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Messages - Golden Applesauce

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Apple Talk / Re: Alexandra
« on: November 13, 2013, 06:44:45 am »
Eventually she cries herself out. She asks me if Alice did anything embarassing, or hurt me, or made any moves on me. I reassure her that all Alice did was go through her phone and then break down on the pillow. We get to talking about names. I find out that while she lets everyone call her Alexis, she'd really prefer for people to call he Alex. "Alexis" was what her parents called her, so she doesn't like that name. She just didn't want to make a big deal out of it.

Alice regains control, and expands on her earlier comments about Alex's inadequecy. She has nothing but contempt for Alex, most especially her lack of assertiveness. I start arguing with her that Alex is neither weak nor stupid, but that seems unproductive so I suggest playing a board game. She agrees, and I get out a game called Tsuro, the only game two-player game I have other than chess. Alex and I had been playing it a lot over the past couple of weeks. The only thing was that her colorblindess (did I mention she was colorblind? Alex is colorblind.) made it hard for her to tell some of the pieces apart. She seemed to have trouble with the dull blue, red, and gray in particular. That didn't match any of my other colorblind friends, but I'm not an opthamologist.

Me: "I still don't understand how your colorblindess works, so pick out two pieces you can tell apart."
Alice: "Oh, I'm not colorblind."
Me: "What?"
Alice: "I'm not colorblind. Only Alex is."
Me: "No way."
Alice, going through the eight Tsuro pieces: "Brown, yellow, blue, red, gray, black, green, white. There."
Me: "Holy shit, you're not colorblind."

We play a couple games of Tsuro (it goes fast) and then move on to chess. Alice says she's never played chess before, so I should go easy on her. I start explaining how all the pieces move, but she gets board and tells me to just start the game already. So I set up the board, with myself playing white and her black, and move e4. She moves e5 with pretty much no hesitation. Nf3 is answered by Nc6. We get through all four knights and bishops entering play in a perfectly ordinary book opening. So yeah, she's played chess before, if differently than Alex does. Alex spends a lot of time worrying and second-guessing moves she's thinking about; Alice plays smoothly and is overall more aggressive, although I don't think she's actually any better at the game. The game develops as it normally would when I play Alex, which is to say I start winning pretty quickly. I shove a rook, a knight, and my queen behind her overdeveloped pawn line. Alice takes a long time to move, like she's confused or having a hard time concentrating. She moves a pawn completely unrelated to the crisis behind her lines - a bizarrely bad and pointless move - so I fork and capture her queen.

"Aah!" Alice exclaims. "That bitch messed me up! She made me lose my queen!"
Me: "I don't think it works like that. You're just trying to blame Alex for all of your problems so you don't have to admit that 'stupid' Alex is just as good at chess as you are."
Alice: "Fuck you human! She really did!"

We finish the game (I win). Alice slumps backwards for a second, and then Alex opens her eyes, smiles, and says: "Hah! I made her lose her queen! Payback's a bitch!" She goes on to explain that during the periods where her DID was really bad, Alice would interrupt and throw every single chess game (she played a lot online.) This was the first time she'd gotten to do it back to Alice and she was very proud of herself.

Me: "Before we started, Alice said that she had never played before."
Alex: "Yeah, she lies like that. Probably trying to get you to go easy on her so she could win."
Me: "She also claimed that she wasn't colorblind."
Alex: "She thinks she isn't allergic to cinnamon either. Every time she eats some, she leaves me to deal with the allergic reaction."
Me: "Okay, but -- she went through all the pieces and told me their colors."
Alex: "Really?"
Me: "Yeah."
Alex: "No way."
Me: "So -- this has been bothering me for a while -- but what type of colorblindness do you have? I've never heard of someone being red-blue colorblind."
Alex: "I don't know. I've never been officially diagnosed."

Most colorblindness is a result of one of the three types of color vision cells is absent or mutated. The mutations that break the red and green color vision cells (protanopia / protanomaly, deuteranopia / deuteranomaly) are on the X chromasome, which is why they're so much more common in men. The blue color cone is less commonly affected (tritanopia / tritonomaly), but it's equally common in males and females. That last type seemed to be closest what Alex has, but not quite right. I splurged when I bought my monitor and got one that displays colors well, so I find a tritanopia color vision test online. Alex takes it, and struggles really hard looking for shapes the colored dots. After adjusting for guesses she got was able to find the shape about 65% of the time, which is enough for the test to suggest she should see a real doctor. The next time Alice was out that night, I had her take the same test, only with all three color blindness types thrown in for good measure. Alice flies through the test, getting 100% in all three categories. For good measure I have Alex take the test again, also in all three categories, and she gets similar adjusted scores of 60-70% across all three categories -- highly irregular. You should either have regular color vision or fall into one of the three categories, not be moderately bad across all three.

I'm pretty sure we'll get to the actual doctor next time.

Apple Talk / Re: Health Fair Thing at Work.
« on: November 13, 2013, 03:19:39 am »
Well, this acupuncturist was busy babbling away about how "Western medicine"1 only treats symptoms, but acupuncture treats the "imbalances" in your system that make you sick.  I asked her how effective it was on strep throat (with a straight face), and she basically went on to describe how germ theory isn't really a thing.

It's "imbalances".  My body is a flywheel.

1  Blond hair, blue eyes.   :lulz:

You should invite her back to treat the imbalances in your ball mills.

Apple Talk / Re: Alexandra
« on: November 13, 2013, 02:13:49 am »
Alexis and I both drive (separately) to my apartment, with the plan that she'd spend the night and we'd figure out what to do next in the morning. The apartment complex's parking lot was extra full that night, so we split up to find spots, and couldn't immediately find each other afterward. My parking lot has four freestanding garages in the middle of it, so there's no place you can stand and have line of sight to the rest of the lot. I think we went in circles around each other for a bit.

"Huuuummaaaaaaaaaaaaan.... ! Human, where are youu?!?!"

I eventually hear Alice calling me. I had expected Alexis to meet me in front of my apartment building, but Alice didn't know which particular building I lived in. That was an Alexis memory.

I go over to her, and she clings to me. "Human, where were you? I was scared! Don't leave me alone like that!"

The first thing I notice is that Alice's voice is completely different from Alexis's: higher pitched, a sort of falsetto, extremely effeminate. So is her breathing, for that matter. Alice keeps her mouth slightly open, and her breath has a panting quality to it that becomes more puppy-like when she's excited. She holds herself differently, slightly crouched, with her head and shoulders down and forward but with her hands held higher up. She turns her whole head if not upper body to look at things. Imagine a cross between an hyper-girly video game character trying to stealth-move and really curious yet vulnerable velicraptor.

She studies the mailboxes while I unlock the outer door. She follows me up the stairs and into my apartment. As soon as she comes in, she plops herself down against against a wall and pulls out her iPhone, saying "Let's see what's she's been up to♪" Alexis takes lots of pictures on her phone. She once mentioned that she liked to take pictures of things so she wouldn't forget, saying that she had bad memory. I didn't think much of it at the time. Alice went through all of the photos taken since she was last out, and all of the Facebook statuses, and a lot of text message history. When she's down, she asks me:

"So you must be... Gol-den... App-ul-sauce?"

Pronouncing a proper name instead of saying "human" is apparently difficult for her, and requires lot of uncertain hand gesturing.

Me: "Yes, that's me. And you must be Alice?"
Alice: "Yeaa~aah." She says it like a kid confessing to something they're not sorry for at all.
Me: "So, um, how'd you know who I am?"
Alice: "Alex talks about you a lot. And I remembered your last name from the mailboxes."
Alice: "Soo... you're not afraid of me?"
Me: "No, of course not."
Alice "Why aren't you afraid of me?"
Me: "You're half my weight, and your shoulders dislocate if you raise your arms over your head. Plus you're like 16. Why would I be afraid of you?"
(She doesn't seem completely satisfied with that explanation.)

The next thing Alice does is curl up on the carpet and start crying, very quietly. I bring some pillows and blankets from my bedroom and lay down next to her. We hold hands, and Alice has me stroke her hair while she cries. She cries about a lot of things. Slowly her voice changes and it's Alexis doing the crying.

Quote from: Alexandra
It hurts. Everything hurts. People are cruel. Alex is stupid and weak and pathetic and I hate her. If this is all life is I don't want to keep living. I'm tired of hurting. Nothing I ever do is good enough. There aren't any good people in the world. No one cares about me, or anyone else. All Alex does is make things worse because she's pathetic and weak and doesn't stand up for herself. Bob is the first boyfriend I haven't cheated on. Why are you being so nice to me? I'm sorry for crying so much. I'm worthless and pathetic. I couldn't handle my problems so I made up other personalities because I'm not strong enough to do it myself. I miss Bob. I'm not as nice of a person as you think I am. I'm sorry you had to miss work to pick me up. My parents don't love me and I know that but I'm so pathetic I help wanting them to anyway. I'm too broken to save. Bob would be better off with anyone but me. The world would be better off without me. Why are you helping me?

"Why be moral?" was a question that came up a lot in my philosophy and religion classes. People frequently ask Superman and The Doctor why they keep going out of the way to help humans. A common trope in science fiction is for the hero to have to justify the continued existence of humanity to some alien power, in spite of all the objectively awful things humans actually do. I don't think most people expect to actually have run apologetics for life and humanity with real stakes on the line. Maybe part of me did, and maybe that helped. I kept idiotically wishing that I'd paid attention to the speech Picard gave to the glowy blue gas god thing, or finished C.S. Lewis's Perelandra. All I could think of was the scene in the So You Want To Be a Wizard? series where the little sister fails to convince a magic planet-sized computer from halting existence until she abandons words and uploads her entire life experience to it instead.

I did my best to listen to, accept, and validate her pain, while also challenging her toxic thinking. Mostly I said variations on "I know", "I'm sorry", "That does hurt", squeezed her hand, rubbed her back, and held her head. I told her that crying was normal, healthy, and nothing to be ashamed of. There are good people in the world; you just got a bad batch. You don't have DID because you're weak, you've just been through more than any one person can handle so now there's more than one of you; it's a valid, if rarely used, part of the human psycho-immune system. I'm helping you because you're a good person. Because you're important. Because you're a human and humans help each other and that's what makes us different. Because you're a beautiful child of God. Because it offends my sensibilities that the world could so mistreat someone and I refuse to accept it. Because I want to help you and I don't need any reason other than that.

I ask her to promise me not to kill herself. She wails, "But that's... that's so hard. I can't... I can't promise that" and then cries harder. I eventually get her to promise to at least talk to me first before she makes any terminal decisions.

Apple Talk / Re: Health Fair Thing at Work.
« on: November 12, 2013, 10:15:36 pm »
I put acupuncture in the same category as "extreme massage." If hot rocks and rubbing relieves stress, why not needles? There seems to be something to the ritual + physical stimulus package that works on humans. I've had hypnosis explained to me as being in large part based on giving the conscious mind something to occupy itself with so the unconscious part can be brought forward and be more directly suggested - needles seem like they'd be pretty good as a thing to focus on while you suggest to the rest of the mind that healing is occurring. I think the use of stimulus/ritual in S&M and works on similar principles.

ETA: a lot of (all?) Eastern massage/bodywork traditions explain themselves in terms of chi & chakra flows. I don't think that makes them any less effective. If anything, I'd expect that the more explicit inclusion of meditation would make them more effective at relaxation and stress reduction.

Apple Talk / Re: All the single ladies
« on: November 11, 2013, 01:41:51 am »
Yeah the dudes always seem to pull the "NOT MY BEHBEH" and/or the "NOT FAIR I HAVE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT" bullshit a lot, and I'm like :kingmeh:.

The thing that's really confusing to me, though, is that speaking as a single lady, it has never been hard for me to find a guy who wants to have kids. Kind of the opposite, really; a lot of single gentlemen who date single moms very very much hope that they want to have more kids. I am an especial disappointment in that arena. So if these women just want to have another kid, it shouldn't be that hard for them to find a consensual and supportive partner to do it with.

I have speculations in this area.

Firstly, those guys, the idiot "not mah kid" ones, should be skinned. I've met far too many to have anything but utter apathy whenever someone complains about their child support payments finally catching up to them. It's actually unreal that a large chunk of the population feel aggrieved that they have to take any kind of responsibility for their children.

I went to an all-male Catholic highschool, so this may not be a representative experience, but in our "sex-ed" we had to do an exercise where we budgeted our life as if we were paying child support. I think that was the only thing we did that wasn't about STDs or how abortions are bad for women. In other words, don't have sex because you might get herpes or have to pay child support.

I think that particular exercise might not have been as successful as the visiting teachers hoped; most of the guys were from fairly well-off families (at least 1 or 2 sons of Congress people), and probably were calculating how many mistresses they could keep before they'd feel it.

Why is this? My observations get me to "emotional idiots". The kind of people who have the best ever relationship.... for a month. Then 3 months of drama and make up sex. What is amazing is the age range of people I've seen this cover. 18-60. Multiple anecdotal examples of each age range. I can't say religious reasons are a factor, or even lack of education. Invariably most have multiple children. It just seems that massive amount of people have somehow worked out Children=happiness without factoring in actually being involved or responsible for said child.

I've seen a couple of bits about the number of children in the UK currently being raised by Grandparents/in the Grandparents house. There were fairly significant figures and probably likely to rise over future years. I wonder what kind of impact that's likely to have on 4th/5th generation kids.

I suspect that's on the rise in the US, too. I don't think it's a bad thing - all other things being equal, kids develop better the more aunts/uncles/grandparents they have involved in their life. (There's an evolutionary reason women don't just keel over after menopause.) Grandparents at a minimum have actual parenting experience, if not actual wisdom. If young parents and their parents agree that it's better for the kid to be raised their grandparents house, they probably have a good reason.

Apple Talk / Re: Unlimited Higher Education Thread
« on: November 06, 2013, 03:31:13 am »
For some reason, tonight I cannot make my brain go the other way to figure out how to undo equations I know how to do frontword. :(

If I know how to get to J.s from Hz, how is it that I cannot figure out how to go the other way? Is driving me fucking nuts.

Try turning the paper upside down.

Also, the populations represented in this study are from, um... Michigan, Indiana, California and (where CPD is from) Georgia.

I would hardly call two Midwestern states, one state in the deep south and one state that can't even decide what it is and is considering splitting into two states, to be anywhere near representative of the US as a whole. I know Califuckians like to think they're the cultural center of the US, but uh, yeah, they're not really representative. Michigan and Indiana are in the same region. You can drive from one to the other.

Yeah. The sample sizes are also absurdly small.

Someone really ought to try to reproduce / discredit the results.

Paper on "by accident" vs "on accident":

She finds that (within the US) it's an age thing, not a region thing. People born before 1975 use "by accident" exclusively. Around 1990 birthdays "on accident" reaches parity with "by accident".

Now if someone can figure out why the switch happened with nobody noticing until it was already done...

I say both. It's entirely possible this is from living in more than one region of the US, though.

You're in the Eastern Midwest, correct?

Yeah. My dad is also from Eastern Midwest, my mom is from the DC area, and I spent years 2 - 12 in North Carolina / Tennessee.

I used to make fun of my cousins for saying "pop" instead of "soda" but now I say "pop" too...

I say both. It's entirely possible this is from living in more than one region of the US, though.

Apple Talk / Your top 4 threads
« on: November 01, 2013, 01:17:40 am »
[channeling Cramulus]

40 years in the future, a neo-hipster comes to you. It's doing an art project on the online communities that existed in the transition era when people were starting to have personal online presences, but those online presences were largely distinct from their day-to-day lives, back when there was a public/private distinction.

All of the good boards were taken, so it's chosen

What four threads that you've started do you make him read?

Apple Talk / Re: Damn You All
« on: October 31, 2013, 11:58:40 pm »
When I first joined PD all y'all were still in the post-BIP glow.

Whoa, I never realized that. That puts you joining not that far before I did. I always assumed that you were here since the very beginning. In the beginning was the Word and all that.

I approached every single poster here with a sense of inferiority and awe because that collection of writings changed my life. It was exactly what I needed to read at that specific point in my life.

For the most part, I am still humbled by you - collectively and individually. Even posters I don't like, I have some strange kind of respect for... I guess I just want to say I love you?

As someone who also joined shortly after the BIP, I share a lot of same feelings.

But we're not trying to find a bigger audience any more. We are waiting for people to come to us... and as we've said before, Discordianism bears very little resemblance to the sort of discordianism people are likely to be expecting.

I think this is the thing. I never really participated in the safaris, so I have no right to complain, but it was nice when y'all brought new people back. Everyone here is interesting to talk to, but talking to the same group of people gets old after five years or so.

There's something I should be doing to help that fits within my energy reserves (make a special effort to interact with noobs?) and I need to figure out what that is and commit to doing it. PD means a lot to me, but I've been totally leeching for at least the last two years.

Id prefer not to abandon the treehouse. I get attached to things and this place has been a big part of my life these last fourish years. I made some really good friends here. By the same token revitalizing is difficult to do and this place certainly isnt as populated as it was in '10.
I think some people moved on others had nothing to say anymore and others just didnt get along with some of us or there was some sort of blow out.

We have been complacent.

VERY, VERY complacent.

Yeah. I've been getting the same sense of doom, but instead of doing anything about it I've been withdrawing from PD and worsening the problem. I'm glad you made this thread.

Apple Talk / Re: Alexandra
« on: October 30, 2013, 02:13:50 pm »
One last thing to mention before we meet Alice. I made minor edits to the previous segment as well.

Alexis has only told a very small number of people about her DID, and Alice is very good at hiding from people she doesn't want to meet. Her parents and Clarence have no idea. Not even her psychiatrist knows. Bob knows, along with two or three other people that I haven't met. The relevant person from that group is her friend Ian, who she spent a lot of time with while Bob was in Japan. Ian himself also has DID; his alters are a tiger and a dragon. Alice wanted to bang Ian!Tiger, the idea of which horrified Alexis. Ian wasn't for it either, and rebuffed Alice's attempts to seduce him. I don't know if he wasn't interested, or if he was turning her down out of respect for Alexis. Either way, Alexis felt safe around him. She made a point of telling me this, I think because she was afraid that Alice would try to seduce me as well.

Apple Talk / Re: Alexandra
« on: October 30, 2013, 04:40:47 am »
I study some flashcards in my car while I wait for her shift to end. The phrase that keeps turning over in my head is: "Why didn't she leave?" Do police officers ask that about every victim? Alexis certainly couldn't have given a coherent answer herself. Did the police officers only take her seriously because a confident male was there to explain things to them? I don't like the implication that victims of crimes have to justify any sub-optimal decisions.

She gets out, and we go to a Japanese restaurant in the strip mall on the other side of the parking lot. We talk over yakisoba. After she had gotten back into Johnsons's, Harry called her into his office. The only other female employee, slightly more senior than Alexis, was also there as a witness. Harry is confused and wants to know what had just happened. "Why didn't you just come talk to me?" "Why was that such a big deal?" he asks. So Alexis tells him. Harry's response: "I didn't need to know that.", which also answers his first question.

This is also when Alexis first tells me about Alice, her alternate personality ("alter"). Alice is 16 years old, the age Alexandra was when she was raped. Alice is rude, sexually aggressive, calls everyone "Human", and drives recklessly. According to Alexis, Alice enjoys inflicting pain.

Alexis says that her DID was really bad when Bob was in Japan and she was stuck at her parent's house, but Alice hadn't been out since Bob had gotten back. Since Harry had touched her today, though, she could feel Alice in the back of her mind. She said she could feel Alice wanting to do something fantastic and violent to Harry, and Alexis was getting tired of "holding her back," as she put it.

Alexis asks me if I'm afraid of her at all, knowing about Alice.

My knowledge of DID was pretty slim; between Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, Wikipedia, and my amazing psych 101 professor I only knew a handful of things:
1. DID has nothing to do with schizophrenia.
2. It is a defense mechanism, associated with long-term, inescapable trauma, especially as children. One rape might get you PTSD, but people with DID tend to be more thoroughly traumatized.
3. Memory, experience, and identity are compartmentalized per alter. This allows one alter to shield the others by handling unpleasant or traumatic experiences for the system, among other things.
4. Self harm can get complicated among the alters of a person with DID.
5. Even medical professionals use words like "dramatic" and "disturbing" to describe witnessing a new alter taking control.

Point #2 is the most important to me at the moment. When someone says they have DID, they're admitting to a seriously disturbed personal history. This was when I realized that her life with her parents was a lot more serious than I had first thought.

I tell her that of course I'm not scared.

Apple Talk / Re: Alexandra
« on: October 29, 2013, 02:48:02 am »
The text message conversation goes like this:
Me: Which Johnson's are you working at up here? The one at P address?
Alexis: No, it's in Q shopping center.
Alexis: Why?
I plug Q shopping center in Google Maps, and yep, there's a Johnson's.
Me: omw. ETA 4:30

My phone rings. It's my boss.

Harry: "Hi GA, this is Harry. We haven't heard from you at all. You okay?"
Me: "Oh, crap. Sorry, completely forgot to call. Something really crazy just came up -- family emergency. I should be back in by Monday?"
Harry: "Sure. Do what you have to do."

There was lots of construction on the only highway between my apartment and her work. Alexis had mentioned it earlier, but I foolishly trusted my GPS, whose map hasn't been updated in maybe five years. I'm pretty helpless without my GPS, but I probably would have been okay if there hadn't been three more surface roads also closed after the next closest highway exit. I stop somewhere around 4:30 to consult secondary maps, and see a half dozen texts from her on my phone. They're all along the lines of "What about your work?" "I don't want to bother you." "You don't need to do this for me.". I message back that I'd already taken the day off, had already left, gotten lost, and would hopefully be there in another hour.

Being lost cost me so much time that I didn't get close to Q shopping center until rush hour, which slowed me down even more. Traffic was jammed. There was even a police car stuck right behind me. I considered trying to hail him, but wasn't really sure how to go about doing so. Just lean out my window? We eventually come up to an entrance to Q shopping center parking lot. I turn in, and the police officer turns his lights on and follows me.

Well there's that taken care of.

I pull into the nearst parking space, turn off my car, and roll down the window. I had been especially careful not to break any traffic laws on my way over just in case the whole thing ended up in court. The officer informs me that my tags are expired.

Me, confused: "I just got them renewed in May -- they expired on my birthday, didn't they?"
Officer: "If your birthday's in June, they sure did."
Me: "Okay. I'm not against getting a ticket -- but can you help me with something first? My friend was just assaulted at her place of work. That's why I'm here, actually. She works at Johnsons, right over there."
Officer: "What were you going to do when you got there?"
Me: "Talk to her, and then take her to the nearest police station or something."
I am told that there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. I'm one for two so far.

He takes my license (to complete the ticket later) and has me park in front of Johnsons, while he calls for back up. I text Alexis that I've arrived. I meet the police officer on the sidewalk in front Johnson's, and he starts asking me questions.

Officer: "So where is she right now?"
Me: "Still in Johnson's. I'm trying to contact her."
Officer: "She's still in there? Why didn't she leave?"
I try to explain to him - that she has a history of abuse, that she has low self esteem and doesn't put enough value on her own well being, that she needs this job, if she loses it then she doesn't finish college and has to go back to her abusive parents and if she does that she will certainly die. I don't think that I explained it very well. The second police officer arrives, and we go through the same thing again. I show them my text message history, in between attempts to call and text Alexis.

Finally, she comes out. She's leaning forward, shoulders hunched up, carrying a water bottle, and still shaking. When she sees the police officers, she freezes. There is fear written across her entire body. Not dread, or anxiety, or even panic, but fear. It's a terrifying emotion to witness: a humanity suspended, a moment of dumbness.

I remember the last time she interacted with the police and they treated her like scum. "No, no, it's okay! It's okay! They're with me! I had a traffic ticket!" I call out and rush to her.

Officer: "Is this her?"
Me: "Yes. Alexis, I showed them the text you sent. Are you alright?"
She is very clearly not all right.
Alexis: "N-no. No I'm not. Can you - can you hold my water bottle?"
I take the bottle. The water inside had been jumping madly. She crosses her arms and shifts her weight back and forth nervously. An improvement.
Officer: "Can you tell us what happened?"

Alexis explains: she was upset after talking with George and finding out that he'd done exactly zero to get her transfered back to City Y. She'd then gone to talk to her other, less assholish manager, Jake. As she was leaving his office, with her back turned, he put his hand on her neck and shook her.

Officer: "Was he angry? Was he trying to hurt you?"
Alexis: "I don't... think so. I think he was just trying to calm me down."
Officer: "When a person assaults another person, they mean to hurt that other person no two ways about it."
Alexis: "No, it wasn't like that."

The officers seem kind of nonplussed.
Me: "Alexis, can I tell them about your neck? About why that's important?"
She nods. I tell them.

Officer: "So... what would you like us to do?"
Alexis: "Could you just... could you just talk to him? I don't want to start anything... but I don't want him to do that ever again either."

One officer goes into the Johnson's to talk to Jake. I think this is when I finish getting my ticket. The officer comes back and tells Alexis that he talked to Jake, and told him that some people do not like to be touched and that's all there was too it. Alexis thanks them, and tells them that they're the first police officers she's ever met who "weren't assholes." They smile, and say that around here "we pride ourselves on not being assholes." Then they leave.

As soon as they're gone, Alexis collapses into me and starts crying. I do my best to hug her back. Her upper back and shoulders are stiff, solid knots. They were fairly loose the previous night. We spend the remaining twenty minutes of her break with me kneading her shoulders. I tell her she's perfectly justified taking the rest of the day off sick -- she is quite visibly a mess -- but she won't hear of it. We do agree to eat dinner together right after she gets off of work at one of the nearby restaurants. She wipes her tears off and heads back into work, holding together a little better.

To be continued as I write it down. We haven't even gotten into the weird stuff yet...

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