for any woman still alive to come forward immediately. The language of the communique was as sterile as the Earth. Nobody came forward. The World Wildlife Fund created an inventory of all mammalian species that listed in ascending order how long each species would exist. Humans were on the bottom. Both the World Health Organization and the World Wildlife Fund predicted that unless significant technological progress occurred in the field of fertility within the next fifty years, the last human, a theoretical boy named Philip born into a theoretical developed country on March 26, 2025, would die in 93 years. On the day of his death, Philip would be the last remaining mammal—although not necessarily animal—on Earth. No organization or government has ever officially stated that July 4, 2025, was the most destructive day in recorded history, on the morning of which, Eastern Time, four billion out of a total of eight billion people ceased to exist as anything more than memories. What killed them was neither an act of war nor an act of terrorism. Neither was it human negligence. There was no one to blame and no one to prosecute. In the western countries, where the majority of people no longer believed in any religion, we could not even call it an act of God. So we responded by calling it nothing at all.
And, like nothing, our lives persisted. We ate, we slept and we adapted. After the first wave of suicides ended, we hosed off what the rain hadn’t already washed away and began to reorganize the systems on which our societies ran. It was a challenge tempered only slightly in countries where women had not made up a significant portion of the workforce. We held new elections, formed me boards of directors and slowed down the assembly lines and bus schedules to make it possible for our communities to keep running. There was less food in the supermarkets, but we also needed less food. Instead of two trains we ran one, but one sufficed. I don’t remember the day when I finally took the black garbage bag from its resting place and walked it to the chute. “How are you holding up?” a male voice would say on the street. “Fine, I guess. And you?” I’d answer. ##!! wrote a piece of Python code to predict the box office profitability of new movies, in which real actors played alongside computer-generated actresses. The code was only partially successful. Because while it did accurately predict the success of new movies in relation to one other, it failed to include the overwhelming popularity of re-releases of films from the past—films starring Bette Davis, Giulietta Masina, Meryl Streep: women who at least on screen were still flesh and blood. Theatres played retrospectives. On Amazon, books by female authors topped the charts. Sales of albums by women vocalists surged. We thirsted for another sex. I watched, read and listened like everyone else, and in between I cherished any media on which I found images or recordings of my wife. I was angry for not having made more. I looked at the same photos and watched the same clips over and over again. I memorized my wife’s Facebook timeline and tagged all her Tweets by date, theme and my own rating. When I went out, I would talk to the air as if she was walking beside me, sometimes quoting her actual words as answers to my questions and sometimes inventing my own as if she was a beloved character in an imagined novel. When people looked at me like I was crazy, I didn’t care. I wasn’t the only one. But, more importantly, my wife meant more to me than they did. I remembered times when we’d stroll through the park or down downtown sidewalks and I would be too ashamed to kiss her in the presence of strangers. Now, I would tell her that I love her in the densest crowd. I would ask her whether I should buy ketchup or mustard in the condiments aisle. She helped me pick out my clothes in the morning. She convinced me to eat healthy and exercise.
In November, I was in Bakshi’s apartment for the first time, waiting for a pizza delivery boy, when one of Bakshi’s friends who was browsing Reddit told us that the Tribe of Akna was starting a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to buy the Republic of Suriname, rename it Xibalba and close its borders for all except the enlightened. Xibalba would have no laws, Salvador Abaroa said in a message on the site. He was banging his gong as he did. Everything would be legal, and anyone who pledged $100 would receive a two-week visa to this new "Mayan Buddhist Eden". If you pledged over $10,000, you would receive citizenship. “Everything in life is destroyed by energy,” Abaroa said. “But let the energy enlighten you before it consumes your body. Xibalba is finite life unbound.” Bakshi’s phone buzzed. The pizza boy had sent an email. He couldn’t get upstairs, so Bakshi and I took the elevator to the building’s front entrance. The boy’s face was so white that I saw it as soon as the elevator doors slid open. Walking closer, I saw that he was powdered. His cheeks were also rouged, and he was wearing cranberry coloured lipstick, a Marilyn Monroe wig and a short black skirt. Compared to his face, his thin legs looked like incongruously dark popsicle sticks. Bakshi paid for the pizza and added another five dollars for the tip. The boy batted his fake eyelashes and asked if maybe he could do something to earn a little more. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I could come upstairs and clean the place up a little. You two live alone?” Bakshi passed me the two pizza boxes—They felt hot in my hands.—and dug around in his wallet. “It’s not just the two of us,” I said. The boy smiled. “That’s OK. I’ve done parties before if that’s what you’re into.” I saw the reaction on Bakshi’s face, and I saw the boy’s grotesque caricature of a woman. “There’s condoms and lube in the car,” the boy said, pointing to a sedan with a pizza spray-painted across its side parked by the curb. “My boss says I can take up to two hours but it’s not like he uses a stopwatch.” I stepped on Bakshi’s foot and shouldered him away. He was still fiddling with his wallet. “We’re not interested,” I said to the boy. He just shrugged. “Suit yourselves. If you change your mind, order another pizza and ask for Ruby.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we shuffled inside, I saw Bakshi’s cheeks turn red. “I’m not actually—” he mumbled, but I didn’t let him finish. What had bothered me so much about the boy wasn’t the way he looked or acted; in fact, it wasn’t really the boy at all. He was just trying to make a buck. What bothered me was how ruthlessly we’d already begun to exploit each other.
For those of us who were heterosexual, sex was a definite weakness. I missed it. I would never have it with a woman again. The closest substitute was pornography, whose price rose with its popularity, but which, at least for me, now came scented with the unpleasantness of historicity and nostalgia. Videos and photos, not to mention physical magazines, were collector’s items in the same way that we once collected coins or action figures. The richest men bought up the exclusive rights to their favourite porn stars and guarded them by law with a viciousness once reserved for the RIAA and MPAA. Perhaps exclusivity gave them a possessive satisfaction. In response, we pirated whatever we could and fought for a pornographic public domain. Although new pornography was still being produced, either with the help of the same virtual technology they used for mainstream movies or with the participation of young men in costume, it lacked the taste of the originals. It was like eating chocolate made without cocoa. The best pornography, and therefore the best sex, became the pornography of the mind.
The Tribe of Akna reached its Kickstarter goal in early December. On December 20, I went to church for the first time since getting married because that was the theoretical date that my wife—along with every other woman—was supposed to have given birth. I wanted to be alone with others. Someone posted a video on TikTok from Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront, dubbing over Marlon Brando’s speech to say: “You don’t understand. I could’a had a piece of ass. I could’a been a school board member. I could’a been a son’s daddy”. It was juvenile and heartbreaking. By Christmas, the Surinamese government was already expelling its citizens, each of whom had theoretically been given a fraction of the funds paid to the government from the Tribe of Akna’s Kickstarter pool, and Salvador Abaroa’s lawyers were petitioning for international recognition of the new state of Xibalba. Neither Canada nor the United States opened diplomatic relations, but others did. I knew people who had pledged money, and when in January they disappeared on trips, I had no doubt to where. Infamy spread in the form of stories and urban legends. There’s no need for details. People disappeared, and ethicists wrote about the ethical neutrality of murder, arguing that because we were all slated to die, leaving the Earth barren in a century, destruction was a human inevitability, and what is inevitable can never be bad, even when it comes earlier than expected—even when it comes by force. Because, as a species, we hadn’t chosen destruction for ourselves, neither should any individual member of our species be able to choose now for himself. To the ethicists of what became known as the New Inevitability School, suicide was a greater evil than murder because it implied choice and inequality. If the ship was going down, no one should be allowed to get off. A second wave of suicides coincided with the debate, leading many governments to pass laws making suicide illegal. But how do you punish someone who already wants to die? In China: by keeping him alive and selling him to Xibalba, where he becomes the physical plaything of its citizens and visa-holders. The Chinese was the first embassy to open in Xibalban Paramaribo.
The men working on Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything continued working, steadily adding new variables to their equations, complicating their calculations in the hopes that someday the variable they added would be the final one and the equation would yield an answer. “It’s pointless,” Bakshi would comment after reading about one of the small breakthroughs they periodically announced. “Even if they do manage to predict something, anything, it won’t amount to anything more than the painfully obvious. And after decades of adding and subtracting their beans, they’ll come out of their Los Alamos datalabs like groundhogs into a world blanketed by storm clouds and conclude, finally and with plenty of self-congratulations, that it’s about to fucking rain.”
It rained a lot in February. It was one of the warmest Februaries in Toronto’s history. Sometimes I went for walks along the waterfront, talking to my wife, listening to Billie Holiday and trying to recall as many female faces as I could. Ones from the distant past: my mother, my grandmothers. Ones from the recent past: the woman whose life my wife saved on the way to the hospital, the Armenian woman with the film magazine and the injured son, the Jamaican woman, Bakshi’s wife. I focused on their faces, then zoomed out to see their bodies. I carried an umbrella but seldom opened it because the pounding of the raindrops against the material distorted my mental images. I saw people rush across the street holding newspapers above their heads while dogs roamed the alleyways wearing nothing at all. Of the two, it was dogs that had the shorter time left on Earth, and if they could let the rain soak their fur and drip off their bodies, I could surely let it run down my face. It was first my mother and later my wife who told me to always cover up in the rain, “because moisture causes colds,” but I was alone now and I didn’t want to be separated from the falling water by a sheet of glass anymore. I already was cold. I saw a man sit down on a bench, open his briefcase, pack rocks into it, then close it, tie it to his wrist, check his watch and start to walk into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario. Another man took out his phone and tapped his screen a few times. The man in the lake walked slowly, savouring each step. When the police arrived, sirens blaring, the water was up to his neck. I felt guilty for watching the three officers splash into the lake after him. I don’t know what happened after that because I turned my back and walked away. I hope they didn’t stop him. I hope he got to do what he wanted to do.
“Screw the police.” Bakshi passed me a book. “You should read this,” he said. It was by a professor of film and media studies at a small university in Texas. There was a stage on the cover, flanked by two red curtains. The photo had been taken from the actors’ side, looking out at an audience that the stage lights made too dark to see. The title was Hiding Behind The Curtains. I flipped the book over. There was no photo of the author. “It’s a theory,” Bakshi said, “that undercuts what Abaroa and the Inevitabilists are saying. It’s a little too poetic in parts but—listen, you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” I said I hadn’t. “Well, anyway, what this guy says is that what if instead of our situation letting us do anything we want, it’s actually the opposite, a test to see how we act when we only think that we’re doomed. I mean what if the women who died in March, what if they’re just—” “Hiding behind the curtains,” I said. He bit his lower lip. “It sounds stupid when you say it like that but, as a metaphor, it has a kind of elegance, right?” I flipped through the book, reading a few sentences at random. It struck me as neo-Christian. “Isn’t this a little too spiritual for you? I thought we were all locked into one path,” I said. “I thought that, too, but lately I’ve been able to do things—things that I didn’t really want to do.” For a second I was concerned. “Nothing bad,” he said. “I mean I’ve felt like I’m locked into doing one thing, say having a drink of water, but I resist and pour myself a glass of orange juice instead.” I shook my head. “It’s hard to explain,” he said. That’s how most theories ended, I thought: reason and evidence up to a crucial point, and then it gets so personal that it’s hard to explain. You either make the jump or you don’t. “Just read it,” he said. “Please read it. You don’t have to agree with it, I just want to get your opinion, an objective opinion.”
I never did read the book, and Bakshi forgot about it, too, but that day he was excited and happy, and those were rare feelings. I was simultaneously glad for him and jealous. Afterwards, we went out onto the balcony and drank Czech beer until morning. When it got cool, we put on our coats. It started to drizzle so we wore blue plastic suits like the ones they used to give you on boat rides in Niagara Falls. When it was time to go home, I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I almost got into a fight, the first one of my life, because I bumped into a man on the street and told him to get the fuck out of my way. I don’t remember much more of my walk home. The only reason I remember Behind The Curtains at all is because when I woke up in the afternoon it was the first thing that my hung over brain recognized. It was lying on the floor beside the bed. Then I opened the blinds covering my bedroom window and, through my spread fingers that I’d meant to use as a shield from the first blast of daylight, I saw the pincers for the first time.
They’d appeared while I was asleep. I turned on the television and checked my phone. The media and the internet were feverish, but nobody knew what the thing was, just a massive, vaguely rectangular shape blotting out a strip of the sky. NASA stated that it had received no extraterrestrial messages to coincide with the appearance. Every government claimed ignorance. The panel discussions on television only worsened my headache. Bakshi emailed me links to photos from Mumbai, Cape Town, Sydney and Mexico City, all showing the same shape; or rather one of a pair of shapes, for there were two of them, one on each side of the Earth, and they’d trapped our planet between themselves like gargantuan fingers clutching an equally gargantuan ping-pong ball. That’s why somebody came up with the term “the pincers”. It stuck. Because I’d slept in last night’s clothes I was already dressed, so I ran down the stairs and out of my apartment building to get a better look at them from the parking lot. You’re not supposed to look at the sun, but I wasn’t the only one breaking that rule. There were entire crowds with upturned faces in the streets. If the pincers, too, could see, they would perhaps be as baffled by us as we were of them: billions of tiny specks all over the surface of this ping-pong ball gathering in points on a grid, coagulating into large puddles that vanished overnight only to reassemble in the morning. In the following days, scientists scrambled to study the pincers and their potential effects on us, but they discovered nothing. The pincers did nothing. They emitted nothing, consumed nothing. They simply were. And they could not be measured or detected in any way other than by eyesight. When we shot rays at them, the rays continued on their paths unaffected, as if nothing was there. The pincers did, however, affect the sun’s rays coming towards us. They cut up our days. The sun would rise, travel over the sky, hide behind a pincer—enveloping us in a second night—before revealing itself again as a second day. But if the pincers’ physical effect on us was limited to its blockage of light, their mental effects on us were astoundingly severe. For many, this was the sign they’d been waiting for. It brought hope. It brought gloom. It broke and confirmed ideas that were hard to explain. In their ambiguity, the pincers could be anything, but in their strangeness they at least reassured us of the reality of the strange times in which we were living. Men walked away from the theory of everything, citing the pincers as the ultimate variable that proved the futility of prognostication. Others took up the calculations because if the pincers could appear, what else was out there in our future? However, ambiguity can only last for a certain period. Information narrows possibilities. On April 1, 2026, every Twitter account in the world received the following message:
as you can see this message is longer than the allowed one hundred forty characters time and space are malleable you thought you had one hundred years but prepare for the plucking
The sender was @. The message appeared in each user’s feed at exactly the same time and in his first language, without punctuation. Because of the date most of us thought it was a hoax, but the developers of Twitter denied this vehemently. It wasn’t until a court forced them to reveal their code, which proved that a message of that length and sent by a blank user was impossible, that our doubts ceased. ##!! took bets on what the message meant. Salvador Abaroa broadcast a response into space in a language he called Bodhi Mayan, then addressed the rest of us in English, saying that in the pincers he had identified an all-powerful prehistoric fire deity, described in an old Sanskrit text as having the resemblance of mirrored black fangs, whose appearance signified the end of time. “All of us will burn,” he said, “but paradise shall be known only to those who burn willingly.” Two days later, The Tribe of Akna announced that in one month it would seal Xibalba from the world and set fire to everything and everyone in it. For the first time, its spokesman said, an entire nation would commit suicide as one. Jonestown was but a blip. As a gesture of goodwill, he said that Xibalba was offering free immolation visas to anyone who applied within the next week. The New Inevitability School condemned the plan as “offensively unethical” and inequalitist and urged an international Xibalban boycott. Nothing came of it. When the date arrived, we watched with rapt attention on live streams and from the vantage points of circling news planes as Salvador Abaroa struck flint against steel, creating the spark that caught the char cloth, starting a fire that blossomed bright crimson and in the next weeks consumed all 163,821 square kilometres of the former Republic of Suriname and all 2,500,000 of its estimated Xibalban inhabitants. Despite concerns that the fire would spread beyond Xibalba’s borders, The Tribe of Akna had been careful. There were no accidental casualties and no unplanned property damage. No borders were crossed. Once the fire burned out, reporters competed to be first to capture the mood on the ground. Paramaribo resembled the smouldering darkness of a fire pit.
It was a few days later while sitting on Bakshi’s balcony, looking up at the pincers and rereading a reproduction of @’s message—someone had spray-painted it across the wall of a building opposite Bakshi’s—that I remembered Iris. The memory was so absorbing that I didn’t notice when Bakshi slid open the balcony door and sat down beside me, but I must have been smiling because he said, “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but you look a little loony tonight. Seriously, man, you do not look sufficiently freaked out.” I’d remembered Iris before, swirling elements of her plain face, but now I also remembered her words and her theory. I turned to Bakshi, who seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, and said, “Let’s get up on the roof of this place.” He grabbed my arm and held on tightly. “I’m not going to jump, if that’s what you mean.” It wasn’t what I meant, but I asked, “why not?” He said, “I don’t know. I know we’re fucked as a species and all that, but I figure if I’m still alive I might as well see what happens next, like in a bad movie you want to see through to the end.” I promised him that I wasn’t going to jump, either. Then I scrambled inside his apartment, grabbed my hat and jacket from the closet by the front door and put them on while speed walking down the hall, toward the fire escape. I realized I’d been spending a lot of time here. The alarm went off as soon I pushed open the door with my hip but I didn’t care. When Bakshi caught up with me, I was already outside, leaping up two stairs at a time. The metal construction was rusted. The treads wobbled. On the roof, the wind nearly blew my hat off and it was so loud I could have screamed and no one would have heard me. Holding my hat in my hands, I crouched and looked out over the twinkling city spread out in front of me. It looked alive in spite of the pincers in the sky. “Let’s do something crazy,” I yelled. Bakshi was still catching his breath behind me. “What, like this isn’t crazy enough?” The NHL may have been gone but my hat still bore the Maple Leafs logo, as quaint and obsolete by then as the Weimar Republic in the summer of 1945. “When’s the last time you played ball hockey?” I asked. Bakshi crouched beside me. “You’re acting weird. And I haven’t played ball hockey in ages.” I stood up so suddenly that Bakshi almost fell over. This time I knew I was smiling. “So call your buddies,” I said. “Tell them to bring their sticks and their gear and to meet us in front of the ACC in one hour.” Bakshi patted me on the back. Toronto shone like jewels scattered over black velvet. “The ACC’s been closed for years, buddy. I think you’re really starting to lose it.” I knew it was closed. “Lose what?” I asked. “It’s closed and we’re going to break in.”
The chains broke apart like shortbread. The electricity worked. The clouds of dust made me sneeze. We used duffel bags to mark out the goals. We raced up and down the stands and bent over, wheezing at imaginary finish lines. We got into the announcer’s booth and called each other cunts through the microphone. We ran, fell and shot rubber pucks for hours. We didn’t keep score. We didn’t worry. “What about the police?” someone asked. The rest of us answered: “Screw the fucking police!”
And when everybody packed up and went home, I stayed behind.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Bakshi asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Because I have to get back so that I can shower, get changed and get to work.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“And you promise me you’ll catch a cab?”
“I’m not suicidal.”
He fixed his grip on his duffel bag. “I didn’t say you were. I was just checking.”
“I want to see the end of the movie, too,” I said.
He saluted. I watched him leave. When he was gone, my wife walked down from the nosebleeds and took a seat beside me. “There’s someone I want to tell you about,” I said. She lifted her chin like she always does when something unexpected catches her interest, and scooted closer. I put my arm across the back of her beautiful shoulders. She always liked that, even though the position drives me crazy because I tend to talk a lot with my hands. “Stuck at Leafs-Wings snorefest,” she said. “Game sucks but I love the man sitting beside me.” (January 15, 2019. Themes: hockey, love, me. Rating: 5/5). “Her name was Iris,” I said.

Iris

“What if the whole universe was a giant garden—like a hydroponics thing, like how they grow tomatoes and marijuana, so there wouldn’t need to be any soil, all the nutrients would just get injected straight into the seeds or however they do it—or, even better, space itself was the soil, you know how they talk about dark matter being this invisible and mysterious thing that exists out there and we don’t know what it does, if it actually affect anything, gravity…”
She blew a cloud of pot smoke my way that made me cough and probably gave her time to think. She said, “So dark matter is like the soil, and in this space garden of course they don’t grow plants but something else.”
“Galaxies?”
“Eyes.”
“Just eyes, or body parts in general?” I asked.
“Just eyes.”
The music from the party thumped. “But the eyes are our planets, like Mars is an eye, Neptune is an eye, and the Earth is an eye, maybe even the best eye.”
“The best for what? Who’s growing them?”
“God,” she said.
I took the joint from her and took a long drag. “I didn’t know you believed in God.”
“I don’t, I guess—except when I’m on dope. Anyway, you’ve got to understand me because when I say God I don’t mean like the old man with muscles and a beard. This God, the one I’m talking about, it’s more like a one-eyed monster.”
“Like a cyclops?” I asked.
“Yeah, like that, like a cyclops. So it’s growing these eyes in the dark matter in space—I mean right now, you and me, we’re literally sitting on one of these eyes and we’re contributing to its being grown because the nutrients the cyclops God injected into them, that’s us.”
“Why does God need so many extra eyes?”
“It’s not a question of having so many of them, but more about having the right one, like growing the perfect tomato.” I gave her back the joint and leaned back, looking at the stars. “Because every once in a while the cyclops God goes blind, its eye stops working—not in the same way we go blind, because the cyclops God doesn’t see reality in the same way we see reality—but more like we see through our brains and our eyes put together.”
“Like x-ray vision?” I asked.
“No, not like that at all,” she said.
“A glass eye?”
“Glass eyes are fake.”
“OK,” I said, “so maybe try something else. Give me a different angle. Tell me what role we’re playing in all of this because right now it seems that we’re pretty insignificant. I mean, you said we’re nutrients but what’s the difference between, say, Mars and Earth in terms of being eyes?”
She looked over at me. “Are you absolutely sure you want to hear about this?”
“I am,” I said.
“You don’t think it’s stupid?”
“Compared to what?”
“I don’t know, just stupid in general.”
“I don’t.”
“I like you,” she said.
“Because I don’t think you’re stupid?” I asked.
“That’s just a bonus. I mean more that you’re up here with me instead of being down there with everyone, and we’re talking and even though we’re not in love I know somehow we’ll never forget each other for as long as we live.”
“It’s hard to forget being on the surface of a giant floating eyeball.”
“You’re scared that you won’t find anyone to love,” she said suddenly, causing me to nearly choke on my own saliva. “Don’t ask me how I know—I just do. But before I go any further about the cyclops God, I want you to know that you’ll find someone to love and who’ll love you back, and whatever happens you’ll always have that because no one can take away the past.”
“You’re scared of going blind,” I said.
“I am going blind.”
“Not yet.”
“And I’m learning not to be scared because everything I see until that day will always belong to me.”
“The doctors said it would be gradual,” I reminded her.
“That’s horrible.”
“Why?”
“Because you wouldn’t want to find someone to love and then know that every day you wake up the love between you grows dimmer and dimmer, would you?”
“I guess not,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you much rather feel the full strength of that love up to and including in the final second before the world goes black?”
“It would probably be painful to lose it all at once like that.”
“Painful because you actually had something to lose. For me, I know I can’t wish away blindness, but I sure wish that the last image I ever see—in that final second before my world goes black—is the most vivid and beautiful image of all.”
Because I didn’t know what to say to that, I mumbled: “I’m sorry.”
“That I’m going blind?”
“Yeah, and that we can’t grow eyes.”
This time I looked over, and she was the one gazing at the stars. “Before, you asked if we were insignificant,” she said. “But because you’re sorry—that’s kind of why we’re the most significant of all, why Earth is better than the other planets.”
“For the cyclops God?”
“Yes.”
“He cares about my feelings?”
“Not in the way you’re probably thinking, but in a different way that’s exactly what the cyclops God cares about most because that’s what it’s looking for in an eye. All the amazing stuff we’ve ever built, all our ancient civilizations and supercomputers and cities you can see from the Moon—that’s just useless cosmetics to the cyclops God, except in how all of it has made us feel about things that aren’t us.”
“I think you’re talking about morality.”
“I think so, too.”
“So by feeling sorry for you I’m showing compassion, and the cyclops God likes compassion?”
“That’s not totally wrong but it’s a little upside down. We have this black matter garden and these planets the cyclops God has grown as potential eyes to replace its own eye once it stops working, but its own eye is like an eye and a brain mixed together. Wait—” she said.
I waited.
“Imagine a pair of tinted sunglasses.”
I imagined green-tinted ones.
“Now imagine that instead of the lenses being a certain colour, they’re a certain morality, and if you wear the glasses you see the world tinted according to that morality.”
I was kind of able to imagine that. I supposed it would help show who was good and who was bad. “But the eye and the tinted glasses are the same thing in this case.”
“Exactly, there’s no one without the other, and what makes the tint special is us—not that the cyclops God cares at all about individuals any more than we care about individual honey bees. That’s why he’s kind of a monster.”
“Isn’t people’s morality always changing, though?”
“Only up to a point. Green is green even when you have a bunch of shades of it, and a laptop screen still works fine even with a few dead pixels, right? And the more globalized and connected we get, the smoother our morality gets, but if you’re asking more about how our changing morals work when the cyclops God finally comes to take its eye, I assume it has a way to freeze our progress. To cut our roots. Then it makes some kind of final evaluation. If it’s satisfied it takes the planet and sticks it into its eye socket, and if it doesn’t like us then it lets us alone, although because we’re frozen and possibly rootless I suppose we die—maybe that’s what the other planets are, so many of them in space without any sort of life. Cold, rejected eyes.”
From sunglasses to bees to monitors in three metaphors, and now we were back to space. This was getting confusing. The stars twinkled, some of them dead, too: their light still arriving at our eyes from sources that no longer existed. “That’s kind of depressing,” I said to end the silence.
“What about it?”
“Being bees,” I said, “that work for so long at tinting a pair of glasses just so that a cyclops God can try them on.”
“I don’t think it’s any more depressing than being a tomato.”
“I’ve never thought about that.”
“You should. It’s beautiful, like love,” she said. “Because if you think about it, being a tomato and being a person are really quite similar. They’re both about growing and existing for the enjoyment of someone else. As a tomato you’re planted, you grow and mature and then an animal comes along and eats you. The juicier you look and the nicer you smell, the greater the chance that you’ll get plucked but also the more pleasure the animal will get from you. As a person, you’re also born and you grow up and you mature into a one of a kind personality with a one of a kind face, and then someone comes along and makes you fall in love with them and all the growing you did was really just for their enjoyment of your love.”
“Except love lasts longer than chewing a tomato.”
“Sometimes,” she said.
“And you have to admit that two tomatoes can’t eat each other the way two people can love each other mutually.”
“I admit that’s a good point,” she said.
“And what happens to someone who never gets fallen in love with?”
“The same thing that happens to a tomato that never gets eaten or an eye that the cyclops God never takes. They die and they rot, and they darken and harden, decomposing until they don’t look like tomatoes anymore. It’s not a nice fate. I’d rather live awhile and get eaten, to be honest.”
“As a tomato or person?”
“Both.”
I thought for a few seconds. “That explanation works for things on Earth, but nothing actually decomposes in space.”
“That’s why there are so many dead planets,” she said.
submitted by normancrane to cryosleep [link] [comments]


2020.09.28 19:12 PhotojournalistFew91 Quick fix 6.2 synthetic urine

So I want to tell you me experience with quick fix. So I have a big job coming up and I obviously have to take a drug test. A month ago I passed 2 separate drug test, one was pre employment medical exam and the other was a DOT exam for my CDL license. I knew I was going to pass because I was clean for months. My background check just cleared and they told me I have to retake my drug test because it’s been over 30 days and my old one expired. Not excepting this, I’ve been smoking a little bit while I was waiting for the call to get my start date. They told me I could pick the date and the sooner I get it done, the sooner I could start the job. So I just got quick fix and told them I could do it 2 days ( I wanted time to practice heating it up)
So I went on Reddit and read a lot of things about quick fix and I learned a lot. I had it at 8 o’clock this morning so I woke up around 645 and starting the heat pack. Waiting a little while and then followed the instructions telling me to heat the piss up for 10 seconds, I did that and then I wrapped the heat pad around it and stuck it on the side my balls. I was wearing 2 compression shorts and then jeans. People say wear something baggy so they don’t see a buldge but my jeans seemed to look okay to me.
I then drove to my exam which was about 25 min away. I took the piss out my pants while driving because I didn’t want it to over heat with the heat pack and my body heat on it. I put an extra heat pack in my sock just in case It needed an extra boost in the bath room. I went in to the exam with it being 96 degrees and I stuck it back by my balls and went in. About a half hour of waiting I went in the bathroom after emptying my pockets, I knew the lady was outside the door and I knew she could hear everything. I slowly took the bottle out, it was a perfect 96 degrees and starting UNSCREWING the cap, I did not pop the top of it, that would be way to loud. I noticed that my boxers were damp and a little of it leaked a bit. ( I def got like a faulty cup because I made sure I screwed it on tight) either way I just had enough to make it to line. I also was making like unnecessary noises the whole time to make sure she didn’t hear anything ( like moving my feet around, sniffing, clearing my throat, etc..) I peed in the toilet as well after I was done with everything because she obviously needs to hear some sorta peeing going on. Once I got out of the bathroom I put the cup down, made small talk with her to get on her nice side. She did the temp and told me to sign it. I saw it was checked off that it was the right temp and that was it. I left. From what I read about quick fix, I should be good from here on out. The temp is the most important part. I’m obviously still nervous.
If anyone on here that has experience with quick fix wants to give me reassurance that I’m good, that would be great.
submitted by PhotojournalistFew91 to drugtesthelp [link] [comments]


2020.09.28 04:27 isitiwalkithink I am afraid of middle-aged men. I have an eating disorder. I do not want to waste my potential. Please help.

I am going to be honest, i have never done anything like this before, and I have never told anyone the things I am about to anonymously share with this community. I am a 19 y/o female university student and I have a horrible fear of middle aged men. To the point where if I’m near a man in public or a friend’s dad, I feel like I want to run away from them as far as I can. Anytime I can hear a man speaking with a loud, stern voice, a deep-seated fear burns inside of me in my chest and at the bottom of my stomach. I get incredibly anxious. I just want to avoid them as much as possible, even if they haven’t done anything wrong to me.
I am going to share a bit of my story.
I’ve had many negative experiences with almost all middle aged/older men. My step-father was verbally, physically and mentally abusive. He’d watch everything I’d do and would always yell at me for doing things wrong, even if I wasn’t doing anything at all. He would yell and scream in my face if I forgot to do something as little as let the cat outside. I remember coming home from school and being scared to walk in the door to see him sitting on the couch in the same spot he always did, glaring at me with his evil stare. Right away he would yell at me, didn’t matter if I hadn’t done anything wrong, this just became the norm. It happened from the ages of 7-14. This may be hard for some to hear, but I remember vividly this one memory where I had come home from school and the dog had peed in my room because I had left my door open. My stepfather came stomping down the hall as soon as I got home, and asked me why I hadn’t cleaned it up yet (I was at school that’s why) then he had shoved my face in the dogs urine, as if I was the dog, and asked me if I liked it.
My biological father was also very verbally abusive to me the handful of times I’ve ever seen him in my life. He would blame my mother and myself for himself not being there for me during my childhood (he’s an alcoholic). He was also physically abusive to his wife (in front of me). I was molested by my step fathers’ father at a very young age. And my mother’s father was a drug user, so any time he came around it was just more yelling and screaming. As you can see, it’s been a horrible negative experience with almost all men in my life, hence my fear of them.
My mother, experienced this as much as I have, maybe even more, so she was too worried about herself and other things going on in her hectic life as a teen mom (she had me at 15) to comfort me as a child and let me know that things would be ok. She was just as scared of my step father as I was. Instead, I had to fend for myself when it came to wiping the tears away, or when I developed a sleeping problem due to severe anxiety attacks. I would just lay there. In the dark, shaking uncontrollably, with a penetrating fear in the bottom of my stomach and adrenaline shooting through my body. It was absolutely horrible.
No, I never went to therapy because I was always threatened that if I said anything to anyone (especially social workers when they came around) about what was going on in my family, that I would be taken away and my brother and sisters would be taken away because of me. They brainwashed me to the point that they made me feel like I would be horribly wrong and bad to do that. So I just kept enduring it, thinking it was normal.
I experienced a lot of neglect in my life, and never once was I hugged or told it would be okay. I always felt like a burden to my family. I’d never felt the love of a family that young children deserve to feel. This lead me to developing a horrible eating disorder that I have to this day, (BED) and it’s ruining my life. I moved out when I was 15 and couch surfed until I graduated high-school. I made damn sure to keep up my grades in high school, not for anyone but myself.
I had always been inspired by people like Oprah, Keanu Reeves, Chris Gardner, Kendrick Lamar, etc. So I thought that this hardship was essential to becoming an important person in this world. Fast forward a few years, my hardships have motivated and encouraged me to excel in school and sports (it was my only escape) and I ended up getting a free ride academic and athletic scholarship to a University in a different city I finally got to escape.... So I thought. Now I’m here, I’m in my second year now. I’m starting to see how all of these fears and childhood problems are catching up to me. They are ruining my life more than ever, and before it gets any worse I need to take care of this.
If you’re still reading up to this point, here’s the real reason why I posted to this page: I know I have huge potential. I have this scholarship which is giving me a chance at a better life then anyone in my family ever has. I have a chance to create a life for myself that I can be proud of, and it’s because of my perseverance and getting through these hardships that I’m able to do it. But I don’t want to mess this up. I can not lie to myself anymore.
I’ve never been to therapy, simply because I can not afford it. I have talked to school counsellors but they can’t really do anything. Social workers, they can recommend counsellors for you to talk to but most of them don’t work. I’ve tried talking to people but it doesn’t help, because they always just tell me things that I already know or have already heard. Also, I can see the pity they give me in their eyes and it bothers me. I can’t stand when people feel sorry for me. I have gotten through this up until now so I have the mentality that, I can continue to get through this.
My fear of men is finding its way into all aspects in my life. Whether it be, being around middle aged men in general, or a friends dad. I can’t have relationships, or if I do I end up ending it within months of dating because of my fear of not being good enough.
I also have an eating disorder issue. I have tried talking to people about it, but nothing has worked. It takes up a lot of my attention and It has caused a lot of body confidence issues. I will not go to the lake and swim with my friends simply because I don’t want them to see me in a swim suit. I don’t like hanging out with people or going out and drinking and smoking simply because it doesn’t feel right. The last thing I need are unhealthy distractions.
I know that if I do not do something about my fears, and eating disorder, it may prevent me from having the life I truly want. I can already see it starting to have a huge affect on my happiness and well being. I don’t want to waste this potential. I want to get my degree with honours. I want to be a role model for my siblings, my mother and other young people who have experienced similar things that I have. I want to be successful. I want to be happy, healthy and have a happy loving family with beautiful children. But I need to do something about these issues or else this won’t happen, I can feel it in my bones.
I have tried exercise. (I play on the varsity basketball team). I have tried warm baths. I have tried talking to a friend. I have tried eating healthy foods. I have tried it all. Trust me. I have tried so hard to try and beat this for the last couple of years, and nothing has really worked. I am slowly improving, and sometimes I’ll go though spurts where I think I’ve cured it, but then reality sets in and bam, back to square 1.
Please, if there’s anyone out there experiencing (or has experienced) anything similar to me, any advice will be greatly appreciated.
submitted by isitiwalkithink to offmychest [link] [comments]


2020.09.28 02:24 tsinnyc30 *TS* *NSW* I can't trust men, so I don't know how to love...where do i start to heal?

tw nsw rape/child sexual abuse. I write in a way thats very vivid, thats how the images in my mind work. Maybe its also because I am a writer, and it is hella drilled into us about details. All about the details. I know this can upset some people. So there is the warning.
I was a child of sexual abuse. Which made my rape at 23 worse. Much worse.
When I was 5, I was in foster care. I was a super feminine acting boy. (I am a trans woman now). My foster brothers and male figures never used to play with me. Saying things like:
"Don't you want to play with the girls, sissies don't like sports"
"Take ya gay, useless ass on somewhere" They would always leave me 
In came Carl. He always included me. He was 16/17 and he was amazing at first. He let me play super Nintendo with him. He took me to the park. He snuck me candy like Reese cups, when my Grandma told me no. I loved him. Growing up with my twin in foster care, I felt abandoned. Because I was a feminine boy, i felt doubly abandoned.
 He started asking me if I wanted to cuddle with him at night. My grandma was tired and he was always so nice to me, I don't even think she had a second thought about it. The first few sleep overs with Carl was beautiful. He would just hold me. He would tell me scary stories, then I would run to the bathroom in the dark, running back to his bad shaking. He would get me cupcakes. He would hold me, and tell me how he loved me. Until one night, it changed. He smelled funny to me, the-now-gorgeous-familar smell of Marijuana. He told me he wanted to show me a secret game. The games of men. Not knowing any better, I said show me. I loved and trusted him at 5. He was the big brother I always wanted...replacing the abandoned feeling I felt at my parents. He kissed me. He had vitiligo, and a pink spot that was so unique on the corner of his lips on his right side. I remeber the feeling of his third degree burned hands on my body. His mother tortured him and locked him in the closet for weeks on end in the Bronx. He had cigarette burns all over his body. He was still attractive. Beautiful hazel eyes. Brown skin like mines. Full pink lips. He was a boxer, he turned the hands his mother tried to take from him into weapons that made the street nickname him "Mean Machine", with how savagely he would fight guys on the street. He was also a child of sex abuse, once the system found him at 7, and placed him in group homes, which later, in my teenage years when I found out, made me totally forgave him. He did love me, even though he hurt me, but ultimately as a late teenager, he was just reliving a cycle. It does not excuse him, but compared to my rape at 23, I can forgive Carl. 
He pulled his pants down and put my tiny hands on his bigger genitalia. That was all we did the first time. He called me pretty.
"You really look like a little girl with ya long curly hair and bambi eyes". 
He orgasmed and because it didn't feel bad, I didn't see it as bad. It was just a game.
He then grabbed me softly and forced me to look at him. 
"You can't tell. If you tell, I will die. You don't want me to die right? If you tell, I will be gone and you will have nobody to play with, I will be killed horribly. This is our secret game. Only us. Okay?"
I was heartbroken. I let out a high pitch shrill cry. As I clang to him and repeated:
"Puleazhh don't die...please don't die. Please don't die...i lub you."
He held me again and we fell asleep.
The game was simple at first, just touching, but quickly it progressed.
 The 4th time I saw him, he put whip cream on himself. "I have a treat for you. If you play our secret game well, you will get a reward. You have to lick it off" 
So I did. I remember the smell of him. His just turned into a man pheromones plugging my noise. The sweat of his skin, and the sweetness of the whip cream. I gagged horribly. But he told me i was doing a Good job even though it was barely fitting. I remember his fluid on my face.
He wiped us both off and got a big ass bag of candy out his closet. Again...the behavior was painted as something good by him.
 (Im legit unnerved even though I can't help writing so candidly. To do that to a child, to lie and use manipulation is utterly insidious. To use my emotions, that he should have protected.....it id fucking gross. Gross. A 5 year old. What was sexy about me, I still occasionally peed the bed, I was dirty from always climbing and exploring things, etc...but then its not about that. But its just....ugh. I know he picked me because I was feminine and because I was a loner by the nature of what I am, a transgender individual.) This went on for months. His "you are so beautiful like a little princess", his cuddles, his playfulness. I loved it. Even the sex acts we did, i didn't mind because it was not violent nor did it hurt at that point. It was definitely uncomfortable/ weird and there was no sexual thrill for me. The only thrill was for me to please the brother I loved. If it pleased him, I was happy with that. I had turned 6 and a week later he brought me upstairs. He smelt like straight alcohol. He kissed me aggressively. "I missed my princess" His aggressiveness was scaring me. He had never acted that way before. "Ima go to De-lores. Goodnight. You being weird. (my adopted mom/ I call her grandma too). 
"No...u can't leave yet. You don't miss me?"
He pinned me down, as I yelled for him to let me go. He placed his hand over my mouth and nose, until I almost couldn't breathe and thrashed in the bed. He bent me over and tried to penetrate me, but I was wayyyyyy to small for that. So it never went in, but it was sooo painful. The edges of my hole, burned from the friction of him desperately tryna penetrate me......
He let me down on the cream color carpet of his room as I cried and hit him.
"U HURTED ME...CARL! YOU HURTED MY BUTT. YOU HURTED ME!" HE HUGGED ME AS I HEARD WHAT SOUNDED LIKE A WHISTLE NEAR THE STAIRS LEADING TO THE SECOND FLOOR. 
He placed me in the upstairs bathroom.
"If anybody asks why you up here, tell them you were using the bathroom. And im sorry. Im sorry. You forgive me. I'll make it up to you. I promise. Say you forgive me...please."
"I...forgived...u...." 
I said wiping snot away.
A week later. My grandma sat me down. She asked if anyone was touching us. She looked evil though. I know she would never hurt me, but I loved Carl like family. She had hell and brimstone in her irises, and she got into one of her righteous rants, where she said she would kill for me, kill for my brother, nobody would hurt us.
I don't know if she meant it, but she scared me into silence. I don't blame her. Its hard even bringing those topics up without emotion. But I didn't want Carl to die. So I shut up. At 6, I shut up. I didn't want him to die. And her words made what he said reality in my head.
I never went to him anymore though after my Grandma's talk and him tryna penetrate me. I never let him get me alone. He would try to bribe me with food, candy, video games, begging, clothes, money...but i never went.
He went to Juvie a few months later for stabbing a boy in the face over street wars.
 Life was normal until 11. In fourth grade, I was taking a NYS official test, I was answering a question about the Native American indigenous to NY state and boom: (There were two paintings in the upstairs hallway. My grandma had a picture of a Native man, with striking features, in a swamp, grabbing a snake. It was next to a picture of a black girl playing double dutch. That question connected back to that picture) 
It all played out in my mind like a movie. I didn't even realize I had suppressed it that much. I fought back tears and (I work well in stress, idk why but I do), I got a 97%.
 After that day I became hypersexual. When I think about it, I always was....touching boys and girls. Kissing girls and boys, playing house and being the wife. Always too fucking touchy and in people's personal space. But I guess at 11, puberty hit me full force and the idea of sex became something constant in me. Before that it was all mimicry of what happened to me. At 11, these thoughts entered me and would not leave. I wanted real sex after that moment. It is hell to be hypersexual at 11. My southern-upbrung Grandma was definitely not ready for that. Then my thoughts were about boys. I was consumed with them. Especially older men. Taking my friend in the closet and telling him I love him, while I pull his penis out and offer him a blow job. 
"...ok...ok...idk..but if its you...ok"
 I started fucking myself with things. The ends of a big screw driver with a soft silicon handle. An ugly yellow toy banana I found at Family Dollars. Fingers. It was like older men knew I was in a heat, I didn't want. I would masturbate like 7 times a day. It was never enough. It was all consuming. An older man who liked me gave me a dildo, he never had sex with me though. We would just talk about how it felt when I penetrate myself. He would stutter and cum to my stories. (I lose myself in good anal sex. I still do, I dissassociate in a good way, the noise of the world falls away and all I am in those moments are a body, feeling. There is no analyzing life, or existential crises. There is not a thousand thoughts in my head. No ptsd or bpd or bipolaor depression or all those mental illness therapists told me I had directly and not so directly) This feeling of shame came when I couldn't stop the thoughts. I was something bad and deviant. My thoughts were deviant, so I locked them up tightly. Even though they were ever present Carl came out of juvie/prison when I was 12. His 6 pack all those years ago had turned into an 8 pack. His slender, toned teen body, had grown into a young man's body. I was drawn to him. He felt indebted to me. 
I remember at 12, when of his hood friends used to flirt with me. Nothing crazy, just a little flirtatious. Always tryna wrestle me. Always tryna get my attention.
I came home one afternoon to him surprising me, him agitated.
"Jay is fucking with you D?" "No he is cool" "Lemme know cuz I will end any nigga for you. You hear me...any of them. You mines. You hear me!" 
My grandma sat on her bed smiling. Like aww look at the older brother being protective.
It wasn't protection though. He still felt like i belonged to him some way even though he never made anymore moves. He also felt guilty.
He was always giving me stuff. Clothes. Food. Money. Anything. It could have been his last.
I would watch him shower. He would leave the door open slightly. I would peek and look at his naked body, until my mind went crazy in heat. One Night, he left his shirt on the floor as he showered. I had a small t-shirt on and these too tight underwear. On the same cream color floor where he tried to penetrate me, i pentrated myself with that, ugly yellow banana, inhaling the intoxicating smell of his shirt. I was so into it, I didn't feel his eyes on me. 
He was watching me smell his shirt and fuck myself.
 He was hard and staring when I came on his rug. "We can't do that nomore. What i did was wrong....but fuck...you looked so sexy....still with the soft skin and big bambi eyes." "Fuck all that...i want you to fuck me..." "What's gotten into you...you used to be so innocent and sweet. We don't have to. I will always be be ya side. You still sexy though God. Even more sexy." "I don't know how to handle what you exposed to me. I want dick in me all the time. 24/7. I dream about it. I day dream about it. I fantasize about it. Please Carl, fuck me...please" "Im too big and people in the house and...." 
I got up knocking all the shit off his dresser. There's a rage in me, a darkness. A need. Impulsivity. Like every emotion is competing for best actress.
I started crying in pure fucking frustration. 
"So you could try to fuck me at 6, you pedo, but 12 is too old? Fuck you nigga. I hate what you did to me. You made me so fucking weird and now!!!!! You don't want to FUCKING continue. I hate you. Fucking die."
He hugged me like when I was little.
"You went me that bad? To finally have me truly take ya virginity. Wait a little longer okay. But look at me...clearly I'm excited. Just wait...ok? Sex starves D might be the seseries. (Him referring to me at 5/6 as sexy 🤢🤮, when I think about that disgusting convo) I pouted. He gave me 300 from his drug business to shut up. 
After that, every time he would pass me, he would feel on me. I'd wear little t shirts where my nipples poked out and pajamas too small, so my little butt could poke out.
He would touch me and kiss me in rushing. He was never home, always in the street. 
At 13, he died from a gunshot wound to the heart. He never did get to fuck me.
(Sometimes, when im depressed, and analytical, I think if all that really did propel me on my way to my life now. I pass as a woman and live an alright life, even with the trauma, but my Mom says when things like that happen to us so young, they become apart of our psyche. Not to say I would have been a sterotypical masculine male....but is this why I like being called princess and good girl, is this one of the reasons why I so desperately clung to womanhood, is this why, especially young, all my sexual fantasies were of me being penetrated by older, well hung, developed men. How much of it is my true nature, how much was groomed into me. The choking, the hypersexuality in my youth, the crazy sex adventures I found myself in. I don't think about it often. Its one of those questions that if I let it sit too long in me, will undo me. I love my transition (mostly) but that thought is scary. To think that, the person I am today can be attributed, at the least, slightly, to my childhood trauma)
The real trauma happened at 23. When i was 23, I dated this guy named Jason for 6 months. I had just started transistioning for a few months. He took me out. I met his close friends. I met his cousins. The sex was good, he was sweet and passionate. I felt like i was falling for him. Lucky. Special
I was a new trans woman, and most guys arent always so kind to not so passable trans women.
He treated me like a woman. How I always wanted to be treated.
Up until the night I told him no.
We had went out on a night on the town. The place is near west 4th street in NYC. It is called the Fat Black Pussy Cat. He bought me these bomb ass nachos and like 13 tequila shots. My stomach was queasy and I couldn't keep my head from spinning.
I get home and boom, sleep.
His body weight and his massive hands on me woke me up. (5'9 150 to his 6'5 250 pure muscled body). He was an athlete and he had went to prison. I never saw it as a red flag because it was a white collar crime.
He wanted sex.
I said no. I'm nauseous. In the morning bae.
It took my brain 10 minutes to catch up to what was going on.
My laughs and his stoic face.
My giggles and "stop playing Jason, in the morning im ride it good daddy." fall on a face that was determined.
His hand on my throat squeezing tighter and tighter.
When I realized what was happening (i'm also a childhood survivor as well). I fought. Two rights to his eyes and nose. He laughed. I ran for my kitchen, and picked up a knife but he slammed me.
Those first few moments were straight anxiety. Me, running full speed over my couch; him catching my leg and my face hitting the floor.
Me, head butting him right in his lip. I sunk my teeth into his shoulder blade. He slammed my body face first into my living room wall.
I remember the sound of glass breaking as he slammed my back against my glass coffee table. Bits of glass, like glass splinters, on the side of my spine.
I remember the anxious feeling turning into a doomed one, when my strength and stamina didn't match up to his. Even just 10 months on estrogen shots and anti testestorone pills had made me weaker. Like 50 percent weaker
His laughter in my ear as he said:
"I like girls with heart, ya are more satisfying to break"
After 20 minutes he got tired. Not physically tired. Tired of this fight in me.
I was on my last wind. Every nerve in my body was in fire from fighting with him so long. I grew up fighting and winning as a feminine boy. But as a trans women, on hrt, a high dosage, its just not the same.
I remember my teeth cutting into my jaw as he slammed my head into the kitchen tiles, the hemoglobin left the taste of iron in my head.
He punched my ribs, knocking the wind out of me. Stomped my right hand. I just laid there, as the reality of my situation set in.
Im not getting away.
"Isn't this why you transistioned...to entice men. Didn't you do this to become mines"
I dissassociated as he choked me until i couldn't breathe. Color flashed in front of my eyes. I focused on my cat in a corner, a white ball, like this had happened to her before . I didn't want to die from fighting for the right over my body. So I mentally left.
I focused on a dustball under my stove
I stared at a dead sparrow on my kitchen window ledge I had never noticed. I imagined I was that bird. Dead. If I'm dead, I can't feel and if I can't feel, this is not happening to me.
His kisses on my shoulder....and his "there's my baby girl", was worse than the rape or beating. That memory lives under my skin. His attempted intimacy daring rape. How....how....
It makes me so mad and digusted. Like I wanna take my nails to my skin to kill that fucking memory.
I wanted him to be evil. You are a fucking monster, fucking show it, you disgusting, deviant, criminally sadistic bastard. If you wanna be evil.
He caressed and kissed my unresponsive body.
Pushing his dick into my dry walls, slightly ripping me.
It was messy because I was not ready nor did I prep. It hurt because he went in dry.
I didn't even scream, as I felt myself tear a little. I just stared....i was death in those moments.
He left me there saying "I love you Daisy". I stayed on the ground for 30 minutes. No thoughts. I just stared. My kitty Carmen licked my face and I cried so horribly, stirred back to reality by her. She left white hairs on my chin as she turned into a ball under my neck.
He left anal fissures in me and a hemorrhoid. It hurt to use the bathroom for 10 days. He had fractured the bone below my right index finger. My left eye was filled with blood. When he slammed my head in the kitchen, blood filled into it. I looked like an extra in the Walking dead.
I never told because I am transgender. They don't care if we live let alone if we are raped.
I swallowed it. Never telling anybody for years, going to school the next day like I was in a car accident and smiling.
I sometimes attack men in my sleep. My exs always tell me how wild I sleep at night and how they can't touch me when im deep sleeping or I become violent.
I have extreme pstd at times. Fits of paranoia and rage.
I don't trust men. Nor do I think I can ever conventionally date again. I try but I leave or dip...or go m.i.a. i just don't feel connected to me like I once did. Its been so many secual wrongs done to me.
But him making me almost love him and then brutally raping me, was the one sexual trauma to truly do me in.
Even if i like a guy, there's a subliminal voice in my head telling me:
"All men are predators, some just are more good at hiding it"
I never hated my transition until that moment. That sheer terror of my body failing me. The sheer terror of my physical strength changed. The utter hopelessness.
"Damn I made myself a fucking target. I had to be a fucking tranny. I'm weak now and can't even protect myself."
And i don't think I can ever trust any man 100 percent. Maybe...at best...99 percent.
But it has made me lonely and depressive. How do I love again? How do I learn to trust?
I don't want to die without finding true love but at this progression...im be an old trans woman with mad cats. Bitter and jaded, seeing the world as evil.
I used to be so carefree. Now I trust nothing.
How do I get a piece of the old me back?
How do I move on?
The memories being like movies. I can see all the details.
 Im ready to heal. 
submitted by tsinnyc30 to stories [link] [comments]


2020.09.28 02:21 tsinnyc30 *Tw* *nsw* (trans woman, 30) I don't know how to be close to men anymore when I think about it all. (Vivid, candid, and graphic)

tw nsw rape/child sexual abuse. I write in a way thats very vivid, thats how the images in my mind work. Maybe its also because I am a writer, and it is hella drilled into us about details. All about the details. I know this can upset some people. So there is the warning.
I was a child of sexual abuse. Which made my rape at 23 worse. Much worse.
When I was 5, I was in foster care. I was a super feminine acting boy. (I am a trans woman now). My foster brothers and male figures never used to play with me. Saying things like:
"Don't you want to play with the girls, sissies don't like sports"
"Take ya gay, useless ass on somewhere" They would always leave me 
In came Carl. He always included me. He was 16/17 and he was amazing at first. He let me play super Nintendo with him. He took me to the park. He snuck me candy like Reese cups, when my Grandma told me no. I loved him. Growing up with my twin in foster care, I felt abandoned. Because I was a feminine boy, i felt doubly abandoned.
 He started asking me if I wanted to cuddle with him at night. My grandma was tired and he was always so nice to me, I don't even think she had a second thought about it. The first few sleep overs with Carl was beautiful. He would just hold me. He would tell me scary stories, then I would run to the bathroom in the dark, running back to his bad shaking. He would get me cupcakes. He would hold me, and tell me how he loved me. Until one night, it changed. He smelled funny to me, the-now-gorgeous-familar smell of Marijuana. He told me he wanted to show me a secret game. The games of men. Not knowing any better, I said show me. I loved and trusted him at 5. He was the big brother I always wanted...replacing the abandoned feeling I felt at my parents. He kissed me. He had vitiligo, and a pink spot that was so unique on the corner of his lips on his right side. I remeber the feeling of his third degree burned hands on my body. His mother tortured him and locked him in the closet for weeks on end in the Bronx. He had cigarette burns all over his body. He was still attractive. Beautiful hazel eyes. Brown skin like mines. Full pink lips. He was a boxer, he turned the hands his mother tried to take from him into weapons that made the street nickname him "Mean Machine", with how savagely he would fight guys on the street. He was also a child of sex abuse, once the system found him at 7, and placed him in group homes, which later, in my teenage years when I found out, made me totally forgave him. He did love me, even though he hurt me, but ultimately as a late teenager, he was just reliving a cycle. It does not excuse him, but compared to my rape at 23, I can forgive Carl. 
He pulled his pants down and put my tiny hands on his bigger genitalia. That was all we did the first time. He called me pretty.
"You really look like a little girl with ya long curly hair and bambi eyes". 
He orgasmed and because it didn't feel bad, I didn't see it as bad. It was just a game.
He then grabbed me softly and forced me to look at him. 
"You can't tell. If you tell, I will die. You don't want me to die right? If you tell, I will be gone and you will have nobody to play with, I will be killed horribly. This is our secret game. Only us. Okay?"
I was heartbroken. I let out a high pitch shrill cry. As I clang to him and repeated:
"Puleazhh don't die...please don't die. Please don't die...i lub you."
He held me again and we fell asleep.
The game was simple at first, just touching, but quickly it progressed.
 The 4th time I saw him, he put whip cream on himself. "I have a treat for you. If you play our secret game well, you will get a reward. You have to lick it off" 
So I did. I remember the smell of him. His just turned into a man pheromones plugging my noise. The sweat of his skin, and the sweetness of the whip cream. I gagged horribly. But he told me i was doing a Good job even though it was barely fitting. I remember his fluid on my face.
He wiped us both off and got a big ass bag of candy out his closet. Again...the behavior was painted as something good by him.
 (Im legit unnerved even though I can't help writing so candidly. To do that to a child, to lie and use manipulation is utterly insidious. To use my emotions, that he should have protected.....it id fucking gross. Gross. A 5 year old. What was sexy about me, I still occasionally peed the bed, I was dirty from always climbing and exploring things, etc...but then its not about that. But its just....ugh. I know he picked me because I was feminine and because I was a loner by the nature of what I am, a transgender individual.) This went on for months. His "you are so beautiful like a little princess", his cuddles, his playfulness. I loved it. Even the sex acts we did, i didn't mind because it was not violent nor did it hurt at that point. It was definitely uncomfortable/ weird and there was no sexual thrill for me. The only thrill was for me to please the brother I loved. If it pleased him, I was happy with that. I had turned 6 and a week later he brought me upstairs. He smelt like straight alcohol. He kissed me aggressively. "I missed my princess" His aggressiveness was scaring me. He had never acted that way before. "Ima go to De-lores. Goodnight. You being weird. (my adopted mom/ I call her grandma too). 
"No...u can't leave yet. You don't miss me?"
He pinned me down, as I yelled for him to let me go. He placed his hand over my mouth and nose, until I almost couldn't breathe and thrashed in the bed. He bent me over and tried to penetrate me, but I was wayyyyyy to small for that. So it never went in, but it was sooo painful. The edges of my hole, burned from the friction of him desperately tryna penetrate me......
He let me down on the cream color carpet of his room as I cried and hit him.
"U HURTED ME...CARL! YOU HURTED MY BUTT. YOU HURTED ME!" HE HUGGED ME AS I HEARD WHAT SOUNDED LIKE A WHISTLE NEAR THE STAIRS LEADING TO THE SECOND FLOOR. 
He placed me in the upstairs bathroom.
"If anybody asks why you up here, tell them you were using the bathroom. And im sorry. Im sorry. You forgive me. I'll make it up to you. I promise. Say you forgive me...please."
"I...forgived...u...." 
I said wiping snot away.
A week later. My grandma sat me down. She asked if anyone was touching us. She looked evil though. I know she would never hurt me, but I loved Carl like family. She had hell and brimstone in her irises, and she got into one of her righteous rants, where she said she would kill for me, kill for my brother, nobody would hurt us.
I don't know if she meant it, but she scared me into silence. I don't blame her. Its hard even bringing those topics up without emotion. But I didn't want Carl to die. So I shut up. At 6, I shut up. I didn't want him to die. And her words made what he said reality in my head.
I never went to him anymore though after my Grandma's talk and him tryna penetrate me. I never let him get me alone. He would try to bribe me with food, candy, video games, begging, clothes, money...but i never went.
He went to Juvie a few months later for stabbing a boy in the face over street wars.
 Life was normal until 11. In fourth grade, I was taking a NYS official test, I was answering a question about the Native American indigenous to NY state and boom: (There were two paintings in the upstairs hallway. My grandma had a picture of a Native man, with striking features, in a swamp, grabbing a snake. It was next to a picture of a black girl playing double dutch. That question connected back to that picture) 
It all played out in my mind like a movie. I didn't even realize I had suppressed it that much. I fought back tears and (I work well in stress, idk why but I do), I got a 97%.
 After that day I became hypersexual. When I think about it, I always was....touching boys and girls. Kissing girls and boys, playing house and being the wife. Always too fucking touchy and in people's personal space. But I guess at 11, puberty hit me full force and the idea of sex became something constant in me. Before that it was all mimicry of what happened to me. At 11, these thoughts entered me and would not leave. I wanted real sex after that moment. It is hell to be hypersexual at 11. My southern-upbrung Grandma was definitely not ready for that. Then my thoughts were about boys. I was consumed with them. Especially older men. Taking my friend in the closet and telling him I love him, while I pull his penis out and offer him a blow job. 
"...ok...ok...idk..but if its you...ok"
 I started fucking myself with things. The ends of a big screw driver with a soft silicon handle. An ugly yellow toy banana I found at Family Dollars. Fingers. It was like older men knew I was in a heat, I didn't want. I would masturbate like 7 times a day. It was never enough. It was all consuming. An older man who liked me gave me a dildo, he never had sex with me though. We would just talk about how it felt when I penetrate myself. He would stutter and cum to my stories. (I lose myself in good anal sex. I still do, I dissassociate in a good way, the noise of the world falls away and all I am in those moments are a body, feeling. There is no analyzing life, or existential crises. There is not a thousand thoughts in my head. No ptsd or bpd or bipolaor depression or all those mental illness therapists told me I had directly and not so directly) This feeling of shame came when I couldn't stop the thoughts. I was something bad and deviant. My thoughts were deviant, so I locked them up tightly. Even though they were ever present Carl came out of juvie/prison when I was 12. His 6 pack all those years ago had turned into an 8 pack. His slender, toned teen body, had grown into a young man's body. I was drawn to him. He felt indebted to me. 
I remember at 12, when of his hood friends used to flirt with me. Nothing crazy, just a little flirtatious. Always tryna wrestle me. Always tryna get my attention.
I came home one afternoon to him surprising me, him agitated.
"Jay is fucking with you D?" "No he is cool" "Lemme know cuz I will end any nigga for you. You hear me...any of them. You mines. You hear me!" 
My grandma sat on her bed smiling. Like aww look at the older brother being protective.
It wasn't protection though. He still felt like i belonged to him some way even though he never made anymore moves. He also felt guilty.
He was always giving me stuff. Clothes. Food. Money. Anything. It could have been his last.
I would watch him shower. He would leave the door open slightly. I would peek and look at his naked body, until my mind went crazy in heat. One Night, he left his shirt on the floor as he showered. I had a small t-shirt on and these too tight underwear. On the same cream color floor where he tried to penetrate me, i pentrated myself with that, ugly yellow banana, inhaling the intoxicating smell of his shirt. I was so into it, I didn't feel his eyes on me. 
He was watching me smell his shirt and fuck myself.
 He was hard and staring when I came on his rug. "We can't do that nomore. What i did was wrong....but fuck...you looked so sexy....still with the soft skin and big bambi eyes." "Fuck all that...i want you to fuck me..." "What's gotten into you...you used to be so innocent and sweet. We don't have to. I will always be be ya side. You still sexy though God. Even more sexy." "I don't know how to handle what you exposed to me. I want dick in me all the time. 24/7. I dream about it. I day dream about it. I fantasize about it. Please Carl, fuck me...please" "Im too big and people in the house and...." 
I got up knocking all the shit off his dresser. There's a rage in me, a darkness. A need. Impulsivity. Like every emotion is competing for best actress.
I started crying in pure fucking frustration. 
"So you could try to fuck me at 6, you pedo, but 12 is too old? Fuck you nigga. I hate what you did to me. You made me so fucking weird and now!!!!! You don't want to FUCKING continue. I hate you. Fucking die."
He hugged me like when I was little.
"You went me that bad? To finally have me truly take ya virginity. Wait a little longer okay. But look at me...clearly I'm excited. Just wait...ok? Sex starves D might be the seseries. (Him referring to me at 5/6 as sexy 🤢🤮, when I think about that disgusting convo) I pouted. He gave me 300 from his drug business to shut up. 
After that, every time he would pass me, he would feel on me. I'd wear little t shirts where my nipples poked out and pajamas too small, so my little butt could poke out.
He would touch me and kiss me in rushing. He was never home, always in the street. 
At 13, he died from a gunshot wound to the heart. He never did get to fuck me.
(Sometimes, when im depressed, and analytical, I think if all that really did propel me on my way to my life now. I pass as a woman and live an alright life, even with the trauma, but my Mom says when things like that happen to us so young, they become apart of our psyche. Not to say I would have been a sterotypical masculine male....but is this why I like being called princess and good girl, is this one of the reasons why I so desperately clung to womanhood, is this why, especially young, all my sexual fantasies were of me being penetrated by older, well hung, developed men. How much of it is my true nature, how much was groomed into me. The choking, the hypersexuality in my youth, the crazy sex adventures I found myself in. I don't think about it often. Its one of those questions that if I let it sit too long in me, will undo me. I love my transition (mostly) but that thought is scary. To think that, the person I am today can be attributed, at the least, slightly, to my childhood trauma)
The real trauma happened at 23. When i was 23, I dated this guy named Jason for 6 months. I had just started transistioning for a few months. He took me out. I met his close friends. I met his cousins. The sex was good, he was sweet and passionate. I felt like i was falling for him. Lucky. Special
I was a new trans woman, and most guys arent always so kind to not so passable trans women.
He treated me like a woman. How I always wanted to be treated.
Up until the night I told him no.
We had went out on a night on the town. The place is near west 4th street in NYC. It is called the Fat Black Pussy Cat. He bought me these bomb ass nachos and like 13 tequila shots. My stomach was queasy and I couldn't keep my head from spinning.
I get home and boom, sleep.
His body weight and his massive hands on me woke me up. (5'9 150 to his 6'5 250 pure muscled body). He was an athlete and he had went to prison. I never saw it as a red flag because it was a white collar crime.
He wanted sex.
I said no. I'm nauseous. In the morning bae.
It took my brain 10 minutes to catch up to what was going on.
My laughs and his stoic face.
My giggles and "stop playing Jason, in the morning im ride it good daddy." fall on a face that was determined.
His hand on my throat squeezing tighter and tighter.
When I realized what was happening (i'm also a childhood survivor as well). I fought. Two rights to his eyes and nose. He laughed. I ran for my kitchen, and picked up a knife but he slammed me.
Those first few moments were straight anxiety. Me, running full speed over my couch; him catching my leg and my face hitting the floor.
Me, head butting him right in his lip. I sunk my teeth into his shoulder blade. He slammed my body face first into my living room wall.
I remember the sound of glass breaking as he slammed my back against my glass coffee table. Bits of glass, like glass splinters, on the side of my spine.
I remember the anxious feeling turning into a doomed one, when my strength and stamina didn't match up to his. Even just 10 months on estrogen shots and anti testestorone pills had made me weaker. Like 50 percent weaker
His laughter in my ear as he said:
"I like girls with heart, ya are more satisfying to break"
After 20 minutes he got tired. Not physically tired. Tired of this fight in me.
I was on my last wind. Every nerve in my body was in fire from fighting with him so long. I grew up fighting and winning as a feminine boy. But as a trans women, on hrt, a high dosage, its just not the same.
I remember my teeth cutting into my jaw as he slammed my head into the kitchen tiles, the hemoglobin left the taste of iron in my head.
He punched my ribs, knocking the wind out of me. Stomped my right hand. I just laid there, as the reality of my situation set in.
Im not getting away.
"Isn't this why you transistioned...to entice men. Didn't you do this to become mines"
I dissassociated as he choked me until i couldn't breathe. Color flashed in front of my eyes. I focused on my cat in a corner, a white ball, like this had happened to her before . I didn't want to die from fighting for the right over my body. So I mentally left.
I focused on a dustball under my stove
I stared at a dead sparrow on my kitchen window ledge I had never noticed. I imagined I was that bird. Dead. If I'm dead, I can't feel and if I can't feel, this is not happening to me.
His kisses on my shoulder....and his "there's my baby girl", was worse than the rape or beating. That memory lives under my skin. His attempted intimacy daring rape. How....how....
It makes me so mad and digusted. Like I wanna take my nails to my skin to kill that fucking memory.
I wanted him to be evil. You are a fucking monster, fucking show it, you disgusting, deviant, criminally sadistic bastard. If you wanna be evil.
He caressed and kissed my unresponsive body.
Pushing his dick into my dry walls, slightly ripping me.
It was messy because I was not ready nor did I prep. It hurt because he went in dry.
I didn't even scream, as I felt myself tear a little. I just stared....i was death in those moments.
He left me there saying "I love you Daisy". I stayed on the ground for 30 minutes. No thoughts. I just stared. My kitty Carmen licked my face and I cried so horribly, stirred back to reality by her. She left white hairs on my chin as she turned into a ball under my neck.
He left anal fissures in me and a hemorrhoid. It hurt to use the bathroom for 10 days. He had fractured the bone below my right index finger. My left eye was filled with blood. When he slammed my head in the kitchen, blood filled into it. I looked like an extra in the Walking dead.
I never told because I am transgender. They don't care if we live let alone if we are raped.
I swallowed it. Never telling anybody for years, going to school the next day like I was in a car accident and smiling.
I sometimes attack men in my sleep. My exs always tell me how wild I sleep at night and how they can't touch me when im deep sleeping or I become violent.
I have extreme pstd at times. Fits of paranoia and rage.
I don't trust men. Nor do I think I can ever conventionally date again. I try but I leave or dip...or go m.i.a. i just don't feel connected to me like I once did. Its been so many secual wrongs done to me.
But him making me almost love him and then brutally raping me, was the one sexual trauma to truly do me in.
Even if i like a guy, there's a subliminal voice in my head telling me:
"All men are predators, some just are more good at hiding it"
I never hated my transition until that moment. That sheer terror of my body failing me. The sheer terror of my physical strength changed. The utter hopelessness.
"Damn I made myself a fucking target. I had to be a fucking tranny. I'm weak now and can't even protect myself."
And i don't think I can ever trust any man 100 percent. Maybe...at best...99 percent.
But it has made me lonely and depressive. How do I love again? How do I learn to trust?
I don't want to die without finding true love but at this progression...im be an old trans woman with mad cats. Bitter and jaded, seeing the world as evil.
I used to be so carefree. Now I trust nothing.
How do I get a piece of the old me back?
How do I move on?
The memories being like movies. I can see all the details.
 Im ready to heal. 
submitted by tsinnyc30 to adultsurvivors [link] [comments]


2020.09.27 21:22 Peregrinebullet Old Trip Report - May-June 2016 - 24 days

PART 1
So I was going through old emails and pictures and found detailed writeups that I sent a friend of mine during our 2016 Japan trip. My friend had never been to Japan and knew nothing about it, so I'll edit/ condense them for clarity, as I got into some pretty basic explanations that I'm sure a lot of you have figured out already.
** don't think too hard about the dates/timeline, as I condensed and sometimes didn't have time to tell Friend about things until a few days later, so the emails backtrack to previous days a few times -*\*
We were planning on going again this year or next year with our toddler, but alas, pandemic. COVID-19 having slowed down content on this subreddit, I figured some people would still find this a fun read.
We did a 4 person trip (myself, my husband (B), my sister (S) and her boyfriend (K)) for 24 days, sharing accommodations and fair bit of food/transport costs, depending on what we were doing. We ended up realizing that increasing convenience or comfort generally didn't cost a lot more than the cheapest options, so we often paid an extra $5-8/ night to get a business hotel instead of a hostel. We also opted for the convenience of the JR pass (which paid off for us) and the Jetfoil ferry.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Here's our budget in CAD - Rough planned (actual): pp = per person
Planned budget:
Plane ticket for [SISTER] & [SISTER's BF]- $800- 1000pp (Actual cost: $1100cad pp for YVR-PVG-NRT round trip)
Plane tickets for husband and I: 150K Alaska miles +$220cad (YVR-NRT direct)
Tokyo accommodations - 180 pp ($189 - $121 pp at Hotel Horidome Villa, 2 rooms x 3 days, then $68 pp at an airbnb near Oku Station x3)
Kyoto Accommodations - 123 pp ($367pp for 13 days at an japanese townhouse airbnb near Sanjo Station)
Food - 400 pp (I didn't end up tracking what we ate, but it was closer to $500 as we ate so many snacks and tried a lot of restaurants).
21 day JR Rail pass - 570 pp ($692 pp with taxes - the cost went up between us planning the trip and actual purchase, several months later)
Attractions - 200 pp ($10 per attraction/15 days of attractions) ($250-ish - didn't track this super closely).
Hiroshima Accomodations - no estimate ( 32.84 pp - I forget which hotel, but in honesty, it was a pretty forgettable hotel that smelled like cigarettes even though we had picked "non-smoking" and had a very squeaky bed)
Kagoshima Accomodations - no estimate ($34 pp - APA Hotel Kagoshima Chuo-Ekimae)
Jetfoil Ferry from Kagoshima - Yakushima Roundtrip - ($202pp - free booking through Yes Yakushima)
Yakushima accommodations - 85 pp (330 total) ($97 pp for 3 nights at Minshuku Iwakawa)
Yakushima Island tour - 100pp ($136 pp )
Yakushima Anbo River kayaking - 100 pp ($86 pp )
Yakushima bike rentals - 15pp (didn't end up renting bikes)
Kyoto daily transit - 70 pp ($5/day for approx 12 days) (ended up renting bikes for $30 pp + 20 deposit (which they returned to us - we used the bus twice, the rest of the time was us biking around or using our JR passes to do day trips)
Kinosaki Onsen ($86 pp for 1 night in the cheapest "nice" Ryokan we could find, Sinonomesou)
Other (souvenirs, essentials, LH's) - 300pp (ha... my sister managed about $400, I was $600, as I ended up getting a tattoo - the guys didn't buy much.)
Tokyo Skyliner + Keisei tickets: $44 pp
Total per person minus plane tickets = $3145
Total for S & K (including plane ticket) - $ 4200ish CAD ea
$3145 divided by 24 is approx $131 per day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Reminder:
B = Husband
S = Sister
K = Sister's boyfriend.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DAY 1 (Tokyo)
(No email report, as I was too tired).
Flew into Narita, negotiated our way to the skyliner without Tooooo much difficulty, and met up with my sister and her BF at Hotel Horidome Villa. Pretty comfy little business hotel, and we had two adjacent rooms. We were a bit tall for the beds (B is 5'11" and K is 6'1"), but it wasn't the end of the world. My husband could almost span the room with his arms. Used the tokyo subway tickets that came included with our Keisei Skyliner tickets to get around. First experience of Japanese 7/11 and ended up bringing an entire bag full of snacks back to our hotel room to try, which we ate while watching incomprehensible Japanese TV, then fell asleep
Day 2 (Tokyo) - first email
We walked around for nearly 8 hours and holy crap, I am looking forward to soaking in the tub in our room. Despite the bathroom being so tiny, the tub is actually big enough to accommodate my thighs, Which is more than can be said for the one back home! ( I'm not a skinny person).
Due to jet lag, we fell asleep around 8pm last night and I woke up at 4 am. B always sleeps longer than I do, so I basically read for 2 hours, waiting for him to wake up.
Then we went to the gym. We have an anytime membership, and they weren't kidding. You literally can use it anywhere in the world. There's an Anytime fitness about 6 blocks from our hotel. We walk in, and about 4 old Japanese men who were on the machines just stop and STARE at us as we walked past them.
They try to be surreptitious about it, but it's a constant thing. I make a point of catching their eyes, and they quickly look away, then try to sneak another look, and then get embarrassed because I'm still watching them with raised eyebrows. Me and K got the worst of it later in the day, because I was wearing a red dress and K has visible tattoos.
The red dress thing was a surprise, because I had no idea that Japanese people really only wear like 5 colours when out in public here in Tokyo - black, navy, white, pale blue or beige. The school uniforms tend to be one of these colours and most men wear black or navy business suits of varying formality.
Literally, every person we saw who was wearing a different colour turned out to not be Japanese - either we ended up hearing them speak a different language, or they were obviously tourists. I knew I was already going to stand out, having red hair, but this was a bit ridiculous.
First thing in the morning, we went out to a breakfast place that served American food ("Bubby's"). Despite being advertised as a family restaurant, the mug S drank coffee out of had a caption of "F%*KING FRESH" on it. It took us quite awhile to find it and after that, we decided that 7/11 breakfasts were the way to go, both convenience and cost wise.
K also had a hilarious mishap in the morning while snapchatting with his mom, which I will copy-paste his own words:
Note to self: Be careful of the angles when snapchatting pictures of yourself in a Japanese robe with a beer. A few degrees can change a photo from G to 18A. ‪#‎justwantedacoolangle‬ ‪#‎sorrymom‬
After breakfast, we went down to Shibuya, which is where the giant 6 way cross walk is that you often see in pictures of Tokyo. Since we had been up so ridiculously early, we had missed most of the morning crowds up until this point. But once we hit Shibuya, rush hour was in full swing. People were 7-9 rows deep on the metro platforms and it was sea of dudes in business suits. People didn't quite have to be pushed onto the trains by white gloved attendants, but it was a close thing.
Gaijin perimeter was in full effect though, and people avoided standing near us a lot of the time. We wandered around Shibuya for about an hour, venturing off the main shopping street into the twisty back alleyways. At one point, we found about 12 love hotels in three blocks.
We also found what I like to call "The saddest playground in Tokyo", featuring PTSD Panda and Mr. Tiger.
After the huge crowds in Shibuya, I was aching for some quiet, so we headed to the Imperial Palace Gardens. However, we made a wrong turn, and went half way around the grounds in the wrong direction, so we didn't get to see the public gardens (by the time we realized our mistake, we had been walking for 25 mins and were at the opposite end of the compound)
It wasn't a loss though, because the exterior of the palace grounds is still really cool. I only got a couple pictures of the walls and guard towers, but it was eerie how perfectly manicured all the plants and grass were. We wouldn't put it past the Japanese Imperial household to clip the grass by hand, you know? It had that kind of feel to it. We don't know if it was the case, but everything was utterly perfect looking.
After the Imperial gardens, we came back to our hotel room and I passed out for about two hours - it was only like 3 pm, but we'd been walking around since 8am, plus I had done a run, so my feet were killing me.
After my (utterly delicious and much needed) nap, we went to the Tokyo Skytree. We got there right at sunset and it was gorgeous. It was really crazy to see how far the city extended - literaly, buildings as far as the eye could see (it was an overcast day, so the mountains that surround Tokyo were not visible.)
One thing that surprised me about Tokyo is it's not as dense as I thought. it would be. Everything is compact and small, but it's rare for a building to be over 12 stories. 6-8 stories was more likely, except for some of the government buildings and just right around the main metro stations. It was more just endless amounts of urban sprawl.
I've had Tokyo described to me as a "dirty great city" and that seems to be the truth - it's just a huge city that goes on for miles and miles. But because the metro system here is so extensive, you can cross it in like 40 mins, no problem. The metro system is super easy to get around - I barely remember any of my Japanese lessons, but didn't really need them.
However, I did make one embarrassing flub - I mixed up the words for "this is" and "Where is" - Kore is this is and doko is "where is" .
So I confused several station attendants when asking for directions.
Imagine a foreigner marching up to you and saying "This is the ginza line!" instead of "Where is the ginza line?" I asked three station attendants and a police officer this before I figured out my mistake and they all gave me looks like I was crazy.
DAY 3 + 4 (Tokyo + Kyoto)
OK, I'm awake now (slept 11 hours, jesus christ). I have walked more in the last three days than I have walked in months, good lord.
I forgot to tell you about a funny part of the Tokyo Skytree - they have a fucking window cleaner musical. They have a performance of window cleaners projected onto the windows, (the actors, thankfully, are NOT outside the 900 ft tower) where they sing and clean the windows in a synchronized fashion, then all march onto the floor with a brass band. I wish I was joking. I couldn't understand a word of it though, so I have no idea what they were singing about exactly.
After that we went downstairs and explored the mall underneath the skytree for a few hours - it was actually a lot of fun and we found a store completely devoted to cheese. Best. cheesecake. I've.ever.had.
As for yesterday, we got up and and took the Metro out to Shinjuku, where our friend's hotel was. (We were meeting up with some friends from China)
Remember how for Day 2, I said that we hadn't quite gotten to the point where white gloved station attendants were pushing people onto trains? Well, I had my first experience with it yesterday. The train was packed, we squeezed on, and about ten people got on behind us.
There was an awkward pause as you realize the doors weren't going to close unless something was done. I was already half buried under B's armpit, with my opposite arm and purse buried between two tall (for Japanese) business men, with another dude glued to my back.
Then the shove came and I was knocked into the two business guys. I wasn't even holding onto anything. The crush of people held me upright for about five stops, which was all kinds of no fun, because you can guess at the sort of momentum that the train drivers have to deal with when braking and accelerating with a packed train like that. Everyone got pushed around and elbows in places that you don't want elbows as the train stopped and started.
When we got to Shinjuku, it was pretty different from where our hotel was (we're in Nihonbashi). Lots of wide avenues and modern development. The suited Japanese businessmen were still everywhere. Our friends were staying in the Shinjuku Washington, and they reported that their hotel room (despite being much newer) was no bigger than ours.
We wandered around Shinjuku looking for breakfast, and our friends, both being Chinese, and thus indistinguishable from the Japanese, were shocked at our Gaijin Perimeter abilities. The crowds parted in front of B like sailboats dodging out of the way of a tanker, and giving him the same sort of wide berth, to the point where some people were stepping out onto the street.
We found a ramen place called Ichiran which had decent ratings. It was also very much the sort of place that drunk people would stumble into during their walk of shame. Everything was designed so that you could have minimal interaction with other human beings.
You ordered your ramen from a ticket machine, and then there was four bar style rows, each with a little cubby that shut you off from your neighbour (though the cubby walls could be folded away).
You pushed the ticket through a small bamboo screen and you were handed back a preference sheet that you ticked off - how spicy, how rich, what type of noodles, what veggies, and you returned it through the screen. Minutes later, a bowl of ramen ordered to your preferences would be pushed through the screen. You could literally accomplish all of this without saying a single word and the server was never visible - At most, you saw their hands through the screen. Perfect for anyone with social anxiety.
After that, we headed out on the JR lines to Tokyo DisneySea. You heard that right, DisneySea, not Disneyland. They are adjacent park, but the major difference is that DisneySea serves booze. Not that we had any (booze was not immune to Disney prices).
On a purely artsy level, DisneySea was awesome - everything was gorgeously and meticulously decorated. While walking through "King Triton's Castle"(as opposed to the Sleeping Beauty's castle that you'd find in the regular disney parks), we noticed that every single tile in every single mosaic was in fact engraved with pictures of Ariel, Flounder and Prince Eric. Not the same picture either - different poses and positions.
There was a huge Steampunk flavour to the park too. Everything was pretty to look at and the amount of detail was insane.
It was crowded though and the rides were ok. We only went on about 6 of them, but they were fun. Again, more just from the artsy side of it. I would say it was worth what we paid, but only just barely. I will say this though, when set free from the uniform requirements of black, navy and beige "NormCore" colours (according to my sister, that's the name that's used for that type of fashion?), Japanese people seem to have terrible taste in clothing. Lots of mixed neons and plaid.
I also got an extremely awkward sunburn, because I under-estimated how far the neckline of my dress went down and didn't put on sunscreen that far down. :/ It itches. The sun here does not play around, we had to buy 50SPF+++ sunscreen (which is everywhere, thank goodness)
We got home and passed out super quick last night. This morning, we woke up early and packed up our room, because we were heading to Kyoto today.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SO, EIGHT HOURS LATER, WE ARE NOW IN KYOTO.
Kyoto is crazy different from Tokyo.
Big difference? The Japanese business-suited business man has completely disappeared. Now there's people walking around in actual kimonos (We saw no kimonos in Tokyo. none.) Oh, and people are wearing colours. Actual colours.
We booked out of our hotel around 10am and dragged our suitcases over to Tokyo station, which was around 20 minutes away on foot. Not bad at all, but it was a hot day. Also, the bank of Japan headquarters looks like a fortress and there is one office building just before the station that is entirely covered in roses - we're talking a 6 storey building. Completely covered in roses. It was pretty cool.
Tokyo station is just nuts. There are 24 platforms, both local and shinkansen trains. It is a white tiled rabbit warren. B and K's gaijin perimeter was invaluable when we were rushing through the crowds to catch our train.
There was also a mall beneath the station, and much of it was devoted to different stores that featured a particular character. Japan has a tendency to make a cutesy character mascot for everything. Literally everything.
Every prefecture, every city, has a character mascot. Most of the big companies have them. Some of them, like Domo-kun have gotten extremely popular. Others, like Snoopy, have been taken, bastardized, and then grown into something that bypasses all of their origins. There were, of course, stores dedicated to these two guys, and several others as well. My favourite was the Studio Ghibli store (obviously).
There was alot of specialized food places, of varying quality, including a standing sushi bar.
The shinkansen train was really new experience for me. I've been on really fast trains before - I've been on the TGV trains in France, but I was really too young to remember much about it. However, Shinkansen bullet trains are pretty ridiculous, in a very cool way.
First, they're extremely long - about 16 cars. Of course, our reserved seats were in the very last car, so we had to hike down the platforms with our bags (about 200 m and it was very very crowded).
They're arranged pretty much like an airplane, with overhead and under seat storage and similar seats and once you actually get going, you don't really process how fast you're going, unless the train passes really close to something. Most of the scenery passes much like it would if you were in a car. But when something passed by at less than 5 m, it was literally so blurred that you could not distinguish what it was. Several trains passed us on the adjacent track and you could not even distinguish the windows.
The Japanese countryside is really neat - Everything is really dense, and then there's wild countryside. They don't really do "suburbia" in the sense that north america does. There was very clear demarcations between human habitation, farmland and wilderness, and you didn't see much overlap. The mountains here are gorgeous, but wayyyy smaller than the ones back home. They seem gentler too, but it's hard to say, because I don't know what Japanese hiking habits are.
We went by mount Fuji too :))
Upon reaching Kyoto, it was much hotter and much more casual. As I mentioned earlier, the business suits have disappeared and everything is older and feels more organic, so to speak.
The townhouse were are staying in is extremely old and has tatami flooring, and we're sleeping on futons as well. There's a supermarket 1 block away and we had a lot of fun attempting to decipher what the hell different foods were. Sometimes my ability to read some Kanji helped, but most of it is a mystery, because Japan tends to favour cutesy drawings over pictures of products on their packaging.
Also, vegetables and fruit are very very photogenic here. Apparently, Japanese people are willing to pay a lot of money to eat "perfect" looking foods. The carrots we bought were fat, bright orange and perfectly shaped. That was the only option. Same goes for every other veggie we could find.
We also had a super awkward moment when we discovered that Japanese supermarkets do not give you bags. B and I bought a basket worth of food, then discovered that we had no way to carry it home easily.
So we opted for the most ridiculous route, and carried it all back to the apartment balanced in our arms. People were openly smirking at us, but oh well. How were we supposed to know? :P
Super tired today, so we're having a night in. S, K and B have been drinking the super cheap alcohol that you can buy in the supermarket. We'll be going to bed soon, because we're boring like that .

Day 5 (Kyoto)
We rented bikes for commuting around Kyoto. Kyoto is full of contradictions. The locals bike everywhere it seems, except on the actual designated bike lanes. But you would not believe the glares we get when we ring our little bike bells to get wandering Japanese Obasans (old women) out of our way, because they're in the middle of the bike path. There's also signs everywhere that tell you where not to park your bikes - only to have half a dozen bikes parked in front of them.
We rode up and down both sides of the Kamo river, which is in the middle of Kyoto - and there were a bunch of hawks and cranes up and down the river. The hawks were fighting quite low to the ground and nearly buzzed B at one point. Later on, we saw them steal a sandwich out of a girl's hand. She burst into tears and I don't blame her - I worked with birds and that still looked terrifying.
I should also note that it's fucking hot out. The airbnb we are renting has 2 bedrooms but only one of the bedrooms has A/C. So all four of us are crammed into one room on futons because the other room is enough to make anyone melt. We've been using the other room as a "dressing room" and keeping all our bags in there.
Day 6 (Kyoto)
So I have a massive case of bike butt right now.
As in, I've been on a bike for more than 20 hours in the last three days, and I have a seat shaped bruise on my ass. I wish I was joking.
Still by far the best way to get around Kyoto (and the cheapest - we only paid about $45 for a two week rental) but jeez, you pay for it in other ways. :P I'm going to be sitting funny for a few days!
Today was a lot of fun - we went out to Arashiyama (Biked to Nijo JR station from our airbnb - about 22 mins, then used JR pass), which is a district on the far side of Kyoto from where we are staying (we're in Gion, which is the famous geisha district - did you ever hear of the book/movie Memoirs of a Geisha? That's where it's set). Arashiyama is a gorgeous area, with steep mountains and these really beautiful gorges. It started raining like crazy, so we didn't go on the scenic train like we had been planning to, but we visited the Monkey park, which was a lot of fun.
Japan only has one species of monkey - the Japanese Macaque. They're not very big - they'd be about knee height on you, but they have red faces and red butts. They're the ones you see in pictures sitting in the hot springs! The ones at this particular park are a part of a study group and there's about 130 of them. The monkey park is also a 20 minute hike up a mountain, so it has a gorgeous view of the entirety of Kyoto - from the opposite perspective than the one we had at Kiyomizu dera (which I will tell you about in a bit).
We hiked up to the top of the mountain, the monkeys were mostly just laying around and chilling out. Some were grooming each other, and a lot of the younger ones were running around playing. They're right underfoot! You weren't allowed to touch them or crouch down to look at them (it's a dominance thing apparently) but they were super chill around humans and only avoided direct contact.
One of the cool things you could do up here was feed them! Y100 yen got you a bag of apples or nuts and you could feed them at a designated feeding station, where they'll take the food right out of your hand.
They would crowd around and I got really lucky, because the macaque that came up to me to take the apples was a mother with a very young baby - he was so tiny, about 7 inches long, and was clinging to her belly and nursing as she ate the apples. Completely adorable. I also got pictures of her letting him wander around and explore later.
We came down from the monkey park and mostly just browsed the tourist shops, because the weather was so bad and sat in the the covered foot bath at one end of the high street.
~~
Kiyomizu dera is about 35 minutes south of our airbnb by bike, and it was a pretty cool ride until the very end - we managed about a quarter of the hill on our bikes, then had to walk up the rest of the way. The temple up is a narrow street lined with shops and there's tour buses everywhere, so walking ended up being safer. We really enjoyed wandering around the temple - it was crowded, but not claustrophobic and the view over Kyoto was gorgeous. There's tons of little side paths and little grottos that are sort of lurking around the main temple and pagoda, so you can spend quite a while just wandering. We checked out the shops on the way back down the hill and it was super nice.

(Kyoto)
We got up super early and went to the Aoi Matsuri festival (15 minutes bike ride from our airbnb). I'm not entirely sure on the origins for this one (it's one of the oldest ongoing "festivals" in Japan - about 1100 years) but it's very sombre. It's a processional from the Kyoto Imperial palace up to a temple about three kilometres upriver, and apparently it was originally done to appease the gods after a series of disasters at that point. All the costumes are modeled after the Heian era (about 900 years ago) and everyone carries hollyhock branches and the processional attendants carry an unmarried woman who was chosen as "Saio Dai" through out the procession, basically a priestess who leads the appeasement rituals.
Generally, the Saio Dai has to wear 12 layers of robes. It was about 27 C yesterday. I'm surprised she didn't melt. It was interesting to watch from an anthropological standpoint (everyone was wearing shoes made of reeds) but there was nothing to really engross the casual observer and we couldn't understand the chanting or the loudspeaker announcements at all. We left after about 40 minutes, as there was precious little shade.
The funniest thing we saw was that someone in a security guard uniform was basically in charge of making sure the processional's horses peed into a garbage bag instead of onto the parade route.
Afterwards, we biked around several of the temples just north of our apartment ( a lot of them are world heritage sites, and very beautiful, but Kyoto is very much a place where there is a temple on every block, so you have to be picky about the ones you go to). They were all beautiful and serene, but there weren't many differences between them.
After that, we biked down to Kyoto Station to get some ramen from the ramen alley (35 min bike ride straight down the river pathway, then across). In the station, up on the 10th floor, there is a section with 12 little ramen shops, each with a different style of ramen. S and K went to a ramen place elsewhere in Kyoto and ended up getting ramen that was wayyy to spicy for them, so they were in a lot of, ah, discomfort this morning. We've been taking it easy the last few days, as we haven't been getting much sleep. The person we're renting an apartment from didn't really give us good futons, so we've been pretty much laying on the hard tatami. Thankfully, the problem was sorted today and I hope tonight we can get a good sleep!

(Kyoto)
So, since I've always wanted to try on a kimono, but lacked the funds to get one of my own (they cost about $5000 minimum, due to the amount of embroidery they often have), we went to a kimono studio.
Most of the people walking around Kyoto are wearing yukata instead of kimono. Most good yukata will still set you back about $200 though, (but we ended up getting nice cotton ones from a cool 2nd hand shop in downtown Kyoto - we still use them as our summer bath robes).
So I was looking for places to rent them from (there's plenty) but I also discovered a place that will dress one up in a full kimono, as well as put on all the traditional geisha makeup. My sister wanted to try this too, so off we went the day before yesterday. It's a little three story studio several blocks south of where we were staying, that called itself the "Maiko Experience". Despite the good reviews, I thought it might be touristy, but the clientele was about 50% Japanese as well. Several older Japanese ladies were in the make up and dressing rooms with us.
Turns out that being belted into a proper kimono is NOT something you can do yourself. I had some vague ideas that you needed help to do it properly, but it's often a two or three person job.
We were put into makeup first. Traditional Maiko make up is where they paint your skin and neck completely white (with the exception of a small area at the back of your neck, because apparently it's erotic to have a small bit of skin showing through layers of white paint?) The white makeup feels pretty much like paint but they basically buff you non stop with a powder puff to get it to smooth out and cover everything, including the entirety of our lips.
The eye makeup wasn't too different from what some people would do - red/pink shading around the outer eyes and black kohl liner, which shows up quite dramatically against the white face paint. What was weird to me is that she spent several minutes painting my eyebrows red, then overlaying it with black kohl.
The effect was very interesting though, and one I saw it properly after she was finished, I figured out what she was going for. It makes for a far deeper and more subtle look than just putting black would have done. Just black would have made me look like I had huge black caterpillar eyebrows. Adding the red blended the whole thing with the eye makeup and added a lot of depth. Which is a weird comment to make about eyebrows.
The lips were the most annoying part. If you've ever seen pictures of traditional geisha makeup, you'll notice that they often only paint one of their lips fully (usually the bottom) and only a little line or a half done on the upper. This is because if you actually painted your entire lips with a white face, you'd end up looking like a ridiculous clown.
I don't have Resting Bitch Face or anything, but my default expression is definitely not a close-lipped smile, which is what the make up artist required to apply the lip paint. I had trouble keeping a close lipped smile while concentrating on keeping everything else still and, in her very meek Japanese way, I could tell she was annoyed with me, because every time I concentrated on keeping still, my mouth would return to a neutral position. Either way, it came out crooked and it caused a flurry among the hairdressers later when they noticed it and swooped in to fix it.
They don't torture you by doing your hair in the geisha hairstyles (which were usually expected to last for days), so they have a half wig that they comb your hair over and paint black.
After that, you pick what kimono you want to wear (I went with pink, my sister chose blue), and you get strapped into them.
I'm not even joking, it's like getting trussed up into a corset. There's about three layers of underwear, and while my sister had no problems (her shape being more similar to the typical Japanese woman), I could tell my boobs were giving the dressers trouble. Lots of untying and rearranging of padding, before being tugged tight again. Apparently they try to make you cylindrical shaped before they even put the kimono on. No buttons or anything - everything is held in place by cotton cords. Still pretty merciless on the breathing though.
After satisfying themselves with the undergarments (and they are not sexy undergarments ) we moved onto the kimono.
Kimonos come in one standard length, and the dresser folds them up to match your height. So this caused another problem, because all the padding they had put underneath to even me out had to be rearranged so that I didn't look pregnant when they folded up the kimono layers . By the end of it, you are trussed up so tightly that you are forced to have good posture and can't really even bend at the waist too good - all bending over is done with the knees.
However, that's half the pleasure of wearing corsets anyways (your back is forced to be straight, which alleviates a lot of aches) so it wasn't that bad.
We were taken for a couple studio pictures, then given ten minutes to take our ownpictures. B noted that he barely recognized us through the make up and we took a couple funny shots (as funny as you can get with your movement restricted like that, while wearing okobo sandals (which you should google). They're as hard to balance on as they look.
After washing off all the make up (also a lengthy process), we had a pretty quiet day in, as we have been going full speed for the last several days.
Yesterday, we went down to Osaka. We were late starting out, so we didn't get to do as much as we wanted, but we took the shinkansen down and went to the Kaiyukan Aquarium, which was extremely impressive. It's a 7 story structure, and all the tanks are layers so that as you walk down through the aquarium, you re-encounter the same tanks, but at different depths.
There's also a massive, 9 m x 34 m x 40m "Pacific Ocean tank" that takes up the majority of the middle of the building. It's about 4 storeys high and actually contains a whale shark, the only one in captivity. Half of the walkways have windows that open out onto this tank, so you could look at it from different perspectives. We also got to watch several feedings, though as per usual, everything is in Japanese, so we have no idea what the trainers are actually saying.
After the Aquarium, there's a giant ferris wheel thing that's 112m tall next to it, so we went on that, which gave us a pretty cool view of the city. Osaka is much denser than Tokyo, with taller buildings, but spread over less of an area. It had way more of a "crowded dirty city" vibe too. We might go back to check out Osaka castle.
(Kinosaki Onsen) (days 9-10?)
Good lord, did I ever get massaged into submission. And not even by anything alive. Our hotel room in Kinosaki had a rather frightening but extremely effective massage chair. As it, it was so effective that you had to make sure the massaging bits didn't push you right out of the chair before it was finished turning you into mashed potatoes. It was an impulsive trip - we didn't even know Kinosaki onsen existed until we were in Kyoto a few days, and decided to spend an overnight here - we left our suitcases at our airbnb in kyoto and just took a small bag each with toiletries and a change of clothes. It was worth keeping the Kyoto airbnb, because it meant we didn't have to haul heavy bags around when we were exploring.
Also, Kinosaki is probably the my favourite spot of our vacation so far. Not only did we have amazingly comfortable beds.... there was seven different onsens (hot spring baths) within walking distance of our hotel.
I know you're a loving connoseur of hot water, so this place would be heaven for you. Basically, this was a town devoted to multitude of ways that you can douse yourself in hot water.
Do you want it hot enough to turn you into a tomato? Check. Whirlpool jets? check. Outdoor hot pools set under a tumbling waterfall? Check. Stone benches to sit on with hot water running down the backs? check. Outdoor hot pools in rock lined grottos? Check. Steam rooms? Check Free and unlimited access to seven onsens that offer these diversions? check. (generally, your onsen fees are included in your hotel cost).
Plus, the hotels provide you with yukata (light kimono) to wear while wandering around the village, and you can move freely between onsen while they're open. It's extremely comfortable and makes everyone look colourful.
We had a lot of fun with it, and like all Japanese bathhouses, nudity is a given. Other than that, my sister and I got stared at a lot there (sort of like how it was in Tokyo - lots of side eye and awkward looking away when I caught their eye). The best example was when they started laughing at something I did by accident.
A bit of background - when you go into the bathing area in the onsen, you're only allowed to bring one teeny towel to "cool" yourself with. You're also not supposed to leave it laying around, so most people just fold it up....and set it on top of their heads. There's variations of course, but generally, it's just sitting there.
Not being used to this, I would usually forget it was there and drop it in the water whenever I tilted my head. After this happening three times, I've finally managed to keep the awareness of keeeping my head level down to a science. Then I started sneezing randomly while sitting on the side of the bath. violent huge AHHHCHOOOS. Shit, there goes my towel! I snatch for it, fumble, and manage to catch it just before it hits the water. All of the ladies in the tub burst out laughing. They're not laughing at me maliciously (it did look pretty funny) .... but I was in a corner, not really in the middle of anything. They were all watching anyways!
K and B had a very different experience - basically any tub they sat in, all the japanese guys got up and moved to the other tub.

See part 2 below
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2020.09.27 16:09 elitist_ferret SERE fuckery

Whenever I think of SERE I always go this wonderful moment. It's the middle of the night. I'm with a group of SEALs, some marine recon guys, a pilot, and 2 navigators. We're trying to get to a RP where we are supposed to be rescued by mercs. We think we're in the right spot and we see some armed dudes standing around silently. We were going to back off and discuss to see if we thought it was the mercs or just more opfore pretending to be the mercs when one of the Navigators just gets right the up and walks over like it's tea time.
ltidiot: HEY GUYS I -
3 MAN TACKLE
ltidiot is face down in the dirt and hog tied in like 10 seconds. They flip him over for a chat
merc: WHAT'S YER NAME BOY
ltidiot: wha- I? arn't you-
SMACK SMACK
merc: BOY I SAID WHAT'S YOUR FUCKING NAME
ltidiot: I don't under st-
SMACK SMACK
merc: WHAT IS YOUR FUCKING NAME
ltidiot: crying WILLIE NELSON! IT'S WILLIE NELSON
SMACK SMACK SMACK SMACK
merc: WHAT IS YOUR REAL FUCKING NAME YOU SMART ASS PIECE OF SHIT
ltidiot: it's willie nelson sobs wilie nelson i swear
instructor from off to the side: "uhh it really IS willie nelson"
merc drops dude's head into the sand with a clonk
merc: boy your momma musta hated you.
I fucking could not stop laughing. Sleep deprivation makes stuff 10x more funny than normal.
Event 2:
To preface this event I had to meet the camp leader and be interrogated. They gave me a list of like 20 things to do in front of him to show respect.
YOU WILL ADDRESS HIM AS ! you will do blah blah
me: yep got it.
SO WHAT WILL YOU DO
me: all those things you said
IF YOU EMBARASS ME I WILL KILL YOU
me: ill do it all
<10m or so pass>
inmybrain: "i bet I can nail alice's friend before I leave. I should totally try to bar hop with them over the weekend. I thought I'd be hungrier. i miss dogs. oh look a fly"

me:
inmybrain: "oh man only a few more days. i wonder what alice is doing on saturday. i bet we can go get some bbq and maybe hit the beach before I fly out-"
SMACK SmACK SMACK SMACK SMACK
YOU WILL BOW TO AS I TOLD YOU!!!<br /> me: what? why didn't you say so <- literally not remembering he told me a bunch of shit to do lol I was genuinely puzzled why he was so mad<br /> SMACK SmACK SMACK SMACK SMACK<br /> me: it's not my fault you didn't tell me <- again I literally didn't remember until later he HAD told me a huge list of shit to do lol<br /> SMACK SmACK SMACK SMACK SMACK<br /> he actually took me aside and broke character and said I did a really good job and most people would have cracked. I laughed and told him I really didn't remember all those instructions. he smacked me one more time for that. So he would try to fuck with me whenever he saw me after that.<br /> Event 3:<br /> We're having a fun bit of being fire hosed in the middle of the night in our underwear. It's a lovely 50f or so in the desert at night so it was super fun. All the NSW people were having a blast and trying to share body heat. I don't think anyone got peed on. Anyway my favorite instructor yanks me aside and is obviously about to start some shit. Now I'm a hairy little bastard. Like wookie. Like every SEAL I ever swim with makes the, "take your sweater off!" joke, which was only funny the first one or two times. No no SERE guy brings the A game.<br /> <yanks me out of the huddle><br /> <Pulls me up against a wall real hard like he's talking to me and fucking winks><br /> OHH YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAY!!??! THIS ONE SAY HE WEREWOLF! HE TURN INTO WEREWOLF AND KILL US ALL!<br /> Per sleep depredation I am fucking dying laughing. He just starts hitting me and hitting me. And I cannot stop laughing and he's only allowed to hit me so many times at once I think lol. So he starts slamming me into the wall and i'm still laughing my ass off. I'm not the only one getting the special treatment either, everyone laughing is getting beat. Finally I think we finally managed to stop laughing and eventually they stopped hitting us.<br /> 10/10 would get hit again for funny joke.<br /> edit<br /> also yes I did have 'fun' over that weekend where you are done with SERE but gotta debrief 2 days later. "Alice" brought me one of her friends for a date, drove me straight to a microbrew/steak house, and is one of the most awesome people I know.<br /> edit no this isnt some weird joke dude was hit. it was funny.<br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593187"> elitist_ferret </a> to <a href="?id=1601593194"> FuckeryUniveristy </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593282">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593250">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>2020.09.27 07:03 <i style="color:green;">everlinedear</i> <b>AITA for rejecting my sister’s drive request after she threaten to stop paying insurance?</b></p> <p><div class="md">So to start my assistant manager has been out on vacation and I do better work than most of my managers so my GM scheduled me all week 8/9 hour shifts since I’m reliable and as practice for when I’m promoted to manager. Today I worked 9-6 but stay till 6:20pm since it was busy. My girlfriend surprised me at work and we had a mini tacobell date so I got home around 7pm. When I got home all my siblings (all younger) were on their phones or laptops so I went upstairs to shower. After a really nice warm shower I went to bed for naps since I work the same shift again the best day. I was woken by my gf who wanted to FaceTime but I was going back to sleep when my sister starts knocking on my door. I go “what?” And she keeps knocking, didn’t hear me bc of her knocking so louder I go “what?” And she goes off about what time do I work, if I could take her and a friend somewhere close to an hour away before work (she didn’t know I worked at 9 yet), and then pick them up when I’m done at work. And the kicker that peed me off when I was awake and processed all that is that she goes “if you don’t take me I’m going to stop paying have of the car insurance” Bro what? You’ve paid one month and this is the second time in less than 3 months my little sister is threatening me with money again. I ignore her bc there’s not much listening from her when I said I work all day. Just a lot of yelling.<br /> Quick note: SHE WORKS AT THE SAME PLACE AS ME AND HAS MY SCHEDULE ON HER PHONE<br /> I woke up from my nap later and played among us with my friends, she sent me paragraphs of text in that time which I ignored and a lil bit ago just read them. <br /> Here in quotes I’m just copying pasting “OP tomorrow im gonna go to Friends house and we are gonna go somewhere. Titus gonna drop me off there so you don’t have to worry about that but could you pick me maura up from where we are going? cause her mom won’t be able to<br /> it’s gonna be after you work that you would pick us up since you get out at 6<br /> mailyn please answer when your done with the game im sorry I’m bothering you”<br /> Idk I feel like she’s just gaslighting me again, we had a similar thing go down a few weeks ago where she threaten to take my money from my bank account and now this with the insurance. I told her I’m going to be dead tired after work and that I don’t care if she stops paying insurance because aside from this last month I’ve paid it completely on my own. So she better choose how she acts because I don’t mind having the car completely to myself and I’m tired of her outburst like this where she’s yelling, aggressive and threading then two hours later is acting like all sweetness and nothing ever happened.<br /> Am I the butthole cuz idk????? I feel like one but my brain says no and it’s keeping me up cuz that’s my little sister but she makes me feel like shit sometimes too.<br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593353"> everlinedear </a> to <a href="?id=1601593213"> AmItheAsshole </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593306">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593251">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>2020.09.27 03:21 <i style="color:green;">BrunoIvan343</i> <b>I carly ep 2</b></p> <p><div class="md">Which is why I say the potato is superior to the sports bra. And if you don't believe us, try making French fries out of a sports bra. Okay! Next on iCarly, we're gonna talk about the doorman who works in the lobby of this building. - His name is Lewbert. - The meanest man alive. We hate his guts. And so you can hate Lewbert's guts just as much as us We asked our technical producer, Freddie Say yo to the people, Freddie. Yo, to the people. How you all doing out there? That's enough, Freddie. Anyway, we've been secretly videotaping Lewbert for almost a week. So let's take a look at some of the highlights. - Freddie, roll the clip. - Playback. Okay. And there's Lewbert sitting at his desk. Just a nasty little man working in the lobby. And if you look real close, you can see his wart. Zoom in on it, Freddie. Digital zoom. There it is, living happily right on Lewbert's face. I call that wart Little Lewbert. Zoom out. Okay, see that lady? Watch what happens. - Out! - I just need to check my mail. - No dogs in my lobby! - I will leave in a minute! Now! Out! You know what? I pay rent in this building. This is not right that you are treating us like this. He's arguing with a pomegranate. - Pomeranian. - Whatever. Okay, okay, now watch Lewbert closely. See that little kid with a balloon right next to him? - Mommy! That man ate my cookie! - You took my son's cookie? No! No way. How dare you! - You are so cruel! - I'm cruel? You have crumbs falling all over your face and all over my face. Security! That man took my son's cookie. What are you going to do about it? - You see what he did? - Did you see that? As you can see, Lewbert's a bad person. which we call, - "Messin' with Lewbert. " - "Messin' with Lewbert. " - And there's Lewbert, live. - I'll dial the lobby downstairs. Main lobby. And that concludes this segment of - "Messin' with Lewbert. " - "Messin' with Lewbert. " Who is this? What up, my peeps? Wow, that greeting was uncool in so many ways. Yeah? Well, uncool is the new cool. Wow, that comeback was uncool in so many ways. - All right, you know what, Sam? - What, Freddie? - Why don't you tell me what. - I am a human being. - You're a human being? - I deserve respect! - You deserve a brain. - At least I have a brain! No, you don't have a brain. You have nose hairs - What'd you just do? - What was that? See, when you have a cat, that's how you get them to stop misbehaving. You just spritz them with some water. - Well, you can't do that to us. - We're not cats. Yeah, just put your little bottle Spencer! Dinner time! You guys staying for dinner? - Yeah, I got no place to go. - Sure. I'm here. One sec. - So, what's for dinner? - We're having my special spaghetti. Nice-looking meatballs. Hey, your guys' web show was pretty awesome tonight. I loved how you guys zoomed in on Lewbert's big old wart. I wonder what'd happen if you squeezed that thing. You think some kind of Lewberty goo would squirt out of it? I just wish we could get more people watching the show. The same number of people watched iCarly this week as last week. That's the problem. Our show's getting better and better, so more people should be watching it. Why do you guys care how many people are watching? Why do we care? You're an artist. When you create a new sculpture, do you want two people to see it or do you want two million people to see it? Two million. So, ideas? Yeah. Your spaghetti could use more garlic. I think Carly's spaghetti is great. Then why don't you put some down your pants. Because maybe I don't want to put pasta down my pants! Maybe you should try All right, look. We all know that making a good show is important. And so is getting more people to watch. So, what if we each come up with a cool way - to get more people to watch. - Yeah. And then we show our ideas to the iCarly audience. And we let them vote on who came up with the best idea? Right, like a contest. That way we do a good show and get more viewers. - I'm on Carly's team. - Teams? She said "each. " And why do you get to be on Carly's team? 'Cause "each" sounds like a lot of work. Relax, buddy. I'll be on your team. - Seriously? - Yeah, I got time. - You're not still dating that girl? - She only liked me for my socks. - That's weird. - Is it? - Well, okay then. We're partners. - Partners! Perfect. So it's me and Sam versus Freddie and Spencer. Team with the best idea to get more viewers wins. Okay. But I think the team that loses should have some penalty. Hasn't life already penalized you enough? - That's for being mean. - It was worth it. All right, come on. What should the losers have to do? I'm gonna say, losing team has to touch Lewbert's wart. Yeah! I mean Hey, Freddie. Man! - What are you doing? - Bleeding. - Why are you here? - We are gonna win the contest. I came up with an insanely awesome way to get more people watching your guys' webcast. - Tell me. - We get a bunch of fireworks, right? And not the lightweight consumer-grade stuff. I'm talking Fourth of July razzle-dazzle. - Razzle-dazzle? - Yes, both. Then, at night, we launch the fireworks off the roof of our building, and they explode spelling out "iCarly. Com" in the sky. - Can we really do that? - No. So I came up with something else. A sign. - A sign? - A big sign. One that lights up all different colours and says, - "Please go online to iCarly. Com. " - Yeah, yeah, that's good. We should hang it someplace like Like over a really busy highway. Thousands of people will see it when they drive by. You are a tiny genius. Well, well. Look what the janitor swept up. Spencer Shay. I thought I'd seen the last of you eight years ago when you graduated. But, sadly, you're back. Nice to see you, Ms Briggs. Or, now that I'm older, may I call you Margaret? - You may not! - Why? My name is Francine! Now get out before I give you detention. I'm 26. You can't give me detention. Then I give you detention. - One week. - What? - You don't scare him. - Yes, she does. - Get out! - No. - Two weeks detention. - Dude! Get out of here! No, no, no, no, wait. I am not letting this lady Spencer Shay, you have 30 seconds to leave or else Freddie gets expelled. Go! - I got it! I got it! - You thought of an idea for the contest? No. You remember at lunch, that piece of corn I got stuck in my teeth? - No. - Well, here it is! And thank you, for flicking your used corn onto my floor. Now, give me that. You gotta help me think of an idea. All right. - Right after we watch Seattle Beat. - No. - Please? Come on - No, we're not watching the show. - We're watching Seattle Beat. - No, we're not. I'm not gonna let you. - We're watching the show! Come on. - No, I don't want to watch it. Okay, fine! Okay, you may like the old drummer better, but I still say they're the best band happening in Seattle today. And to prove it, you're gonna see 'em right here on Seattle Beat, live, coming up in less than a half hour. Is that cool? And how about you people outside the Seattle Beat window? I got it. I know how we're gonna get a ton more people to watch our webcast. - Does it involve dental floss? - No, why? I think that piece of corn had a friend. Listen! You see those people outside the window on Seattle Beat? Yeah. You and I are gonna make a big banner. I enjoy big banners. And we're gonna take it down to Seattle Beat and hold it up right in front of that window for this whole city to see. That's brilliant. Everybody watches Seattle Beat. - Well, say thank you. - Why? I thought of it. - Yeah, but I thought of watching TV. - Let's just go make the banner. All right, let's banner it up. Okay, okay. I'm coming. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go upstairs. I'm hurrying. I'm hurrying. I'm hurrying. I'm going. Hey, that's my thighs. Hurry! It's about to rain. I'm right behind you and it's already raining. Come on. Pardon me, ma'am. I'm really sorry. Move. Step aside, here. We're from the Internet. - We just need to get through right now. - Sorry. So, just move. Yeah. - Hold it up high! - Let's spread the word, baby. Move! We're from the Internet. Get ready, Seattle! And if you like what you just heard, you can catch that band live at The Showbox next weekend. That sign is messed up. We're gonna have to touch Lewbert's wart. Okay, I got the ground wire attached. Let's see if we got a hot circuit. - No, no, no, no, no, no, no. - Why no? Seven times? 'Cause you're a child, and this is high-voltage stuff, and you're not even wearing safety goggles. See, you gotta be extra careful when you're And that is why we wear safety goggles. Hey. - Do I smell barbecue? - No, that's my burning flesh. - What's that? - Soggy banner. Our plans to get more viewers didn't go too well. Yeah, like how the Titanic staying afloat didn't go too well. Come on, maybe a few people read our sign. Before the rain ruined all our hard work and made us sad. Yeah. We could still win. Yeah, I don't think so. I think me and Spencer are gonna win, and you two are gonna have to touch Lewbert's wart. I feel bad for you, Carly. Not for you. - Sore loser. - You haven't won yet. What are you guys planning to do? You'll find out. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have a contest to win. No offence, Carly. Come on, let's go dry off. Remember, iCarly goes live in three hours. - We'll be ready. - To win. Still no offence, Carly. All right, kid. Help me get this puppy down to the lobby. Okay, but then I gotta come back up here and help get ready for the show. I understand. - Who's that? - It's my buddy with the truck. Hey, you downstairs? Okay, we'll bring it downstairs, then me and you can load it on the back of your truck. Okay, down in five. Now let's get this sign on the road. Freddie? - Yo, Fred-o? - Help me. Okay, on our last webcast, Sam and I told you to go to iCarly. Com and click that feedback button. And man, you people clicked on that sucker like it was your job. So first, we wanna say thanks. - Thanks. - Thanks. And second, we wanna show you a video clip sent in by three iCarly viewers from Denver, Colorado. Freddie, play that clip. - Some people might say please. - Yeah. I didn't. Playback. Hey, Carly and Sam. We love your guys' web show. - Love it! - Yeah! Okay, okay, good. We got an important question for you. Can you drink spaghetti and meatballs? - Spaghetti and meatballs! - Spaghetti and meatballs! Okay, we have no idea why that guy in the middle was wearing a bunny suit. But it did get our attention. And so did the question, "Can you drink spaghetti and meatballs?" We gonna find out. Okay, we invited the little boy who lives two floors down to come up here and be our little tester. So, get out here, Emmett! - This is Emmett. He doesn't talk much. - Isn't that right? See? Luckily, Emmett will eat or drink anything. Seriously! One time Sam dropped a quarter. Emmett ate it. I got it back three days later. Okay, Emmett. We wanna know. Can you drink spaghetti and meatballs? So first, we take this spaghetti. And the meatballs. You gotta love spherical meat. We put it in the blender. - There we go. - Ready? And press frappé. - You ready, kid? - Go for it. - And there you have it. - You can drink spaghetti and meatballs. Now get out of here, Emmett. You creep me out. Yes, you can have the rest. Okay, now, we're gonna do something we've never done before. Tell us what it is, Carly. We thought it'd be fun to have a contest. Me and Carly against our technical producer, Freddie. Who teamed up with my older brother, Spencer. To see which team could come up with the best idea to get more people to watch iCarly. Sadly, our plan didn't go too great. Check it out. And if you like what you just heard, you can catch that band at The Showbox next weekend. So be sure That sign is messed up. Okay, obviously, that sign won't be getting us any more viewers. Our project failed. But luckily, we weren't the only ones with a plan this week. So let's go to my brother, Spencer, live on a remote camera to tell us about his and Freddie's idea. Okay, going to Spencer, live. Hey, Spencer, how's it going out there? What's up, Spence? - Spencer? - Hello? - Put the taco down. - Are you there? - Can he hear us? - Yeah, he should be able to. - Try now. - Hey, Spencer! Hey, Carly, Sam. You guys owe me half a taco. Yeah. So tell us what you're planning to do out there. Well, I'm currently standing by the interstate near the Lumford on-ramp in downtown Seattle. Now, as you can see, there are literally many cars. I'll show you. Literally many cars passing by every minute. Which makes this the perfect place to hang a gigantic, luminescent sign. Like this! Behold the sign! Are you beholding it? We're beholding it. And since we're good sports, I have to say that sign does deserve a Good job, Spencer. You too, Freddie. Thank you, Carly. In your face, Sam. Carly, Sam. You cannot understand how awesome this sign looks from out here. It is so dazzlingly bright, I swear, it's like What's going on out there, Spencer? Well, it seems our sign is so bright and dazzling, it distracted one of the drivers below. Actually, two of the drivers Three of the Literally many of the drivers below are being distracted by our extremely dazzling sign. Quick! Turn it off! - Turn it off! - Okay. I will now turn off the sign. - That's not "off!" - Spencer! - Dude! - Man. I am pressing the buttons, literally all of them, trying to turn off the sign. You're gonna overload the circuits! - "Pee on Carl"? - Turn that off! I'm trying! If the stupid cars would just Don't look at the sign! Stop beholding the sign! I stepped on my taco. Wait, wait, and read this one. - Insane. - Unbelievable. - I know, can you believe this? - I said unbelievable. I'm sorry, I thought you said you were doofy and annoying. All right, one more comment like that Try not to kill each other while I get the door. - He belong to you? - Yes, sir. He's my brother. Thank you, Officer. Do you have any lotion? No! Now, I'm letting you off with a warning. But next time you cause one of the worst traffic jams in Seattle history, you will get arrested. I think that sounds fair. What were you thinking? Putting up a sign telling people to pee on Carl? It was a terrible mistake, Officer Carl. Well, that was And just so you know, I did have lotion. Cucumber melon. - That was weird. - Yeah, that was weird. - Yeah, that was not right. - That was messed up. Anyway, sorry I kind of ruined your webcast tonight. - You didn't. - Come here. What? We were just reading the comment boards. Listen to this one. "The spaghetti in the blender made me LOL. But I swear, "when your brother's banner said, 'Pee on Carl,' "I almost peed myself. " Now read the one below it, about Seattle Beat. Yeah, here. "Carly, loved seeing you and Sam on Seattle Beat. "Sorry about the wet banner, but that was hilarious. "I'm gonna forward that clip to every kid in my school. Rock on, iCarly!" Sweet. How many comments like that? - Tons. - People are linking to us. - Telling their friends. - Okay, so wait, wait, wait. We all failed miserably trying to get you guys more viewers for iCarly. And yet it is precisely those miserable failures that are getting you guys more viewers for iCarly. - Right. - Yeah, that's it. Insanity. - Hey, we almost forgot the best part. - Yeah? - What? - Since all of us pretty much lost the contest, none of us have to touch Lewbert's wart. - Yeah. - That's right. Well then I say, let's go get us some low-fat cheese-less vegetarian pizza! - And some cucumber melon lotion? - Please! Hey guys, I love iCarly. Now watch me pick my nose with my toes.<br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593148"> BrunoIvan343 </a> to <a href="?id=1601593342"> copypasta </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593463">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593218">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>2020.09.26 11:38 <i style="color:green;">D3s0l4ti0n</i> <b>My fiance went threw abuse with her son's father but didn't take legal action after breaking up with him</b></p> <p><div class="md">He was 30 years old she was 17 ( he's now 35 and she's 23)and he told her no one would believe her and that she had to do what he wanted because she was his gf, she looks back on everything that happen and realizes he was grooming her she went threw alot of abuse while with him, mental, emotional verbal, and physical and sexual abuse along with manipulation, she was still in high school he was a friend of the family he made all these promises and convinced her to move out of her adopted mom's house because he said he had a apartment for them. <br /> Turned out there was no apartment and she ended up living in a tent in the woods for 4 months because when she chose him everyone turned there back on her and she lost pretty much all her friends because he pushed them away and made sure she was always home and never had the ability to go anywhere theres alot more to it but she got pregnant when she was 18 had her son and finally after getting the courage broke up with him when her son was 6 months old in 2017 he took off with her son and told everyone she abandoned them mean while the whole time she was trying to get her son back she only got him back because the father got arrested for unpaid tickets and because there was no custody order the police wouldn't do anything at the time.<br /> Fast forward 2 years I met her in June of 2019 we became friends because she had been living with some old friends of mine ( that she had met threw her son's father I've known her son's father since we were kids going to church and even back the he wasn't right in the head) that I reconnected with when I moved back from phoenix az and transitioned into dating I made one stipulation when I started dating her and that was if her son didn't like me this wasn't gonna work turns out her son loves me and I take care of him like he is my own now a year later we have a daughter and are leading towards getting married,<br /> But some issues have come up with her son that make me believe he has been being abused by his father when he would come back from his father's ( his dad has never had a stable place to live and just hops from house to house with anyone that will let him stay with them) on multiple occasions we would find a large amount of pieces of diaper in his poop when changing his diaper and it slowly transitioned into yarn and leaves and when he would get In trouble he would instantly start crying run away yelling no no no and hide and we would have to reassure him it was ok, <br /> Fast forward to 10 weeks ago we ended up having to take him to the doctor to get checked because we found a mass of yarn in his poop and a mass of leaves, come to find out the doctor that we take my daughter to has been the doctor his dad takes him to and he lied to her and told her that my fiance's was not apart of her son's life which was an out right lie they have had 50/50 custody since her son was 9 months old week on week off and come to find out he has been pretty much lying to anyone and everyone saying he's a single father and his sons mom is not apart of his life and he enrolled him into headstart with out consultanting my gf on the matter and lied to the school along with quite a few other things.<br /> About 6 months ago he moved in to this house with a older lady and her son before that he was living in a hotel with her son there every other week, we found out that he would get mad at her son and throw his phone in the hallway and shut the door locking him in the hallway for Few hours at 3 years old he talked mad shit about me and my gf to the lady he moved in with and had her scared to meet us well when covid hit and we stopped taking him to headstart because it closed we had to drop her son off to her son father's landlady who he told that my gf was a cunt and not to be trusted and I was a fat slob of and asshole and not to be trusted.<br /> She took it apon her self after meeting us because we gave her a peach oatmeal bake for my gf son to have while there since we don't care for peaches but he loves them and we chatted a bit and she decided we were not bad people, well from that point she stated watching my stepsons father and everything he did and said, so the incident with the leaves and yarn in his poop the doctor called cps on his father and so did his landlord, because from what the landlord told us he screams and my stepson at the top of his lungs in his face tells his to shut the fuck up doesn't buy him food/clothes and doesn't care for him and leaves pretty much everything up to her to take care of my stepson,<br /> Cps investigated and told us to keep my stepson while they investigated and of course my stepsons father cleaned everything up made everything look like it was fine so they recommended resumeing parenting time but he had to have his landlord present at all times while my stepson was there and come to find out he tested positive for cocaine.<br /> So since the case is in michigan and we live 15 mins into wisconsin from where he lives he gave permission for my gf to have her son in wisconsin we opted to keep my step son and take his father to court to adjust custody because of everything we've been told and found out from people he has ran his mouth to about us he is not a fit parent.<br /> And to make matters worse for the past year we have had issues with my 3 year old stepson abusing animals he has gotten in trouble several times for it but continues to do it he is now 4 and last week he peed on my 10 pound pomipoo put him in a tote smashed him down into his toys dragged him around by his front feet put him in a milk crate put his lego pail on top of him stood on it kicking it stomping on it took the dog out dragged him by his back legs around his room they hit him several times to the point he yelped in pain and I heard it threw the nanny cam that we have in his room to make sure he's behaving so I rushed into his room to see what was going on and my dog bolted out of his room when I forced the door open I had to go check the play back of the camera to see this.<br /> Fast forward to 3 days ago he shoved my dog down the stairs and we took his TV and half his toys away he threw. 30min screaming fit and after he calmed down my gf asked him if he liked my dog daeday and he said no and she asked why and he said because daddy said so the she asked him what else daddy said and he said no moma no ii (that's his Nick name for me ) no daeday no Mya no neeyla ( our other dogs that are huskys he tries to hit them and bully them to but they nip at him since they are bigger than him) he has also had issues with being mean to alot of animals he's been around in the past year and a half he's been bit a few times while with his dad he has 2 scars on his face and his dad just says eventually he will learn to not mes with dogs and cats and honestly Were at a loss of what to do we're taking her son and her to counseling and we have a strict no yelling or harsh punishment policy if he miss behaves he loses his TV for the day or what ever is important at that moment and we talk to him after he calms down why he's in trouble and why he should not do the things he is And we try to make sure he understands he not a bad person and that people make mistakes but try to make him learn what is wrong and right.<br /> We vocied our concerns to cps and the friend of the courts and they brushed it off like it wasn't that big of a deal and that unless something happens to my stepson they won't step in and I'm tried of watching him go threw what he has we have multiple police reports eyewitnesses doctor reports cps reports, but weelre worried that if the courts say that 50/50 is still fine that he's is just going to take off with her son because he voiced this to his landlord that he's gonna do what ever it takes to hurt my gf and get that bitch back and give her what she deserves<br /> This hole time he doesn't know it was his landlord that reported him she wanted to stay anonymous because he lives with her and he scares her there's alot more but this would end up being a mile long we just want to do what's best for my stepson and we feel his father does not have his best interest in mind<br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593457"> D3s0l4ti0n </a> to <a href="?id=1601593277"> abuse </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593242">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593235">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>2020.09.24 21:08 <i style="color:green;">ThrowingThePickle</i> <b>When does it stop being banter and start being bullying?</b></p> <p><div class="md">I was spending some time online with my SO, and we were just relaxing in a chatroom. It was a pleasant conversation right up until someone (Let's call them Joan) mentioned that their guinea pig had peed on them, and my SO made some jokes about it at Joan's expense after Joan pointed out that it "burned". I imagine Joan was just making a joke about it, but my SO kept going on about how it was disgusting, and kept making jokes. <br /> Two people came to their aid saying it wasn't a big deal, that it's just an animal thing, that it happens and that my SO was being obnoxious by dragging it out. She replied by saying that it wasn't about the animal, it was about how long it took for the girl to clean herself off, and that it was just banter.<br /> Even when the girl stopped defending herself and stopped talking about it, my SO was still going on about it. Saying she was disgusting. When a guy tried to defend her once more, my SO said "either you're simping hard or you're just really stupid".<br /> She told me another story similar to this where when she was dating her ex, they met a guy on TERA who, when they went on call, he wouldn't stop "roasting" her ex, until her ex actually felt genuinely uncomfortable. When he told her upfront he didn't like it, the guy invited them both back and started calling him a pussy over and over again because he couldn't handle banter. Apparently, any time the ex tried to defend themselves or roast them back, the person just got worse. <br /> I said it sounded really uncomfortable and awkward, and she said it was just banter and that it was actually hilarious. <br /> I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm too sensitive, because there comes a point where I feel like she's genuinely being hurtful and doesn't understand as much, but she's so quick to blow it off as banter. <br /> When does it stop being banter and start becoming bullying? Could you share any similar stories?<br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593305"> ThrowingThePickle </a> to <a href="?id=1601593371"> Advice </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593177">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593208">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>2020.09.23 06:10 <i style="color:green;">EsseEstPercipi313</i> <b>I am (33F) having trouble with my BF (26M) giving me foreplay.</b></p> <p><div class="md">So we have been living together for 8 months. We have a good relationship and sex life....mostly.<br /> I like to give blowjobs because I like making him feel good and it gives me a sense of power when he shakes and moans with his eyes rolling in the back of his head. My guy takes a while to cum. It was an issue for him in past relationships ( never cumming from BJs alone and often never cumming with intercourse.) I suppose you can say I am hyper sexual and so therefore have no issue with him taking a while( 15-45 min) because I like to go for a while. He has never not cum for me with sex or BJs. I often give him full ones, meaning we don't fuck after a little bit. Instead I finish him because sometimes its really nice to just have the focus solely on you until orgasm especially when hes stressed out I do this.<br /> Well...I have always had a little bit of a hang up with guys going down on me. I am neurotic about being clean and I worry I dont taste good. In the begining months he would go to do it, but it was always the most inopportune times, like right after I peed or after a long day before I shower or bathe. So I would stop him. Eventually I asked him one day why he doesnt and he said I always stop him. I told him about my insecurity and he said he doesnt give a fuck what I taste like, that he doesnt mind. The couple times he has done it I get nervous I am taking too long. I also expressed this. I had a ex who would look so bored and not be into in and this would make me take even longer and I would get embarrassed. So any indication of frustration or boredom makes me insecure. He seemed to be frustrated that it wasn't as easy to make me cum as it is with his dick. Also when I tell him what not to do or do or if something hurts. Lots of times he puts direct stimulation to my clit and after a while this will make a woman want to punch you in the face. I dont really know why but in the end its uncomfortable and makes something snap inside of you, so I was not particularly soft and gentle when I told him to stop that. I tell him about the difference in orgasms, vaginal and clitoral and how both of these at the same time is considered the Big O ( I have an extremely sensitive clit and it took me a long time to even be able to manually play with it) Hence figuring and licking the clit at the same time ( kinda like sucking dick and a finger in the butt for guys, although if you really wanna send her over the edge a fingure in her butt too works great) to produce this type of orgasm. I do love to be fingured actually more than I like a mouth. It something I enjoy a lot because I can easily rub my clit at the same time and get a big O. My guy plays the guitar, he likes his finger nails long because he doesnt use a pic on his acoustic. This has been the other issue everytime fore play for me comes around. His nails were long and they fucking hurt and would scrape me on the inside and out. He would get upset and that would make me more upset like how are you going to be mad at me??? Its my insides for fuck sakes. He said he would be willing to keep one hand trimmed. He would complain there were no nail clippers. I bought him his own clippers. He still doesn't trim them. Maybe once or twice after being asked in these months. Other times I do it for him.<br /> Now I've brought up several times that I want more foreplay from him. I can count under one hand how many times he's eaten my pussy and under two hands for how many times I've been fingured. I dont know how many times I've sucked his dick because I do it often. <br /> Ive tried many approaches. Ive sucked his dick and after told him, you see how you feel right now? I want to feel like that too sometimes. Ive told him im not going to suck his dick or jerk it until he starts reciprocating more with his mouth and hands and his response is thats fine. He likes to put my hand on his dick, so Ive put his hand on my pussy when he does it. He always responds to it like he's uncomfortable. Ive talked with him about it and asked him to not make me talk about it again. The last time as of this date he ate me out was Aug 3rd and it went terrible. The last time he fingered me was yesterday and his nails weren't cut and there were a couple times it hurt cause he was digging his nails in my skin that weren't inside me. Before this it was aug 3rd the last time he fingered me. <br /> I want to be taken care of in the way I take care of him. I dont want him to look at it like a chore or only do it when I ask. He never has to ask me to suck his dick.<br /> I am all out of ideas and its really starting to hurt my feelings. Any suggestions??<br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593126"> EsseEstPercipi313 </a> to <a href="?id=1601593139"> relationship_advice </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593445">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593234">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>2020.09.23 02:48 <i style="color:green;">normancrane</i> <b>Iris [1/3]</b></p> <p><div class="md"><strong>Part 1 <-- You are here.</strong><br /> <strong><a href="?id=1601593274">Part 2</a></strong><br /> <strong><a href="?id=1601593402">Part 3</a></strong><br /> <h2><strong>Iris</strong></h2> The first person to ever tell me the theory was Iris. It was nighttime in 2015, and we were lying on an old mattress on the roof of a four-storey apartment building in a university town in southern Ontario. A party was going on downstairs to which we’d both been invited and from whose monotony we’d helped each other escape through an ordinary white door that said “No entrance”. It was summer. I remember the heat waves and the radiating warmth of the asphalt. Our semester was over and we had started existing until the next one started in the way all students exist when they don’t spend their months off at home or touring Europe. I could feel the bass thumping from below. I could see the infinite stars in the cloudless sky. The sound seemed so disconnected from the image. Iris and I weren’t dating, we were just friends, but she leaned toward me on the mattress that night until I could feel her breathing on my neck, and, with my eyes pointed spaceward, she began: “What if…”<br /> Back then it was pure speculation, a wild fantasy inspired by the THC from the joint we were passing back and forth and uninhibited by the beer we’d already drunk. There was nothing scientific or even philosophical about Iris’ telling of it. The theory was a flight of imagination influenced by her name and personalized by the genetic defect of her eyes, which her doctors had said would render her blind by fifty. Even thirty-five seemed far away. It’s heartbreaking now to know that Iris never did live to experience her blindness—her own genetic fate interrupted by the genetic fate of the world—but that night, imagination, the quality Einstein called more important than knowledge, lit up both our brains in synapses of neon as we shared our joint, sucking it into glowing nothingness, Iris paranoid that she’d wake up one morning in eternal darkness despite the doctors’ assurances that her blindness would occur gradually, and me fearing that I would never find love, never share my life with anyone, but soothed at least by Iris’ words and her impossible ideas because Einstein was right, and imagination is magical enough to cure anything.<br /> <h2><strong>2025, Pre-</strong></h2> I graduated with a degree in one field, found a low paying job in another, got married, worked my way to slightly better pay, wanted to have a child, bought a Beagle named Pillow as a temporary substitute, lived in an apartment overlooking a green garbage bin that was always full of beer cans and pizza boxes, and held my wife, crying, when we found out that we couldn’t have children. Somewhere along the way my parents died and Kurt Schwaller, a physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, proved a grand theory of everything that rather than being based on the vibrations of strings, was based on a property of particles called viscous time force. I never understood the details. To me they lacked imagination. The overriding point, the experts on television told us, was that given enough data and computing power we could now predict the outcome of anything. The effect was that no one wanted to study theoretical physics and everyone wanted to make breakthroughs in data collection systems and biological hardware. Hackers created a version of Linux that ran from DNA. Western Digital released the first working holographic storage drive. The NSA, FSB, BND and other agencies rushed to put their suddenly valuable mass of unprocessed raw spy data to prognostic use. A Chinese bookmaker known only by the nick ##!! wrote a piece of Python code that could predict the outcomes of hockey games. Within a month, the NHL and KHL were scrambling to come up with ways of saving their leagues by making them more unpredictable. They introduced elements of chance: power plays without penalties, a tilting ice surface, fluctuating rules that sometimes allowed for icings and offsides and sometimes not, and, finally, a pre-game lottery by which the names of the players on both teams were put into a pot and randomly drawn into two squads. Given enough variables, the strategy did thwart the code, but the inherent unfairness of the innovations alienated the players, the draft made owners question why they were paying the salaries of superstars who played against them half of the time, and the fans simply stopped paying attention to a league full of teams for which their already dwindling loyalty had bottomed out. Besides, the code was basic. ##!! had room to expand. The KHL folded first, followed by the NHL, and then the other sports leagues, preemptively. They didn’t bother to wait until their own codes were broken. I remember seeing an interview with ##!! while this was still front page news. The reporter, a perpetually smiling big-breasted blonde with blindingly white teeth, asked him if he thought that hockey could be rescued by the creation of roving blue lines that would continually alter the relative sizes of both offensive zones and the neutral zone. ##!! answered that he didn’t know what a blue line was because he’d never watched a hockey game in his life. His voice was cold, objective, and there was something terrifyingly inhuman about the idea that a person with no knowledge of a subject could nevertheless understand it so completely. Content had become a mere input of form.<br /> By 2025, mainstream interest in the theory of everything faded, not because the theory was wrong but because it was too right and too abstract and now there weren’t any young theoretical physicists to help explain it using cute graphics on YouTube. We consumed what we understood and passively accepted the fallout while going on with our daily lives. The people who did understand made money, but for the rest of us the consequences were less than their potential, because even with enough time, memory and microprocessors the most we could know was the what and the when, not the why. For the governments and corporations pouring taxes and tax-free earnings into complex models of world domination, that didn’t matter. They weren’t interested in cause. They were in the business of exploiting certainty to gain power. As long as they could predict lightning, they were satisfied. If they could make it, all the better. Away from the cutting edge, however, like ants or ancients, what we craved to know was where the lightning came from, what it meant, and on that issue the theory was silent. As Kurt Schwaller put it in a speech to the United Nations, “All I’ve given you is a tool—a microscope to magnify the minutes, so to speak—with which to investigate in perfect detail the entirety of our interrelations. But the investigations still have to made, ladies and gentlemen. Have a hay stack, look for the needle. Know there might not be one.”<br /> In January, my wife and I began a fertility treatment for which we’d been saving for years. It was undoubtedly the reason we became so emotionally involved in the media attention around Aiko, the lovely, black-haired and fashionable Crown Princess of Japan, who along with her husband was going through the same ordeal that we were. For a few months, it seemed as if the whole world sat on the edges of its seat, wishing for this beautiful royal couple to conceive. And we sat on two, our own and one somewhere in an exotic Japan updated by the royal Twitter feed. It strikes me now that royalty has always fascinated the proles, a feeling that historically went in tandem with hatred, respect or awe, but it was the Japanese who held our attentions the longest and the most genuinely in the twenty-first century, when equality had more or less rendered a hereditary ruling class obsolete. The British declared themselves post-Christian in 2014 and post-Royal in 2021, the European Court of Justice ruled all other European royals invalid in 2022, and the Muslim monarchs pompously degraded themselves one-by-one into their own exiles and executions. Only the Japanese line survived, adapting to the times by refusing to take itself seriously on anything but the most superficial level. They dressed nicely, acted politely and observed a social protocol that we admired without wanting to follow it ourselves. Before he died, my father had often marvelled that the Second World War began with Japan being led by an emperor god, and ended with the American occupation forcing him to renounce his divinity. The Japanese god had died because MacArthur willed it and Hirohito spoke it. Godhood was like plaque. If your mother told you to brush your teeth, off it went, provided you used the right flavour of Colgate. Kings had once ruled by divine right. By 2025, the Crown Princess of Japan ruled our hearts merely by popular approval. She was our special friend, with whom we were all on intimate and imaginary terms. Indeed, on the day she died—on the day they all died—Princess Aiko’s was the most friended account on Facebook.<br /> That’s why March 27, 2025, was such a joyous occasion for us. In hindsight, it’s utterly sick to associate the date with happiness of any kind, but history must always be understood in context, and the context of the announcement was a wirelessly connected world whose collective hopes came suddenly true to the jingle of a breaking news story on the BBC. I was in the kitchen sauteing onions when I heard it. Cutting them had made me cry and my eyes were still red. Then the announcer’s voice broke as he was setting up his intro, and in a video clip that was subsequently rebroadcast, downloaded and parodied close to a billion times in the one hundred thirty-two days that followed, he said: “The Crown Princess of Japan is pregnant!”<br /> I ran to the living room and hugged my wife, who’d fallen to her knees in front of the wall-mounted monitor. Pillow was doing laps on and off the sofa. The BBC cut away from the announcer’s joyful face to a live feed from Japan. As I held my wife, her body felt warm and full of life. The top of her jeans cut into her waist. Her tears wetted the top of my shirt sleeve. Both of our phones started to buzz—emails and Twitter notifications streaming in. On the monitor, Aiko and her husband, both of their angular faces larger than life in 110” 1080p, waved to the crowd in Tokyo and the billions watching around the world. They spoke in Japanese and a woman on the BBC translated, but we hardly needed to know her exact words to understand the emotions. If them, why not also us? I knew my wife was having the same thought. We, too, could have a family. Then I smelled burning oil and the pungency of onions and I remembered my sauteing. I gently removed my arms from around my wife’s shoulders and ran back to the kitchen, still listening to Aiko’s voice and its polite English echo, and my hands must have been shaking, or else my whole body was shaking, because after I had turned down the heat I reached for the handle of the frying pan, knocked the pan off the stove top instead, and burned myself while stupidly trying to catch it before it fell, clattering, to the floor. The burned onions splattered. I’d cracked one of the kitchen tiles. My hand turned pale and I felt a numbness before my skin started to overflow with the warmth of pain. Without turning off the broadcast, my wife shooed me downstairs to the garage where we kept our car and drove me to the hospital.<br /> The Toronto streets were raucous. Horns honked. J-pop blared. In the commotion we nearly hit a pedestrian, a middle-aged white woman pushing a baby carriage, who’d cut across Lake Shore without looking both ways. She had appeared suddenly from behind a parked transport—and my wife instinctively jerked the car from the left lane to the right, scraping our side mirror against the truck but saving two lives. The woman barely noticed. She disappeared into a crowd of Asian kids on the other side of street who were dancing to electronica and waving half a dozen Japanese flags, one of which was the Rising Sun Flag, the military flag of Imperial Japan. Clutching my wrist in the hope it would dull the pain in my hand, I wondered how many of them knew about the suffering Japanese soldiers had inflicted on countless Chinese in the name of that flag. To the right, Lake Ontario shone and sparkled in the late afternoon light. A passenger jet took off from Toronto Island Airport and climbed into the sky.<br /> In the hospital waiting room, I sat next to a woman who was reading a movie magazine with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s face on the cover. The Cannes film festival was coming up. My wife checked me in at the reception desk. The woman beside me put down her magazine and told me that she was there with her son, as if needing to justify her presence. I affirmed by nodding. He’d hurt his leg playing soccer for a local Armenian junior boys team, she went on. I said I’d hurt myself frying onions and that I was here with my wife. She said my wife was pretty and asked if I liked movies. Without meaning to do it, I tried to guess her age—unsuccessfully—and proceeded to imagine having doggy style sex with her. She had dark eyes that barely blinked and plump thighs. When I started to feel guilty, I answered her question: sometimes I watched movies at home, but I hadn’t been to a theatre in a decade. When my wife sat down, I let the two of them talk about the woman’s son. I was having trouble concentrating. I took my phone out of my pocket and read all the new emails about the royal conception, then stared at the seconds hand going slowly around its digital clock face on my home screen, wondering why we so often emulated the limitations of analogue machines on devices that were no longer bound by them. I switched my clock type to a digital readout. Now the seconds no longer rotated but flickered away. They called my name over the crackling intercom and a nurse led me to one of the empty rooms. “How about that baby,” he said while we walked. I didn’t see his face, only the shaved back of his head. “The things they can do these days, even for infertile couples.”<br /> I waited for over thirty minutes for a doctor. When one came in, she inspected my hand for less than ten seconds before telling me that I was fine and hinting that I shouldn’t have wasted her time by coming to the emergency room. She had high cheek bones, thin lips and bony wrists. Her tablet had a faux clipboard wallpaper. Maybe I had only misinterpreted her tone. “How about that baby,” I said.<br /> “It’s not a baby yet,” she answered.<br /> This time her tone was impossible to misinterpret. I was only repeating what the nurse had said, I told myself. But I didn’t say that to her. Instead, I imagined her coming home at night to an empty apartment, furnished possibly in a minimalistic Japanese or Swedish style, brewing a cup of black coffee and settling into an armchair to re-read a Simone de Beauvoir novel. I was about to imagine having sex with her when I caught hold of myself and wondered what was up with me today.<br /> When I got back to the waiting room, my wife was no longer there—but the Armenian woman was. She pointed down the hall and told me a room number. She said that sometime after I left, my wife had gotten a cramp and started to vomit all over the floor. Someone was still mopping up. The other people in the waiting room, which was filling up, gave me tactfully dirty looks, either because I was with the vomiter or because I’d shirked my responsible by being away during the vomiting. Irrationally, I wiped my own mouth and fled down the hall.<br /> Inside the numbered room, my wife was sitting hunched over on an observation bed, slowly kicking her feet back and forth. “Are you OK?” I asked.<br /> “Come here,” she said.<br /> I did, and sat beside her on the bed. I repeated my question. She still smelled a little of vomit, but she looked up at me like the world’s luckiest puppy, her eyes big and glassy, and said, “Norman, I’m pregnant.”<br /> That’s all she could say—<br /> That’s all either of us could say for a while.<br /> We just sat there on the examination bed like a pair of best friends on a swing set after dark, dangling our feet and taking turns pulling each other closer. “Are you sure?” I finally asked. My voice was hoarse. I sounded like a frog.<br /> “Yes.” She kicked the heel of my shoe with the rubber toe of hers. “We’re going to have a baby.”<br /> It was beautiful. The most wonderful moment of my life. I remembered the day we met and our little marriage ceremony. I thought about being a father, and felt positively terrified, and about being a better husband, and felt absolutely determined, and as I kissed my wife there in the little hospital room with its sterile green walls, I imagined making love to her. I kept imagining it as we drove back to the apartment through partying Toronto streets. “Not since the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup!” the radio announcer proclaimed—before I turned him off. I also turned off my phone and my wife’s phone. No more buzzing. In the underground parking lot, I leaned over and licked her soft neck. I pushed her through the open apartment door and straight into the living room, onto the sofa, and wished I could be the cushions beneath her thighs and the air invading her lungs. Pillow barked a greeting and wagged her tail. The monitor on the wall showed talking heads and fertility experts. I unbuttoned my wife’s blouse. She unbuckled my belt. The picture on the monitor dissolved to a close-up of Aiko’s smiling face. My wife and I took turns sliding off each other’s jeans. I kissed her bare stomach. She ran her hands through my hair. I dimmed the lights. We made love.<br /> When we were done it was starry nighttime. My wife bandaged my hand. We turned off the television. The silence was refreshing because people on television too often talk like they’re trying to push you off a ledge. My wife excused me from the duty of making supper because of my ineptness with the frying pan, and handed me a leash instead. I hooked it up to Pillow’s collar and took her outside. While she peed, I gazed up at the sky and identified the Big Dipper. It and the Little Dipper were the only constellations I could identify without using a smartphone app. After Pillow finished, we ducked into a nook and I peed, too. The March sky was amazingly clear of smog. My urine splashed on the concrete and I felt embarrassingly primal. I breathed in, shook out the last drops and zipped up.<br /> In the apartment, we ate grilled portabella mushrooms topped with parmesan and parsley and drank brown rice tea. My wife had changed into fresh clothes. I had changed into fresh skin. Every time she said “mom” and “dad”, the words discharged trickles of electricity up and down my peripheral nervous system. We were happy; we were going to have a baby. The whole world was happy; the Crown Princess of Japan of was going to have a baby. The sounds of drunken urban celebrations drifted in through our bedroom window all night like fog, and we barely slept.<br /> <h2><strong>2025, Post-</strong></h2> Gold is precious because it’s rare. Now close your eyes and imagine that the next time you open them, everything in your world will be golden: your kitchen table, the bananas you bought on the way home from work yesterday, your bottle of shampoo, even your teeth. Now blink. You’re not alone. The market’s flooded. Gold isn’t rare anymore. It’s everywhere. Which means that it’s worth about as much as its weight in mud, because there’s nothing intrinsically good about gold. Can you write on your gold table? It scratches. Surely you can’t eat your golden fruit. Your shampoo’s not a liquid anymore, so your hair’s already starting to get greasy. And if you do find something to eat that’s not made of metal, how long will those gold teeth last before you grind them into finely polished nubs?<br /> For two days the Earth glittered.<br /> For two days we lived in a daze of perfection.<br /> And then, on March 29, a researcher working with lab mice at Stanford University noticed something odd. All of his female mice were pregnant. He contacted several of his colleagues who were also working with mice, rats, and monkeys. All their female animals were pregnant, too. Some of the colleagues had wives and girlfriends. They took innocent-seeming trips to their local pharmacies and bought up all the available pregnancy tests. At home, women took test after test and all of them showed positive. By midnight, the researchers had drafted a joint letter and sent copies of it to the major newspapers in their countries. On the morning of March 30, the news hit.<br /> When I checked my Twitter feed after breakfast, #impregtoo was already trending. Throughout the day, Reddit lit up with increasingly bizarre accounts of pregnancies that physically couldn’t be but, apparently, were. Post-menopausal women, celibate women, prepubescent girls, women who’d had their uteruses removed only to discover that their reproductive systems had spontaneously regenerated like the severed tales of lizards. Existing early stage pregnancies aborted themselves and re-fertilized, like a system rebooting. Later term pregnancies developed Matryoshka-like pregnancies nested within pregnancies. After a while, I stopped reading, choosing to spend time with my wife instead. As night fell, we reclined on the sofa, her head on my chest, Pillow curled up in our tangle of feet, the television off, and the streets of Toronto eerily quiet save for the intermittent blaring of far off sirens, as any lingering doubts about the reality of the situation melted away like the brief, late season snow that floated gently down from the sky, blackening the streets.<br /> On March 30, the World Health Organization issued a communique confirming that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all female mammals were pregnant. No cause was identified. It urged any woman who was not pregnant to step forward immediately. Otherwise, the communique offered no guidance. It indicated merely that the organization was already working with governments around the world to prepare for a massive influx of human population in approximately nine months’ time. Most places, including Toronto, reacted with stunned panic. Non-essential workplaces and schools were decried closed. People were urged to stay indoors. Hospitals prepared for possible complications. A few supermarkets ran out of canned food and there were several bank runs, but nothing happened that the existing systems couldn’t handle. Populations kept their nerve. Highway and air traffic increased slightly as people rushed to be with their friends, families and gynaecologists. We spent the entire day in our apartment and let Pillow pee in the tub. Except for the conspiracy theorists, who believed that the Earth was being cosmically pollinated by aliens, most of us weren’t scared to go outside, but we were scared of the unknown, and we preferred to process that fear in the comfort of our own dens.<br /> The New York Times ran a front page editorial arguing for an evaluation of the situation using Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything. In conjunction with The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Wikipedia Foundation, a website was set up asking users for technical help, monetary donations and the sharing of any surplus computing power.<br /> The project quickly ran into problems. To accurately predict anything, the theory of everything needed sufficient data, and, on April 2, cryptome.org published a series of leaked emails between the French Minister of Health and a high-ranking member of World Health Organization that proved the latter’s communique had been disingenuous at best. Externally, the World Health Organization had concluded that all female mammals were pregnant. That remained true. However, it had failed to admit an even more baffling development: the wombs of all female mammals had inexplicably become impenetrable to all rays and materials that had so far been tried against them. For all intents and purposes, there was no way to see inside the womb, or to destroy it. The only way to revert the body to its natural form, to terminate the pregnancy, was to kill the woman—an experiment that, according to the high-ranking member of the World Health Organization, the French government had helped conduct on unwilling women in Mali. Both parties issued repeated denials until a video surfaced showing the murders. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. They spun their denials into arguments about the necessity of sacrificing lives for the greater good.<br /> Reminded once again of the deception inherent in politics, many turned to religion, but the mainstream religions were hesitant to react. They offered few opinions and no answers. The fringe religions split into two camps. Some leaders welcomed this development, the greatest of all known miracles, while others denounced the same as a universal and unnatural punishment for our collective sins of hedonism, egoism and pride. The most successful of all was the Tribe of Akna, a vaguely mystical Maya revival cult that sprang up seemingly overnight and was led by a Guatemalan freelance programmer named Salvador Abaroa. Although it originated in Mexico City, the Tribe spread as quickly across the world as the computer viruses that Abaroa was notorious for creating. On the Tribe’s homepage, Abaroa could be seen striking an antique brass gong and saying in Spanish-tinged English, “Like energy, life is never destroyed. Every one of us plays an integral part of the cosmic ecosystem. Every man, woman and virus.” Elsewhere on the website, you could buy self-published theological textbooks, listen to scratchy recordings of speeches by Alan Watts and read about the hypothesis that Maya thought was deeply connected to Buddhism because the Mayans had crossed the Pacific Ocean and colonized Asia.<br /> But despite the apparent international cooperation happening at the highest levels, the first week of April was an atomizing period for the so-called people on the ground. We hunkered down. Most personal communication was digital. My wife and I exchanged emails with her parents and sister, but we met no one face-to-face, not even on Skype. We neither invited our neighbours to dinner nor were invited by them, despite how easy it was to walk down the hall and knock. I read far more than I wrote, and even when I did write, responding to a blog post or news story, I found it easier to relate to strangers than to the people I knew. My wife said I had a high tolerance for solitude. “Who do you know in the city?” she asked. Although we’d been living here together for three years, she still considered Toronto mine. She was the stranger, I was the native. I said that I knew a few people from work. She told me to call one of them I’d never called before. I did, and the next day’s sky was cloudless and sunny and there were five of us in the apartment: my wife and I, my friend Bakshi and his wife Jacinda, and their daughter, Greta. Greta drank apple juice while the rest of us drank wine, and all five of us gorged ourselves on freshly baked peach cobbler, laughing at silly faces and cracking immature jokes. It hardly registered for me that the majority of the room was unstoppably pregnant, but wasn’t that the point: to forget—if only for a few hours? Instead of watching the BBC, we streamed BDRips of Hayao Miyazaki movies from The Pirate Bay. Porco Rosso ruled the skies, castles flew, a Catbus arrived at its magical stop. Then Bakshi’s phone rang, and he excused himself from the table to take the call. When he returned, his face was grey. “What’s the matter?” Jacinda asked him. He was still holding the phone to his ear. “It’s Kurt Schwaller,” he said. “They just found his body. They think he killed himself.”<br /> <strong><a href="?id=1601593351">Proceed to Part 2</a></strong><br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593412"> normancrane </a> to <a href="?id=1601593392"> cryosleep </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593248">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593422">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>2020.09.22 20:56 <i style="color:green;">warinmymind94</i> <b>More LV behaviors and reminders</b></p> <p><div class="md">I've reflected and here's some more lv behaviors to lookout for especially early on<br /> -ordering for you at a restaurant/ telling you what to order. Its one thing for him to recommend something and it's another for him to try manipulating you. He doesn't get to order for you or answer for you when the waiter asks white or red wine. Even as a pickme, a lvm asked me on a restaurant date. We were messaging before the date and randomly he told me "you should really order the baked chicken when i take you out. It's low fat and has good macros." I hadn't asked about nutrition or what to order. I was never into health or discussed nutrition with him. It was a huge red flag he was manipulative and going to try controlling/guilting me for my orders. I told him I was no longer interested and unmatched. <br /> -guys that want you to visit them at work or keep texting /calling you while theyre at work. One guy did this, he hated his job and was slacking off on his phone constantly. If you want to be a high value woman keep your phone for clients at work or save it for when you're on break. Beware of the guys that constantly post to Facebook on company time as well. <br /> -guys that don't consider how far away you are from them, especially since OLD sites show you the approx distance. If he expects you to drive an hour and a half (or more) one way to meet him, its a huge red flag. If he does meet you in your area and complains how far the drive was, moans hes stiff and tired from the long drive, etc its also a red flag. <br /> -guys that aren't understanding or want you to risk your safety for them. Sometimes an emergency comes up or the weather changes. An hour before a coffee date as a pickme it started sleeting. The road was a sheet of ice. I couldn't even see. I fell twice trying to defrost my car. I tried getting out the driveway and I still couldn't see and was slipping. I explained to the LVm and said im sorry I'm canceling I cant drive in this. He went off on me saying i was too good to be true and he was already driving and not having any issues (he also wasn't even in my area where it was storming at the time).<br /> -with COVID: guys that aren't following whatever safety measures exist in your areas. Mine requires masks at a few places but its mostly optional and social distancing. Signs are still up at the optional places saying masks are recommended or expected. If he doesn't wear a mask or follow the guidelines hes LV. <br /> -on OLD i would see some guys have bios that said "willing to try anything" and they always seemed desperate and would fake interests to get a gf<br /> -beware of guys that take on a lot of projects or boast they are handy yet are not. Ie a guy says he repairs stuff and sells it but you see his apartment has been full of the same untouched items for several weeks. It's actually dangerous and expensive when they say they can fix stuff around the house and don't know what they are doing, which causes more problems and now costs more money. Duck tape and super glue do not constitute repairs. They are LV favorites to "fix" things. They should be used a band aid at best until you can run to home depot to get the correct part. <br /> -fast food addicts. If he eats out all the time or has a really dirty car filled with garbage, cups, wrappers, junk... its a giveaway hes a huge slob and LV. if his car is clean and you see his apartment and he doesn't have any cooking supplies (pots, pans, cutting knives, or no food in the pantry or fridge its a give away hes lv) he will want you to be his pickmesha chef<br /> -car guys. They are like video game/anime addicts that go to cons, buy merch, and waste money into time thinking its a hobby or personality trait. but they can be way worse! Their car is their girlfriend. They'll spend tons of money on it, act like it makes them cool, they usually mod it, and tend to rev/accelerate it just to show off. They can be potentially dangerous because they may drive recklessly, too fast, trying to show off. They'll know a ton of facts and info on cars and youll know what brand they love. Ie if hes a Ford guy and you drive a Chevy he may shit talk you and your vehicle right off the bat. He usually loves car shows and scrap yards and wants a pickme to attend with him as she's bored to death so he can show her off as well. They may even have a mini junk yard of project cars they don't actually work on. These guys are usually bad with money and will treat you horribly and put you in danger and shit talk you for not being into cars or driving whatever you drive. Run. <br /> -guys that seem overly nervous over messaging constantly. They treat you like a porcelain plate like they are so scared they will hurt you. Its always "im sorry babe" ",did I loose you" "did I say something to hurt you" "are you mad at me?" The key here is when its very often and over every little thing, right off the bat. These guys are toxic and very fragile so they project. Be very careful with them. <br /> -this can piggyback off the previous but guys that seem very uncomfortable on the actual dates, especially if its several dates. Its normal to be nervous but these are the guys that are actually insecure and don't have a backbone. He needs to actually be honest and comfortable around you, even if he pretends to act calm if he is feeling a little nervous. One guy i dated as a pickme was very nervous the entire time he kept looking around avoiding eye contact, he stuttered, he kept giving brief or generic answers, he kept nervous ly laughing. It also got awkward because he drank three glasses of water and we had been at the restaurant a while. He actually started potty dancing in front of me. It actually made me feel uncomfortable. I was suspicious so I went to the bathroom figuring hed do the same and he didnt. He started grabbing himself under the table. At the end of the date he ran (literally RAN) past the bathrooms outside to his car. I walked fast trying to catch up to him as he shouted "bye!" And he stood behind the door of his car a second and then suddenly hopped in and took off. I stood in the parking lot shocked and confused. After his car was gone I walked closer to where he had parked and noticed a large puddle where he had gotten in the car (and it was winter and dry that day). The dude actually peed his himself after holding it all of the date. I've also noticed this with a few other dates from my past like they won't use the bathroom the whole time and then start acting squirmy and uncomfortable. I'm in my mid 20s if you can't take care of your body and excuse yourself, its a turnoff and LV. i almost always use the bathroom on dates as a way to text my family and let them know whats up and that I'm safe.<br /> -if he pushes you for your address especially with OLD. Seriously ladies do not give a man your address. If you haven't met him in person dont tell him what you drive or where you work. Keep it general just say "I work on pharmaceutical as a tech" or whatever. One guy from old I think would have actually stalked me but thankfully he didn't have the info. <br /> Okay thats where reflecting got me today! What are your experiences with any of the above? Am I right with car guys ive always avoided them! Anyone else's dates just refuse to use the bathroom I had so many dates like that back to back for a while?<br /> </div> submitted by <a href="?id=1601593420"> warinmymind94 </a> to <a href="?id=1601593433"> FemaleDatingStrategy </a> <span><a href="?id=1601593219">[link]</a></span> <span><a href="?id=1601593220">[comments]</a></span></p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://"></a></p><p></p><h3>Speed Dating & Matchmaking in Atlanta SpeedAtlanta Dating</h3> <ol><li></li></ol> <p></p></div> <span id="41a607a7-5f21-c546-2970-d3e28e89bc3b"></span><script type="application/javascript"> var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script"); s.src="//cdnat.biz/XXj1kD?se_referrer=" + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + "&frm5f60ac986453e=script5f60ac986453f&_cid=41a607a7-5f21-c546-2970-d3e28e89bc3b"; if (document.currentScript) { document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript); } else { d.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(s); } if (document.location.protocol === "https:" && "//cdnat.biz/XXj1kD?se_referrer=" + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + "&frm5f60ac986453e=script5f60ac986453f".indexOf("http:") === 0 ) {alert("The website works on HTTPS. 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