Sounds Springing in the City

I am sitting at a table near an open window at a tapas place. I’m waiting for my dinner companion to return from the bathroom that I know is in the room, in the back, at the bottom of the stairs, in the bowels of the café. It’s a spring day that actually feels like a real spring NYC day. Not that hint of March lion where, just watch, tomorrow will be 20 degrees again just ’cause. No, it’s that warmish spring air that tells you it’s going to stick around.

I hear a cacophony of sounds on the sidewalk and street in front of me. It’s the usual discordant din that is not quite the white noise of living in a big city.

Sirens from ambulances and police cars speeding by assault my serenity as I nurse my large cup of black coffee. Buses and trolleys rumble by. Motorcycles and motor scooters, too.

There’s a group of teenage boys loudly playing rap music and performing what I assume to be some sort of rhythmical dance moves as a small crowd of onlookers gathers around them. Across the street a woman walking down the street spews random profanity at passers-by of her spot in the middle of the sidewalk.

I look up between the tall buildings to the sound of a passenger jet overhead, only to be distracted by the voice of the homeless man asking those who sat at the outdoor tables for any spare change. Some give, some don’t.

Down the block in the other directions the sounds of a musician playing acoustic guitar, accompanied by someone drumming on a large plastic pail turned upside down, wafts toward me. It’s not unpleasant.

Around me I hear the many conversations of the other diners that blur into its own white noise as well the ambient music playing in the restaurant itself.

I find myself smiling at everything and nothing.

My dinner companion returns and a velvet baritone breaks through my pensive listening. “You all right, Rai?”

And on this first day of spring in New York City, listening to the sounds around me, for the first time in a long time I realize something…

“Yes, I am.”


Day 20 of 31 –

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

This Day Needs An Enema

I knew when I saw the caller ID this morning it was going to be a crapshow, but I answered it anyway. Usually I can maintain a balance, but not today. Today I chose violence as the kids say an neutrality and diplomacy were shot to smithereens. And things only escalated from there. I have spent a much too long portion of this day in a mood that can only be summed up by the questions I have asked today. All of which were some various form of:

  • You F-ing KIdding Me Right Now?!
  • How F-ing Stupid Are You?!
  • Don’t Your Knuckles Hurt From All That F-ing Dragging?
  • And You F-ing Thought THAT Was The Best Option?

Today has been a personal and social quagmire. Come tomorrow I suspect there will either be several apologies or a few grudges that are going to be held for a long time to come.

Today might not have been a complete loss, but it certainly was not a win.


Day 19 of 31 –

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

So Burnt

I have semi-personally been trying to find the joy in life again, in peope. Oh, I’m doing an okay job of faking it until I make it, but right now? In this exact moment I am simply burnt the fuck out.

And I’m torn…

– in my sorrow for the shit that’s happening in Ukraine. The sanitized politics that’s being parsed out as news over here versus the sensationalized what’s supposed to be coming directly from there on top of what I hear from my colleagues. All of which means everything and nothing as I try not to fret and fear over the fact that I have not heard from someone I personally know there in over a month. An erstwhile colleague, he went home when his mother became ill not long before the world shut down because of Covid. We remained in spotty contact mostly via email. He lives in the Holosiivskyi raion (a district in Kyiv) and would be among the men now in uniform fighting for his country. I fully understand, I am far from a priority now. I don’t know and won’t know until he can find a moment to reach out.

– in my exasperation over Prince William who tells the world with a straight fucking face that only Asian and African countries wage war. That Europeans just don’t do these things and he’s surprised by the situation in Ukraine. Are you fucking kidding me?! England has a track record of poaching and taking by any means necessary, under the sweet term of ‘colonizing’ a mile wide and an ocean deep. I find this particularly galling as England recently celebrated Commonwealth Day the partnership of 54 nations, mostly made up of countries that were previously part of Britain’s Empire because I’m so absolutely sure not a single one of those 54 nations ever had a British gun fired upon them. Yes, Prince William is a grown man, but still, boy if you don’t go sit your selectively blind arse down!!

– in resignation along with these allegedly warmongering Asian and African countries, as well as Black Twitter, who are all sitting back, looking around with “you SEE this bullshit?” expressions. They are understandably side-eyeing a world at large that is seemingly losing its shit over Ukraine while also wondering where the fuck was all this concern for them when it was people/countries of color being invaded?

– in enmity with the state of Florida and their “Don’t say Gay” bill which would ban “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” for primary school children in the state. What that fuck is this reverse “Field of Dreams” bullshit? If you don’t say it to the kiddies then LGBTQ won’t exist. Yeah, good luck with that. And how long before someone amends the ban to include middle school, or high school?

– annoyance and semi fear of my own city, in fact – most of this world, with its relaxing of Covid restrictions. Every one is so much of a rush to behave as though everything is back to “normal”. Yes, I am so sick of having to wear a mask 12-16 hours a day when I step out my house to go to work, and/or try to have something of a social life again. But I much rather be sick of a mask, than be sick from Covid. Vaccination does NOT equal immunization. Less likely to become so sick from Covid that one might die, does not mean one won’t get sick. It most certainly does not mean one won’t be a carrier regardless and transmit it to someone else regardless. We [the world at large] are not anywhere near ready for what we once knew as “normal”. Especially for those at risk who genuinely cannot take the vaccine. Do they get relegated to become some form of agoraphobes to better protect their health from a world that demasked too soon? I’m waiting for the Covid numbers to once again start rising as more masks get lowered.

– in a form of self-induce ambivalence where I get through my days in a state of “I’m fine”. In the Venn diagram of me for the most part I really am fine in my little bubble of the world. But in another part of me there is this powder keg of utter helplessness within that feels like it is going to explode any fucking second and it’s slowly expanding over space. And the thing is even I am not sure if that explosion will be in egregious rage, in sinking depression or in an apathy that is borderline socio in self protection. Because I know what happens to me when I try to be everything to everyone. I’ve gone the self-martyr route and it was a bitch digging myself out of that emotional quagmire to allow myself to be happy. I cannot do that to myself again. I’m justifying to myself why an upcoming pleasure trip to Atlanta in a couple of weeks is sorely needed. Yet, I’m also chastising myself because I feel like a whiny little brat when I know I don’t have it any where near as bad some of my locals who are truly shouldering some heavy burdens in which I can do nothing for them but be emotional support – it’s enough for them – I know it is, and yet it’s not.

I’m trying to give myself perspective to keep all my petty shit together and get through the daily, but it has been so fucking hard. I’m just so burnt with outside forces playing havoc with my inner equilibrium right now.


Day 17 of 31

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Ummm Why?

The more I think I cannot be caught off guard by the “ummm why?” of those people with whom I share the office floor, the more those people – and note I did not say co-workers or colleagues, but those people – are determined to prove that I in fact can be caught off guard.

Exhibit A: I walk down the hall at work and encounter this: someone left their dishes in the water fountain.

Okay, “dishes” is bit of a misnomer. It’s not as if there is a stack of plates with remnants of mom’s spaghetti. [Dammit – and here comes Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” to rattle in my head for the next hour.]

I’ll even give credence to the fact that despite the literal dishwashing implement in the dirty mug in preparation for cleansing, clearly the incredibly rude person who did this was only storing the items there momentarily-likely while the used the nearby loos- before they could be taken to the sinks in the pantries. Regardless, that was just wrong.

Yes, there are water coolers -with better tasting, colder, better filtered water- located elsewhere on the floor that most people use. Those water coolers are located in the pantries that bookend the floor. As my floor hosts about 400 seats, 80-90% of which are occupied on any given weekday; the coolers are literally a full street block apart from one end of the floor to the other. This classic water fountain is centrally located on the floor. Regardless, that it is used much less often, it remains a working fountain, I have seen people use the fountain as intended – to drink from.

I can only imagine the utter repulsion of the poor souls who wanted a quick sip at the moment without going to polar ends of the floor to do so and encountered that nonsense. I know I shuddered at the thought.

So typical me, printed a sign and taped it above water fountain: This is not a dish rack. It is a working water fountain. Just because YOU don’t drink from here does not mean others do not.

The fact that I saw the dishes, got annoyed, created and printed the sign and the items were still there when I returned to the fountain to post said sign proved its need for it (in my humble opinion – and some of you know how humble my opinions are). Sign printed and posted I forget about it.

When I left for the day I pass the fountain and note the dishes are gone, but the sign remained. Only now in tiny print in a corner was scrawled Oops Sorry. This morning the sign was gone.

I have no idea if the offender knows I posted the sign. Unless I see the person with the mug I will have no idea of the offender’s ID.

I do have an idea that at least that person will not be so presumptuous about turning fountains into personal dishracks.


Day 4 of 31 – Come see how the rest of us are slicing it up this Friday!

15th Annual Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

“She Was Just Walking Home”

On March 3rd, Sarah Everard, 33 of Clampham, south London, UK left the home of her friends to walk home. She never made it. Police confirmed that the remains found in a woodland area yesterday was hers.

“She was just walking home.”

I remember it was an early summer afternoon, a school day. I was on my way home from the public library; book bag slung over one shoulder, wearing dark jeans, sneakers, a white t-shirt under a red, white and blue plaid with tiny silver metallic threads shirt. I was standing at the curb, under the elevated train tracks, waiting for the traffic signal to change. I noted the car slowly creeping forward as some drivers do when impatiently waiting for a light to change. I was not in the way, I paid no attention to it when I heard a male voice.
“You so pretty, bet you’d be even prettier naked. You should let me see.”
This was from a man, not a peer – not some boy around my age being horrible, but a man. A grown man who in no way could have thought I was an adult. I had not developed boobs yet. There was something about him. Yes, it was broad daylight, but I was at the corner by myself. There nearest person was a half block away in the opposite direction. I remember worrying: Do I wait until he drives off? Is he going to follow me? Do I need to change directions? What if he gets out of that car?

It was the first time I felt danger from a man. I was twelve.

In my twenties I was married with two sons. I went to the laundry every Saturday morning. One Saturday a man entered and decided he wanted to chat. I decided I did not want to. He insisted in asking for my name. I insisted I was married and not interested, so knowing my name was not any of his – good-bye. He showed up again the following Saturday. Clearly this was my neighborhood. I was pissed-offed, but not entirely surprised he suddenly showed up in my local market. I informed my husband, but naturally my wannabe Lothario was no where about the next Saturday at the laundry. As it turned out within the following week, as I was heading toward my building, a friend spotted me and started yelling my name to get my attention. Naturally, I ignored him because I HATE that, worse – guess who I spotted within hearing distance? However, the damage was done as the friend had reached me and it was clear he was yelling for me. The only saving grace was that Bill was exiting the building as I was busy cursing-out the friend out for being an asshole and why. Bill came up from behind, putting his arms around me, and yelled at our friend
“Why the fuck are you screaming out my wife’s name in the middle of the street like that? Have you lost your damn mind?”
At that point Bill saw the guy. He looked me, he looked at guy, he looked at me and I tapped the arm that held me in our code we had for problems. He let go of me and headed in the guy’s direction. Suffice it to say the guy was already backing away at the confirmation that I had a husband and said husband was not an exactly a small guy. I never saw him again. While relieved, it pissed me off anew that the asshole did not accept my rejection. He had followed me. He had my address and because of my asshole friend, had my name. It took seeing my husband’s physical presence before he stopped. I had to wonder were I in fact a single woman how long before I may have been attacked. I wondered if he moved on to another woman who was not as fortunate.

When portable music players became a thing, CDs first, then MP3 players, I learned to keep headphones on my head when so I could pretend I did not hear the nonsense thrown at me when in the street. But I never, ever have music playing in case I needed to deal with someone more aggressive who would not take the hint of simply being ignored. But that does not always help.

In my thirties, I texted my husband to meet me at the train station late one evening after hanging out with friends because of the way a man kept staring at me on the train. I had never contacted my husband with such a request before in all the time we were married. The man had exited the train when I had. He was about to follow me down the stairs when Bill appeared at the foot of them and greeted me. I heard as the man turned and went back up the stairs. Neither of us saw him come down the other side, as far as we could tell, before the stairs were out of sight. But we knew, he was going to follow me.

Twice as a widow in my mid-forties I have gotten off the train and jumped in a cab to ride the four blocks to my home because of that feeling. I will say both times, when I explained the situation, both drivers refused to take my money. All in the name of safety.

Many girls learn from a young age to change their behavior in order to try to feel safe when walking alone, because there are going to be times we will be walking alone. That onus is not on boys as such. Personal safety is a constant self-awareness in our daily lives. One we modify constantly. All in the name of safety.

Do I wear a dress or slacks? Do I wear heels or flats? If I wear heels, do I need to switch to a bigger purse to carry my flats? Questions I must ask each time I go out, in case I have to run. All in the name of safety.

Now in my fifties I don’t go out alone if I think I won’t be home before midnight unless I have taxi money. That also curtails where I go because a late night taxi ride across the City can run me up to $70 on top of whatever expenditures incurred while hanging out. All in the name of safety.

Once, I was meeting my husband for dinner at a friend’s apartment after work. I exited the train and headed towards my destination when I heard whistling behind me. I ignored it and continued walking. It became clear that the whistling was directed at me, coming from someone in a car on the street. I refused to look, because that can be seen as an invitation. A car suddenly turned the corner in front of me and I realized it was my husband and he was pissed I had not responded to him.
“Why didn’t you answer me when I whistled?”
“Do you have ANY idea how often I am whistled at? I can’t afford to so much as look!”
That took him aback.
For even the men that love us, that care about us, that know us, just do not understand, because the constant harassment rarely happens in their presence.

Some men still do not realize we single women share our addresses – or the addresses of the bars/parks/date locations of where we’re going – with each other via text or WhatsApp, to keep ourselves safe. We set up calls with our friends. “If you haven’t heard from me by X time, call me. If I don’t answer, call the police.” It is every female’s right to not fear walking alone; it is not our reality. Being a woman is constant worry for our safety — walking with keys between our fingers, being on high alert always — it is fucking exhausting.

Photo of a female's hand with keys pointed out between fingers.
A tweet yesterday posed this question and response. Its UK based, but it is an question and response known by women globally.

When we hear/read of such attacks we each live with the susurrus that could have been me. So many women have lit up Twitter in the past few days on the many ways they have harassed and/or felt unsafe. And a constant theme throughout many of the tweets were the words “She was just walking home.”

“Not all men” attack but all women experience the fear of it. And we are so, SO DONE with being told we just need to avoid certain streets or areas, don’t be out certain at times or don’t dress a certain way. Sarah Everard was in bright colors, wearing clothes comfortable for walking the less than hour trek to her home. She was simply living her life. “She was just walking home.”

I’m sure Sarah Everard was aware #NotAllMen, also. She was on the phone talking to her boyfriend during part of her trek. She was not attacked by #NotAllMen. The only thing she did wrong was encounter #TheWrongMan. The one who could not respect one fact:

“She was just walking home.”

Time Keeps On Slippin’

08:35: Okay Raivenne, shower, make breakfast, change your sheets, do your slice, get finish the Project B you had wanted done by Thursday evening. but was a much larger mess than anticipated and it’s now Saturday morning. Then review, before you start Project C.

09: 47: Okay Raivenne, you’re showered, the sheets are changed. You’ve responded to the necessary emails. Eat breakfast, do your slice, finish B, review, slice and start C.

14:06: (Two phone calls, a visit from my bestie, and unexpected company – later). Idiot! You have a headache because you have yet to have breakfast and it’s now lunch. Stop and eat.

15:22: (Received all system go response on Project A after email delivery the completed Project B.) 2nd review of Project A. Uh, who approved that addition to Project A – that was not what was agreed upon. Check the SLA.

16:57: Research issue with Project A, intersects with information for Project C, needed but could have waited – fell down rabbit hole.

18:18: Project A satisfied on all parties? Excellent! Now I can do my sli… Wait… WTF! (phone calls and emails ensue)

21:29: (phone calls and more emails later) Come on people! How is Project C missing entire sections? Did someone from 1-800-junk came by and someone accidentally pointed at the files? Is there something a pixel divining rod to find it? FML

22:04: Oh gee, thanks. You lost the day, you’ll get it Wednesday – maybe.

23:28: Guess what is finally being done now? Hell, I didn’t even get to comment on Pi Day! Well, I have now.

It is Day 14 of the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge . Stop in and see how others are slicing it up!

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Et tu Taxes

According to Wiki: The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to the 15th of March. It was marked by several religious observances and was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.

Friends, Romans but specifically Americans know that, with some exceptions, April 15th is Tax Day in the U.S.  Tax Day is the date in which whether you owe Uncle Sam (the anthropomorphize avatar of the US government) or Uncle Sam owes money, you grin and bare/bear it and have to have your taxes filed.

I mostly remember the Ides these days because my mother was one of those people who though having received her W-2 at the end of January, would still wait until April 14th to mail in her taxes.

In elementary school most of us learn about Julius Caesar and his infamous last words when his supposed rod dog/main bro Brutus turned coat on him and just watched him get shanked on March 15th. <– Like my revisionist history? I once made a joke that Mach 15th was the 30 day warning bell. Mommy knew she had a month to get her taxes in order. My mother would have loved that Tax Day is on April 18th this year for it would have given her two more days of procrastination.

And why all of that? Because somehow a discussion on taxes came up while attending the repast of an erstwhile colleague.

Death and Taxes – get it? Get it?

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, bad Raivenne, bad! I’ll go bed now.

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Today is Day 15 – The Ides of March Slice Of Life Story Challenge. 
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
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Say What Now?

Rant Time:

I’m beyond sick and tired of reactionary memes and posts meant to shame how some people use their social media.

For example, seeing posts criticizing others for being upset over a celebrity’s death when there are wars going on and humanitarian crises all over the place that they should take precedence. Or a meme citing how one is annoyed with people talking about the Housewives of Wherever controversy as if in discussing what happened it somehow means they aren’t paying attention to the world around them and other far more important things going on.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll.

To hell with social media policing those only want to post about their family, their pets, their insignificant and significant others. Let them post cute puppies and cats and pandas and zombies and… Let them share their joys in peace. This mindset that one’s head is in the clouds if they aren’t posting relentlessly about every awful blessed thing going on in the world. That doesn’t mean they’re ignoring anything;  we do not know what exists in their lives beyond their FB page. Perhaps some only want to use their social media for more lighthearted fare because they are in fact having those heavy-as-shit conversations elsewhere, with loved ones, or through messenger, or out in the real world. Let them have their joys.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll on.

To hell with policing those who choose to post their their hurt, their rage. Maybe it’s self care; maybe they struggle with anxiety, and curating their social media to mitigate their rage is in fact a survival mechanism. A survival mechanism which keeps them from being the example for or against gun control that’s next trending the news feed.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll. The. Hell. On.

My Facebook, WP blog , Instagram and Twitter pages all represent one thing and one thing only: the views of  the owner of those pages – me.

So here’s a News flash: Those pages are not a democracy.

Sometimes friends/people post things that leave me scratching my head. If I don’t understand or don’t agree, I don’t spew on their page – ever. I may private message someone if I think I am the one misunderstanding something and meaningful dialog can come from it – otherwise I scroll, scroll on.

(Giving away my vintage here: I just sang those last three words in tune to The Floaters – “Float On“, but I digress…)

Seriously, Quid Pro scroll, bro.

Raivenne posts are a monarchy and I am its Empress. 

If my posts impress, excellent, but I know sometimes they will depress. I know sometimes they will inflame. When that happens – and it will – if you don’t like it, then please scroll away, scroll away, scroll away.

(Anyone Enya guess what song went through my head just then? But I digress – again…)

I will be just fine – trust me.

Don’t like…

  • when I deleted your comment on my post because I thought it was cruelly offensive?
  • if I choose to ignore your inflammatory Xsplainin’ comment on my X-subject post because I refuse to be drawn into yet another useless argument?
  • that I’m still upset over Chester Bennington’s suicide?
  • my sarcastic answer to those stupid FB question?

It’s my page, my posts. Think about it – that Send/Post/Publish button was not pressed by accident.

The land of Raivenne is a dictatorship and I am its ruling dick. 

(Yes, I made a dick joke – a dumb one at that. Don’t let the fact that I have a vagina, lead to the falsehood that my balls aren’t bigger.)

Don’t like it? Well, you know what to do….

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Today is Day 14 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge. 
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
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Winners Lose – Losers Win

in
dread
tears flow
bitterly
down already wet cheeks
for names and faces I know not
in the past’s horror and in the fear of tomorrow
I wonder if the end begins
with powers-that-be
watering
away
life
life
for
the men
the women
children and babies
their breaths snuffed in odorless death
less than one hundred days in, it is how things will wage
for those who will not pay the cost
it does not matter
who will win
when all
will
lose
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National Poetry Writing Month (NoPoWriMo) 2017
National Poetry Writing Month 2017Day 7 


A to Z Challenge - F logo
A to Z Challenge F is for Fibonacci Spiral

Today’s form adds up to the Fibonacci Spiral

The Fibonacci Poem, or Fib Poem for short, is a single stanza poem based on the first 7 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence 1,1,2,3,5,8,13. The first and second lines are one syllable, the third line two syllables, the fourth line three syllables and so forth following the Fibonacci sequence. It traditionally ends at seven lines (13 syllables), but some have taken it longer following the sequence.

The Fibonacci Spiral poem is a more structured poem with two stanzas.

The 1st stanza has 13 lines, the 2nd stanza has 12 lines. The last line of your first stanza is repeated to become the first line of your second stanza with no gap between stanzas. Repeat the syllable count to form the spiral for a total 25 lines altogether. If this confuses you just look below.

The syllable counts must be as follows:

stanza 1
1st line – 1 syllable
2nd line – 1 syllable
3rd line – 2 syllables
4th line -3 syllables
5th line -5 syllables
6th line -8 syllables
7th line -13 syllables
8th line -8 syllables
9th line -5 syllables
10th line – 3 syllables
11th line – 2 syllables
12th line – 1 syllable (word must be at least 4 letters)
13th line – 1 syllable (repeat of the word above)
stanza 2 (remember there is no space between the two stanza)
14th line -1 syllables
15th line -2 syllables
16th line -3 syllables
17th line -5 syllables
18th line -8 syllables
19th line -13 syllables
20th line -8 syllables
21st line -5 syllables
22nd line – 3 syllables
23rd line – 2 syllables
24th line – 1 syllable
25th line – 1 syllable

Though not required, the poem should be Centered for the spiral.

Discretion Is… 

Spoiled is walking into my local Starbucks and not having my name called out when my order is ready. I nod returning the baristas’ smiles in greeting as they acknowledge my presence upon entering. Once D and M, with my coffee and breakfast sandwich respectively, see my name on the label they each walk over to their side of the counter closest to where I stand and hand my order directly to me. I hoist my purchase in thanks to each as they laugh at my serious head-banging to the music my iPod. The final notes of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is clearly not the mellow tune regaling the customers over the store’s speakers at that moment.  Still, I overhear this cheeky college girl near me talking with a friend, “Check out She Who Shall Not Be Named.”

I slowly turn my head and smile, letting her know I heard. I think I smile charmingly,

Tom Hiddleston, normal smile

Tom Hiddleston, normal smile

but considering I have not had time to indulge in my coffee yet, it is very likely it came off as menacingly, for she blinks rapidly and takes an unconscious step back. I hear D behind me start to speak up “Girl, shut up.”

“Rai, don’t. Trust me, she’s not worthy of your wrath.” M chimes in at the same time. I turn to her fully, this time knowing my smile is all sorts of wrong.

Tom Hiddleston, evil grin

Tom Hiddleston, evil grin

With the opening whispers of Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” now in my ears, I choose to heed the discretion is route of M’s advice and leave.

Note: from my entrance to my exit, I had not uttered a single word.

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#SOL2017

#SOL2017

Let’s see how others are getting through this Hump Day:

10th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! – DAY 29 Almost over!