Erica Scott: Life, Love and Spanking

Ruminations, opinionated observations, darkly humorous blathering and the occasional rant from an outspoken spanko and unapologetic attention wh–, um, hog.

Archive for the category “emotions”

Drop is real

This morning, I watched Jillian Keenan’s latest video about Spanko Drop, something that many of us can relate to. It’s the sucky side of what we do, the what-goes-up-must-come-down reality of it. I think she detailed it well and covered all the salient points. We all need to know what this is, that we’re normal, and that we’re not alone.

And that it will pass. I am reminding myself of that right now, actually.

Last week I got to play. It was intense and lovely and stimulating and exciting. C was sweet and did all the right things, checking in with me in the days that followed. I wish more tops understood about how some of us need those check-ins. Then again, we bottoms need to make that need known more, it seems. We just expect that the top knows. Not always the case.

My stress levels have been off the charts recently for various reasons. After my scene last week, I think my body finally rebelled, everything surfaced, and my legs erupted in hives. I get these periodically, stress hives, and there’s nothing I can do about them except take Zyrtec, douse them with calamine lotion, Benadryl cream, and aloe vera, and wait them out, willing myself not to scratch them and trying not to fixate on how ugly they are. Then I went to my chiropractor with my right hip hurting and he said those muscles were in spasm. Oh, goody. So I slogged through the rest of the week itching and hurting and struggling to keep up with work and do what needed to be done.

Now I feel a little better physically… but my mood is blech. And I’m recognizing it as drop. “Yeah, but you got to play!” I hear people saying. I did. But I don’t know when I will again. I’m feeling so out of the loop with the community I once called home. I’m missing friends I once had. Still dealing with Covid isolation and struggling to figure out what’s okay and what isn’t. I don’t want to live in the past. I want to forge ahead and make new memories, have more joys. And have them more frequently.

So yeah, I guess I’m droppy today. Which is totally normal. Knowing that makes it much more acceptable. I am grateful I have a name to put to these feelings, a very real physiological and emotional reason for them. It’s the adult version of post-birthday crash. Or post holidays, or whatever thrilled us and wound us up as kids.

Here’s to self-care. Here’s to compassion and empathy for people dealing with this. And here’s to knowing that we are okay.

All Over the Map

It’s been quite a week. I have been at the heights of joy, in the pits of sadness, and boiling over with frustration and anger. Because everything has felt so random and crazy, I think I’ll just list things in no particular order. That way, people can read, pick and choose what they relate to, and ignore the rest.

I watched a special on ABC last night: “Eyewitness to the Death of John Lennon.” It was first aired in December 2020, marking the 40-year anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. Jeezus, forty years. And just like that, all the feels and the tears came rushing back. Guns and crazy people then; guns and crazy people now. What’s changed? What’s gotten better? Broke my heart all over again.

Here in Southern CA, Orange County specifically, there is an Italian restaurant who — yes, you are reading correctly — will not allow people to wear masks inside and who demands proof of NON-vaccination before you’re allowed to dine there. (How the hell do you show proof of that, anyway?) The owner is self-righteous and smug and militant about his stance; I watched part of an interview with him and he was so belligerent that the newscaster cut it short and said, on the air, “You sound like an idiot.” Last Tuesday night, I saw a tweet about an article that stated the owner was getting a huge kick out of the anger over this and he’d said he was “enjoying watching people’s head explode.”

So, Miss Mouth here tweeted: “What an asshole. I hope HIS head explodes when his restaurant is shut down due to massive Covid infection.”

Y’all know I didn’t mean that literally, right? You know it’s a figure of speech? Of course you do. Well, apparently Twitter didn’t. They locked down my account for a week. Said I violated their policy about “abuse and harassment.” Seriously?? Unbelievable. I saw many tweets that were a great deal worse than what I’d said; Twitter is so damn arbitrary. Oh well. I do have an alternate account for these instances, so I’ve kept up. Oh, and just for grins, I went and checked out the restaurant’s Yelp page. The place was bombarded with so many one-star angry reviews that Yelp temporarily disabled all the reviews and comments. Good. Fuck that guy. It’s too bad, though. It would have been fun to post a review along the lines of “Be sure to try the special: Roast Leg of Lambda with a side of Covidini. Better yet, stay the hell away from this Petri dish.”

On the good news front: Guess who is coming back to CA to visit me? C from Oregon! I can’t believe he is making that long trip again, and just for one day this time, but I’m thrilled that he wants to. I am seeing him two weeks from Monday and I can’t wait. Also, I heard from Mr. Woodland and he wants to play again soon too. Ah, this makes me happy.

And it helps make up for the fact that the man I played with a week ago Tuesday has seemingly dropped off the planet. Never heard another word from him — no email, no text, nothing. No feedback on our play. No check-in. Radio silence. I thought he enjoyed himself — I guess I was mistaken. Fortunately, I had no emotional investment this time.

Covid is on the rise again, escalating rapidly, with the Delta variant taking over. Breakthrough cases in people who are fully vaxxed are increasing. First they said the cases were 99% unvaxxed people; the latest I read is that the new cases are 86% unvaxxed. The numbers are going in the wrong direction. And guess where the latest really bad red zone is? Yup. Las Vegas.

Where we’re supposed to be headed in a month.

Our tickets are purchased, our hotel room is booked. I am craving this party with all my heart and soul. Not just because of the play — that’s actually secondary. I want to see our friends. I want hugs, lots and lots and lots of hugs. Jay, my sweet, wonderful Sister In Spirit is coming — this is her first SL. And it would be our first time meeting in person. We have been online friends for seven years, shared a million emails and texts, exchanged many presents… but I’ve never gotten to look her in the face, throw my arms around her.

But I have to face reality. It might not be safe to go. Yes, everyone at the party will be vaxxed. But we’ll be all over the hotel. Hallways, restaurants, elevators. Constant exposure. Tons of people — it’s a holiday weekend. And even vaxxed people can carry and transmit the Delta variant. Yes, the vaccine helps. Yes, even if we got Covid, it would most likely be a mild case. I’m not concerned about myself.

But John is another story. He is high-risk. He is compromised.

I’m seeing the writing on the wall. He’s already saying things like “Well, we’ll have to spend more time in our room, take more breaks,” “We can bring more snacks and eat in our room more,” “We’ll have to keep our masks on even in the party rooms,” “Maybe we can just stay for a couple of days instead of all four,” and so on. It sounds like if we go, we’re going to be uptight and preoccupied about the specter of Covid every damn minute. And what fun is that? People are coming from all over, bringing who knows what. And, as mentioned, Vegas is a hot spot now.

I suppose I could go by myself, take John out of possible harm’s way. But the thought of that is nearly as unbearable as not going at all. I’ve never gone to a party without John, not once in 25 years. I can’t imagine being there without him. Yeah, I’d have lots of people to hang with. But I’d feel like I was missing a limb.

So. There isn’t a blessed thing I can do at this point. All I can do is watch and wait, and hope. Maybe things will improve in Vegas over the next month.

Or maybe things will get so bad that we’ll all get locked down again. Who knows. It’s unthinkable. But then again, having this pandemic go on and on like it has is unthinkable as well.

Here is where I could go on a long, expletive-filled rant about what I think of anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers. But I won’t. Y’all know me. You can well imagine what I’m thinking and feeling right now about these people with their willful ignorance and utter selfishness.

Perhaps this says it all.

So yeah. I’m all over the place. Oh, and did I mention that John’s and my 25th anniversary is at the end of August? SL was going to be our celebration getaway. Hopefully it still will be. Only time will tell.

How are you doing? Come talk to me. Stay safe, everyone. ♥

Finally!!!!

No, it isn’t July 4th. And no, it’s not raining. California is in another damn drought. Still, this wonderful caricature Dave Wolfe did of me years ago suits the mood.

After over a year of pandemic isolation, I finally got to play on Monday. And it was glorious.

As many of you know, I had been corresponding for months with a friend I knew from way back, whom I hadn’t seen in many years. He came to a couple of Shadow Lane parties and we’d played, and then he dropped out of the scene to move out of state and start a family. When he first suggested driving here to visit me and play, my first thought was, “Why would you want to do that? It’s one hell of a long drive!” Personally, I detest road trips and even the 4-5 hour drive to Vegas makes me nuts.

Luckily for me, C doesn’t share my distaste for long drives. He figured what with the pandemic still going on, it was safer than flying. And he enjoys books on tape. So… this was going to happen. He was already fully vaxed, so he asked me to let him know when I was. When that finally happened and I told him, we made a date. He booked a hotel. And we were on.

Holy crap.

As I’d mentioned earlier, I was really, really nervous. Not about him. Even not having seen him for, what, 15 years, I knew I would be in very good hands. I knew he was a heavy player, but also a kind and caring one. No, my worry was about myself. I mean, aside from quickie impromptu scenes with John, and one really godawful attempt at self-spanking, I hadn’t been spanked since February 2020. I felt like my tolerance was shot to hell.

Also, let’s be real. Aside from going to John’s on the weekend, and the occasional necessary errands, I’d basically been sitting around my apartment in sloppy clothes and no makeup for over a year. I didn’t feel presentable, let alone sexy or spankable. I felt… unattractive.

So, the fact that someone was willing to go to all that effort in order to spend some time with me was a good antidote to all those damn negative voices in my head. ♥ I jumped in, said let’s do this, and didn’t look back.

He teased me with emails: “Two weeks and counting!” “Almost here!” “Getting nervous?” Each message got the intended result; I squirmed and grinned and felt all the butterflies. On FetLife, I had said something or another to a top and he’d replied that he thought I “needed a reminder.” C saw this and posted, “I believe Erica will be getting a reminder very soon.” Oh, gawd…

Finally, Monday arrived. I got up early, and for the first time in I’ve forgotten how long, I put makeup on. I’d thrown out a lot of the old stuff since it had been sitting for over a year and bought fresh. I had asked him if he had any particular requests for what he’d like me to wear. He suggested I dress comfortably and lightly. I could do that.

Our meeting time was noon and I showed up at his hotel at 11:53. I had to call him from the lobby, since their elevators were key card operated. He came down to get me and enveloped me in a huge bear hug. I have missed soooo many hugs the past year! We went to his room and fell into chatting and catching up immediately. But after about 45 minutes, it was time to play.

I had plugged my phone in to charge and I checked it one last time before we started. And of course, John had sent me a text:

So, what kind of slutty trouble are you getting into — or are going to get into — today? Names, places, and what you did wrong. Now, young lady. … Have a nice day. Hi C!

Knowing that was John-speak for “I give you my blessing,” I laughed and we began. I assumed the position across his lap on the bed.

This is hard to describe, but I’ll try… from the first moment, the first smack, the feel of it, the sound of it, I felt a burst of euphoria. I’m home. I’m in the right place. This is where I belong. And as the sensations slowly built up and intensified, those feelings escalated until I wanted to laugh with sheer joy.

My yoga pants didn’t stay up for more than a minute. My panties soon followed. And I remembered just how spot on and amazing C’s hand was. How he switched things up and kept me guessing. How he knew exactly when was the point to stop for a second and when to continue. He checked in with me just enough. At one point he asked if I wanted water, but I said no thank you.

He took this picture after warm-up. (!)

After that, we changed positions and I laid over pillows on the bed. He had brought a backpack filled with implements, but he let me choose. I said nix to the wooden paddles and yes to a couple of different leather straps and a hairbrush. Honestly, he doesn’t need implements. His hand is a mighty force, and it never seems to tire or get sore. I told him about the times I’d made men’s hands blister and bleed, and he just chuckled. I don’t think he’ll experience that in his lifetime.

I felt so connected to him. At one point, my hand was flexing on the bed near my face, my fist opening and closing. Then I felt him reach over and squeeze my hand, holding onto it. I see you. I care about you.

So we kept going, and going, and going. I lost track of time. It was starting to hurt, but the pain intertwined with the pleasure and joy and I just wanted more more more. I could feel the power and energy behind his swats and I rejoiced. I can still do this. I’ll still got it! Oh my god, he’s amazing… Can I stop time and just stay here?

By the time we’d come to the end, I was drumming my feet on the bed and hollering into a pillow. My carefully applied makeup was smeared down my face and on the linens (sorry, Marriott) and my breath was coming in deep gasps. And I couldn’t. Be. Happier.

Ow. Been a while since I’ve looked like this. I missed it.

He asked how I feel about lotion, and I said it was very welcome. So he went to get some… and it turned out he didn’t have any. Oops! I giggled and gave him a hard time about it, but it was fine — I had some in my purse. I’m sure my skin must have sucked it right up.

We both had a drink and came back down, lying on the bed, snuggling, talking. So much to talk about, so many things to catch up on. I asked him how long the drive was — he said 10 hours. He was going to stay overnight and then drive back the next day. I didn’t want to go, and yet I figured after a while I should get on back home, let him relax. I had people waiting for check-in texts from me. ♥

I had parked in the hotel parking garage, but when we went down to the front desk and I asked about validation, the man said that lot was for guests, not guests of guests. Oh, dear. He took the card I’d gotten, checked how long I’d been there (4 1/2 hours), futzed at his computer for a minute, then said, “You know what, forget it. You got free parking. When you drive up to the gate, just press the call button and I’ll let you out.” Thank you, kind sir!

So C walked me to my car, we exchanged another warm hug, and I was off.

I felt kind of loopy and wound up for the rest of the evening. He’d sent me the pictures he’d taken, so I posted a couple of them on FetLife. Been a long time since I’ve had any pictures to put up there. The reactions were gratifying.

So, remember when I was crowing “I’ve still got it!”?? Yeah. I woke up yesterday morning and groaned, “The hell I don’t.” Wow. Sitting hurt. Walking hurt. I felt like I’d been playing for four straight days at a party instead of doing just one scene. When I attempted to do a workout, my body was yelling and swearing at me through the whole thing, especially during the lower body exercises.

And I enjoyed all that, too. Although it was very hard to focus on work, I admit. I finally had to take a break, because of course I needed a “day after” picture.

C checked in Monday evening, then let me know when he’d gotten home yesterday. He checked in this morning as well. So important. I wish more tops knew that.

And in anticipation that I might get droppy, my sweet SIS Jay sent me a box of See’s chocolate. ♥ Chocolate and depression are mutually incompatible, you know.

So… when the euphoria fades, when the marks and soreness disappear, I suppose I am in for some drop. A sense of, okay, now what? Where do I go from here? How do I bring regular play back into my life, and with whom? But for now, I’m not going to think about that. I’m just going to bask in the feels and smile. And be grateful.

Thank you, C. You gave me more of a gift than you know.

A failed experiment

This is one of those entries that’s going to be embarrassing. I am confessing something that makes me feel ridiculous. But because I’ve always tried to be honest here and share the bad with the good, here goes.

I don’t have to tell you guys that things have been stressful for a while. Covid goes on and on. I haven’t seen any friends or played since March of last year. I can’t even get a damn haircut, let alone a spanking. John has been my only physical human contact in a very long time. Things in CA are dire; I read somewhere that one in four people in L.A. has Covid. The vaccine situation is completely fucked up; way too much demand and not enough supply. We are still on Phase 1A, and I am in the Phase 1C group. It could be a long time.

I’ve said this many times over these months — the one thing that’s kept me somewhat sane and distracted from all the bad news is work. I’ve had plenty of it and I’ve been able to pay my bills; so many can’t say that and I’ve been grateful. But for the past two months, my freelance work has been very slow, with all clients. I’m starting to feel the bite, and it’s scary. I’m not sure what’s going on or if things will pick back up. I need communication, and right now, it seems that is hard to come by. Everyone is busy and stressed out and preoccupied. I ask questions that are not answered. Along with the work issue, my laptop has a problem and I wrote to my computer tech friend for some help… haven’t heard back from them either. Fortunately, my desktop still works.

I’ve been chatting with a spanko friend who lives in Oregon; I met him many years ago at a party. He wants to come visit and play when it’s safe, but that will be a while. I had said that I thought self-spanking was lame and frustrating, and he suggested that I give it another try. He detailed some positions that would make it a little easier, dexterity-wise, and said if I could do it long enough and hard enough, perhaps I could achieve some release and enjoy the physical feelings afterward — the tenderness/soreness, the twinges when sitting, etc.

This morning, everything sort of crashed on me. I had no work to do. It had been a weird weekend; I chipped my front tooth and I lost my car keys (minor chip, and I finally found the damn keys, but I had a complete meltdown before I did). So I thought, what the hell, I’ll try self-spanking one more time. Purely as a release, nothing more.

Live and learn. I tried. It was a major fail. Instead of making me feel better, I felt worse.

The physicality of it was easier than it had been when I’d tried it before, thanks to his suggestions about angles and so forth. I had three different implements to use that made for good coverage. I checked in the mirror periodically to see if I was even.

But emotionally, it was a disaster.

As the pain built up and the emotions broke free, I didn’t feel relief. Instead, I felt such a wave of grief, I could hardly stand it. I kept going and going and going, and I sobbed while doing it. Every time I stopped, I craved a hug, some comfort, some human contact and warmth so badly, I’d start up again just so I wouldn’t have to think about it. In short, I made a freaking mess of myself, but I didn’t stop unless I was shaking so hard I didn’t think I could do it safely anymore.

And then I cried for another hour. I’m still crying. Yeah, I feel the tingles and soreness. I may even feel it tomorrow. But without the emotional connection, without a top there to hold me afterward, without a strong pair of arms to crawl into, it’s a masochistic and unsatisfying experience. I feel worse than I did before I started.

Not a damn thing I can do about it except ride it out. Cry as long as I need to. And then pull myself together and go work out. Maybe that’s the only way I can release stress right now. At least I have that.

Goddammit.

For those of you out there who are able to achieve satisfaction and release from self-spanking, I salute you. I envy you. I can’t. I know that now without a doubt. I feel sore, but I feel none of the endorphin high, none of the blissful oblivion. I just want to go back to bed and cry until I can sleep for about 48 hours.

Back to the drawing board. People keep telling me things are going to get better, for all of us. I wish I had some inkling when.

Podcasts, Jillian Keenan, and…

Hey, kids. Told you I’d be back when I had something positive to talk about. So far, John and I have avoided Covid-19, and the wildfires scared the crap out of me, but didn’t impact John’s house after all. Thanks to the people who checked in with me while I took a break.

Podcasts, you say? I should give some background first. How many of you enjoy watching free videos on Spanking Tube? Have you heard of the gentleman who calls himself “agoodspankin”? He has been shooting videos of himself spanking women since 2010, and has posted about 100 of them on ST. He has quite the mystique, because 1. he has a great voice and his scolding is delicious, and 2. he never shows his face, although you can see his nice build. (By the way, ladies, I’ve seen his picture — he’s easy on the eyes.) Anyway… he and I go back a long time, maybe to 2005? He wrote some spanking books in the early 2000s, and he and I had connected online by then and he asked if I would edit his books. Of course I said yes, and he even put a “thank you” page and a couple of pictures of me at the back of one of them (“Never Too Old to Spank”). He also was instrumental in my discovering Lulu Press for self-publishing my first book in 2007.

Recently, he decided to start doing spanking podcasts. He did the first two by himself, mostly introductory stuff, and then he started interviewing people. His third podcast was of two young women from Georgia, both of whom had played with him and one or both of them, I forget, did a video with him. A couple of weeks ago, he contacted me and asked if I’d like to do an interview. Well, I’ve seen the buzz this man gets on Twitter, how the spanko bottoms go gaga over him and even the spanko tops are impressed and say they could learn a lot about technique from him — my immediate response was “I’d be honored!” He lives on the opposite coast, so we couldn’t meet in person, but he said we could do it over the phone and he’d record it through that, then he could edit it.

Long story short, we did it last Monday. He tries to keep his podcasts around an hour… but we started talking, he got to asking me questions (about growing up spanko without the internet, parties, videos, and so much more) and before we knew it, we had been talking for over two hours. He said he’s going to make it a two-parter, and today he messaged me, said he’s edited it and it sounds really good. When he posts it next week, I’ll link you guys to it. In the meantime, you can read about him (and check out some of his videos, if you’d like), here on Spanking Tube. I had so much fun doing this with him. And talking about our favorite subject was such a blast, we ended up talking on the phone an extra hour past the interview.

Oooh! Just noticed that Ronnie has included the Never Too Old podcast in her latest “In With The New.” Part One of our interview will be put up this coming Wednesday.

Next — I MET JILLIAN KEENAN! The journalist! The author of “Sex With Shakespeare”! The one who has the YouTube channel with the “Kinking Out Loud” series! A few weeks ago, she messaged me on Twitter and asked if by any chance I had some free time to join a socially distanced outdoor meeting close to me, this coming Wednesday. Say what? I said I was working, but if it were indeed near me, I could duck out for a couple of hours. She then asked what parks were closest to me, so I gave her two. Shortly after that, she said she’d checked with “the others” (I had no idea who) and everyone liked one of the parks I’d suggested, so we’d meet there at 4:00.

Mind you, I had no idea what this was about, or who else would be there, but who cares? It was Jillian! It was a chance to have some fun and actually be out among humans! Usually I need to know every detail beforehand of anything I plan to do, but this time I said screw it, just go. It was a pretty day, warm, and the park was gorgeous. Took me a while to find them (the park is huge!), but I finally did.

As it turned out, Jillian and her boyfriend were passing through California on their way back from a very long hike (one hundred eighty-five days!) on the Pacific Crest Trail, and they decided to get together with a few people from here, including a few of the patrons of her YouTube channel. And me!

We had a group of nine, sitting several feet apart from each other on the grass, all wearing masks. Jillian and Dan were so charming — warm, friendly, funny. Her patrons were all very nice. I didn’t know any of them, except for one man who came later, and he looked familiar — turned out I’d met him at a Shadow Lane party two years ago. Small world. Anyway, we all took turns talking, Jillian asking us questions, and two hours zipped by very quickly.

John had said beforehand, “You have to get a picture with Jillian!” So I made sure I did. We’re masked, but you can still tell we’re beaming, right?

What a nice break from pandemic isolation this was! And just a reminder: You can watch/subscribe to Jillian’s videos on YouTube, here.

Hmmm… there was something else. What was it… oh, who am I kidding. I can’t ignore the giant orange elephant in the room.

I suppose people are imagining that I’m dancing, laughing, jumping for joy, gloating, beaming, and so on, right about now. You know what? No. I’m not.

The past eight months have been hell. Pandemic isolation with no end in sight. No play. No meeting up with friends (except for the one time with Jillian), even for a cup of coffee. Wildfires consuming my state and threatening John’s house. Shootings. Protests. And the straw that broke my back: the death of the great Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Followed by having to watch the GOP spit in the face of her legacy, her dying wish, and shove in Amy Coat-hanger Barrett as her successor. What a disgrace. And while thousands upon thousands died (and continue to die), Mango Mussolini sat on his golden throne, ALL-CAPS tweeting, grandstanding and lying, and didn’t give a shit about any of us.

Today, Alex Trebek died. I was a huge fan. Heart is broken once again.

About twelve years ago, my dear talented friend Dave Wolfe, upon finding out that I love rain, drew this joyous caricature of me.

I haven’t felt like this for a very long time. I feel beaten down and tired. I ache — body, heart and soul. I’m sickened by what I see in a country I used to be proud of. I know Joe Biden is not the Messiah. I know there is no instant fix to what is broken. We are anything but the “United” States. Our country is divided. I don’t think I will see things resolve in my lifetime. I am still scared of the future.

But I can timidly exhale. I can go to sleep and not be afraid of what I might wake up to. I can feel like the country is in the hands of a man, not an overgrown monstrous child. A child who, as I write, is throwing tantrums, screaming “I WON” and “FRAUD” to his base, and refusing to concede. He is going to make this the most contentious and ugly transition in history. He will fight it to the death, and he will pull every trick he can. He gets his way, all the time, no matter how he has get it. So why wouldn’t he now? Therefore, no joy here. Just a very cautious hope.

Still, I feel like I’ve been offered a cup of warm, soothing cocoa after four years of nothing to drink but orange Kool-Aid laced with battery acid.

Joe Biden is asking for unity. For us to stop hating each other and heal. I would like that, but I don’t see it happening. Still, I feel like things might move in a better direction. (They pretty damn well have to.) Someday, this @#$%ing pandemic will be handled properly and we can all get our lives back. Well… not 238,000 of us, but you know what I mean. And maybe, just maybe, I will feel that unbridled joy again. But right now, I am shell-shocked. For a while, I’m just going to cry. Exhausted, grieving, and yes, relieved.

When I started this blog back up after a year of hiatus, I said I didn’t want to talk about politics. This post is an exception; I don’t plan to make a habit of it. But I have one more thing to say.

For the past four years, some folks of the Republican persuasion have taunted and insulted me. They have called me: Libtard. Retard. Snowflake. Whiner. Crybaby. Ugly bitch. Granny porn star. And more, but I think you get the idea. Posted pictures of horribly unattractive people and likened me to them. Oh, and let’s not forget sneering at me to suck it up, because Trump would be my president through 2024.

Well, you lovely people… first, shame on all of you. I hope you feel good about yourselves. And second — expending all that energy hating on me so hard had to burn a whole lot of calories. Perhaps you’d like to replenish some of them with a little snack.

Look out for the orange ones!

Godspeed, and go fuck yourselves. Because I don’t forgive you.

Hoping for better days. For those who are still hanging in there with me, thank you. ♥

Community ♥

It’s been nearly a month since I posted, but really, there hasn’t been that much to write about. Well, except one huge thing that happened two weeks ago, and I haven’t had the time to talk about it since because of work and life and so forth. But now is a good breaking point to stop and reflect. Settle in and grab your beverage of choice.

Let’s backtrack a bit; you all know I dropped out of the public scene for all of 2019. It was a really dark time for me, one in which I felt like I didn’t belong anymore, I didn’t know who my friends were (with a few exceptions who stuck with me through it all). Come 2020, I was ready to reenter things. I reactivated FetLife, and in February, I went to a big national party after skipping the last two. I had a fabulous time, felt reconnected and renewed, and was looking forward to further adventures.

Then COVID-19 hit. And everything shut down. No parties. No play dates. No coffee dates. No anything, socially. I’d reentered the scene just in time to have it disappear.

Virtual meetings became the norm. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. The only way we could see our friends was on a computer screen. But it was better than nothing, right?

Except I couldn’t do any of that. Because I still had this old desktop that ran perfectly well with just one glitch: I couldn’t chat with anyone online. It didn’t have a built-in cam, and I tried three different external webcams, all with the same result: picture, but no sound. I had my computer tech take the system home with him and tear it apart, trying to find out what was wrong, and he couldn’t. So I knew I wouldn’t be able to do virtual chat with anyone until I got a new computer system.

Which I couldn’t afford.

However, my birthday is at the end of September. And John was making noises about how I should start shopping and researching computer systems. I knew what that meant; he was going to buy me a new system for my birthday. He does stuff like that. I mean, he bought me my current system, and insisted I get the best. When I was going to buy a 19-inch monitor, he said live a little, get a 21-inch one. This system has served me well, and still runs well (and quickly), save for that webcam issue. But perhaps it was time to move on. After all, I was still on Windows 7 and Word 2010.

Online, I complained endlessly to anyone who would listen about how I couldn’t cam with anyone. People said things like “You really need to upgrade.” Sure, okay. Wanna buy me a new computer?? Tell me something I don’t know.

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friend Jay and I were having our usual daily email exchange, and she cryptically told me that she’d “done a thing” and had help with it. That I would be getting a package from Fed-Ex that I’d have to sign for, and it would be coming from Zack’s address. (You remember Zack from 50 Freaks; I had several pictures of him and me in my party blog.) Um… what? She said she knew it was my birthday next month and she had planned an early surprise gift. She had one request: when I got it and opened it, she wanted me to record my reactions on my phone.

What on earth had she been up to?? I couldn’t imagine what it was. John couldn’t either.

The package was supposed to arrive sometime Thursday… but then midday Jay got a notification that it was now bumped to sometime Friday. (Of course, they don’t give you a time window — they just say “sometime before end of day.”) Argh. Well, at least I was going to be home all day and evening Friday, right? So we waited.

On Friday, I got up early and got as much work done as I could. Jay had warned me that once the package arrived, I wouldn’t be getting much of anything done for the rest of the day. Good grief, this was getting more and more intriguing. And at 2:15, my doorbell rang. Yup, Fed-Ex. A huge, heavy box. I signed for it and dragged it inside. Then, as requested, I set up my phone to record my opening it. I grabbed a sharp knife and hit the record button.

Oh. My. God.

There was a ton of packing material, piles of bubble wrap, and two distinctly wrapped packages within. Recording all the while, I babbled in confusion as I tore through things, trying to figure out what the hell I was looking at here. And then I saw the laptop case.

No. They didn’t.

They did.

I fumbled and fumfered around with the case; I was so flustered, I couldn’t even get the damn thing open! Finally I did, and then I pulled out the new Asus Chromebook. Oh. My. God.

When I lifted the lid, I saw a couple of sheets of paper within. One was a note from Zack, explaining everything that was included, and letting me know that he had installed software to allow him to remotely get into my computer, help me figure things out, copy over all my files, etc. The other sheet was from Jay. Along with a very loving note, she let me know that this had been a group effort; she’d contacted several people and gotten contributions from them. She listed all of them and their FetLife/Twitter names. And on the other side was a list of messages from all the people. Besides Jay and Zack, ten other people had contributed to this. When I saw the messages, the waterworks started.

Mind you, I was being recorded. So here I was, sobbing, babbling incoherently, sitting on the carpet fumbling about with all this wrapping detritus around me, thanking Jay and Zack, saying how much I loved everyone, that I couldn’t believe they did this, that I didn’t have the faintest idea what to do with this right now because I’m such a techno-dork… and then I shut off the recorder.

Before I finished unwrapping the gift(s).

There was still another package to open. They thought of everything.

Besides the laptop and its new travel case, there was a separate, larger monitor. A separate webcam, because Zack said the built-in cam was a little grainy. Plugs and connectors and other things I didn’t recognize. And a wireless mouse.

The laptop was loaded with software. Microsoft Office 2016, which Zack said was the latest and the best before they went to that Microsoft 365 nonsense that you sort of “rent” instead of buying the program. A full Adobe suite, including Acrobat and Photoshop. Zoom was loaded. Zack had even linked me into his streaming service, so I could watch things from his collection of shows and movies.

Unreal.

I ended up making a second recording to add my thanks for all the other stuff I’d discovered after I made the first one. Yes, I came off like a complete dork. But it was real. It was me, raw, overwhelmed and touched beyond belief.

Priorities. The first thing I did was upload the two recordings of my reactions and send them to both Jay and Zack. I took a selfie, in the midst of my sob-fest, with red nose and wet eyes and the whole shebang. I sent a tweet, linking nearly everyone involved, and attached the selfie, saying words couldn’t express what was in my heart, so here was a picture of me bawling with joy. For the three people who weren’t on Twitter, I texted two and emailed the third.

Zack told me that he’d be available that evening and would help me figure stuff out. After I had my nightly phone chat with John (and I cried all the way through that too), first thing I did was take a picture of the bits and pieces I couldn’t figure out and text it to Zack, and he explained what they were. I connected the laptop to my WiFi. Then we connected via Zoom (first time for me, using that) and then were online together for the next two hours. He was in my system remotely, so he could see everything that was going on, and after I let him into my desktop, he copied over all my files, pictures, and music. He showed me around some of the programs.

During our chat, my signal dropped twice and I lost the connection. I asked him what this could be, and he said perhaps I should reboot my router. I did that after our talk, but then the next time I tried the laptop, the signal dropped again. My desktop is connected to my router via Ethernet cable, so the signal never drops, and it never drops on my cell phone either, so I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I spent some time on the phone with AT&T, and they said my router is fine and the connection is strong. So, that’s the next project with Zack — try to work out why the signal to the laptop is glitchy and how to strengthen it without using an Ethernet cable. But that will be later. Also, I want to try to figure out how to sync my laptop and desktop. I’m still keeping the latter, so I’d like to be able to have whatever I do on one happen on the other, if that’s possible. I have so much to learn. Oh, and my work table now has the desktop, laptop, and extra monitor on it, and it’s too crowded. So I’m shopping for a small side table I can use for the laptop. Oh, and accessories like a lap tray and a cooling pad. And and and… I’m getting ahead of myself. This is all so new and exciting.

Back to that night — after I said goodbye to Zack, I played around with the laptop for a while longer, adding my email accounts, choosing a desktop picture and screen saver, adding my MalwareBytes account. At 10 p.m., I was still so wound up I was shaking, and I realized I hadn’t eaten any dinner. I shut everything down, figuring I’d done all I could for one night, and grabbed a KIND bar and a yogurt. The next day I went to John’s, but I didn’t bring the laptop with me — I figured I wanted to give John all my attention and it would be waiting for me when I came home. John was as blown away by this as I was. I think he was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to buy it for me, and he confessed to being worried that our friends would think he was cheap or something because he didn’t do this first. I assured him that they all knew he had intended to, but they just did it sooner!

So. Even though the bulk of this year has been a clusterfuck, even with pandemics and elections and protests and fires and general mayhem happening all around me… I got a wonderful gift. No, not the laptop and the accessories, although those were indeed wonderful. I got the gift of feeling loved. Of knowing how many people care about me. I still can’t believe all the preparation that went into this. First, Jay painstakingly contacted as many people as she could think of, collected the funds, coordinated the messages, kept in touch with everyone with updates. Then Zack took over, getting the system, loading all the software, packing everything so thoroughly and carefully. (I was popping bubble wrap for a week.) It was a labor of love by all, and I still can’t believe I was the recipient. Even two weeks later, writing about this makes me choke up.

And yes, I’m typing up this blog on my new laptop.

In this awful time of isolation and uncertainty, I feel very much loved. I belong.

I love you, Jay. I love you, Zack. I love all of you who contributed to this. When I finally get all this stuff figured out, I hope to Zoom or FaceTime with some of you.

Although I haven’t worn makeup in months and I have about an inch of gray roots and maybe I don’t want people seeing me after all…

SHUT UP, ERICA!

Take care, everyone. Stay safe and well. ♥

 

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