State(ment) of Mind

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Standing in The City Twilight

Strange Awakening after a long day of exhaustion.
Standing in the bathtub, naked, alone, the cool breeze of a rising storm touching my head with caresses, city lights making everything visible in the shower-curtained cubicle created by soft cloth, my otherwise achingly tired body and mind suddenly cool themselves- was it the air? No.
The mind reawakens, resetting itself, and the body follows suit.

I stand upright.
In the darkness, the city-light twilight, I am alert, awake, ready, after what was supposed to be an exhausting, long day.

I feel revived.
Calm, perfect.

Wa ga Kami nari,” I say, majestically.

I startle myself.
I am become a God. God-spirit.
The Japanese concept of it.

I am whole, calm, connected, observing.

I remember the One Piece Lightning user villain’s line. Skypea? The sky kingdom’s despot. It was a pun on his ability to use lightning, but also his terrific confidence in his very being and power.

Then that Japanese kid who had jumped off his school’s building leaving a note saying the same, that he is a God.

I was shocked, incredulous, then mocking at the time, especially after hearing he’d been bullied, but am unsure.

Now, I think he may have actually ascended. His time had come.

However, instead of choosing to be reborn here, in his same life, as I did, he cut this life short and went on in a hurry.

He may have had a moment where the body and mind were so calm, they could sense everything with distant precision.

The water is warm-cool. It is fine. Let it be. I am strong, I will not catch a cold.

I wash myself, feeling the blue of the grey city lights, the coolness of air and water.

I am in a perfect neutral state, clean.

Night.
The calm of the night is beautiful.
Night blooms are beautiful.
Peaceful, luxurious.

There is a different ‘flavour’ to the Yozakura.

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Lands Afar

What is the colour of the sky?
What are the buildings and streets like?
How do the people treat you? How do the people treat each other?
What is the most beautiful thing there?

On Appearances

Ugly people look uglier in their moments of release.
Beautiful people, more beautiful.
But the beloved look best of all, regardless.
#Love

Stand and Deliver!

Dear Miss Z,
Please tell your colleagues to stop calling me.
FedEx’s driver called me just after I last hung up with you at 15:38 according to my phone clock.
He at my door 15:46, exactly 8 minutes later.
If the management at #DHL wants to find out what happened, tell them to spare talking time for the following read:
10:55 I called you first to set up the pickup time, which was 13:00 – 15:00 at a price of 80 for up to 1Kg. I agreed. I’d said how DHL was the only responsive company in A-, you’d agreed and said you were nothing like UPS or #FedEx. I had forgotten about FedEx.
10:59 I called FedEx to check if they respond. They did. I asked them their prices, they took my number and street address. They gave me a price of 50 per half Kg.
11: 02 But I had already promised you, so I called you back to see if we could lower the cost between us. If you gave me 50, I was ready to leave FedEx and stay with my promise to you. I weighed the package, which turned out to be 0.2 Kg. You gave me a final price of 55. It was a deal.
14:02 And your driver is nowhere in sight. I call you, and get given traffic as an excuse. I wait.
14:33 Called FedEx after your DHL driver had still not called. Their pickup time was 17:00 to 17:30, to be confirmed by phone.
14: 46 You call me after your lunch break, as I was unable to reach you 3 times by phone and once by email, you tell me the driver is on his way.
14:48 Your driver calls to say he is stuck in traffic in Bayader Street. I tell him I will give him full directions when he is in the area.
14:57 I call him and ‘walk’ him to the pickup point on the phone.
15:01 I called FedEx again to cancel with them after your driver called to say he was coming.
15:02 DHL Driver arrives.
I grab my envelope, pen and money to step outside as he exits his car, while he is still on the phone. I ask him for an envelope, he has to walk back, still on his phone, to the van and bring me one. He brings me a soft white gelatin envelope, not the hard, protective cardboard document envelope I had requested you on the phone yesterday.
No matter. “I need to bring a marker to write on the gelatin,” I thought. My ballpoint pen should be enough for the Airway Bill… which was not there.
“Where is the Airway Bill? Where is the form?”
“It is not available. They will fill it for you at the office when I take it to them there.”
The office. Giant DHL handles thousands of deliveries a day. I imagined my poor, unmarked white gelatin envelope getting lost in a sea of deliveries. I imagined having to go dig it out of there. Then the process of being convincing enough to take what is mine back. All within 1 second. No. Not happening.
I give a low whistle. “Wow, DHL. What has become of you?”

I picked up the soft gelatin envelope, which would be torn if written on with a ballpoint pen, and I don’t think many households in A- carry permanent, waterproof markers like we do. Most houses, if at all, have classic ballpoint pens. I ask the poor man, who looks like he’s been having a bad day all day,

“Shall I call FedEx?”
He raises his hands, yielding, poor fellow. Very noble of him, in fact.
“As you wish.” Unwitting The Princess Bride quote.
“I shall call FedEx,” I affirm as I march right back home and do exactly that.

15:08 I called FedEx to request a pickup. The FedEx person laughs when I tell them the DHL driver forgot to bring an Airway Bill.
15:12 DHL call me while I am on the phone with FedEx.
15:14 You, Miss Z, kindly call me from DHL. I let you know the situation. Again, the traffic jam excuse surfaces, mirroring the driver. I say I give up.
15:14 – 15:36 DHL gives me a total of 11, I give your extension number in DHL a total of 3 missed calls.
15:27 I manage to go through to you, and apologise for the cancellation, for I had switched to FedEx.
15:28 You call me back, and I give you a nice long speech about how we can sort this out for the future.
15:38 FedEx driver calls.
15:46 He is at my door. I do not have to give him any more than basic instructions to reach the address.
I hear his car engine and step outside with pen, document envelope and cash in hand. This time, I also have a waterproof, permanent, Sharpie™ brand marker in addition to my classic ballpoint.
I catch him as he lifts his phone, about to call me. I wave. He lowers his phone as he nods and leaves the car.

He respectfully hands me TWO cardboard envelopes, and the Airway Bill. I extend my 50 bill, he asks to wait till he fills in the receipt. I agree. I fill the AWB in, pressing hard, making sure the carbon paper marks all sheets.

He waits quietly while I finish. I look up, pay him, he asks to confirm what the fee was before writing it down.
I tell him 50, he writes it down. He takes the cash, I insert my document envelope in one cardboard envelope, seal it, and have him insert the AWB in its attached gelatin pocket.

As he leaves, I tell him, “Thank you for your promptness. You (plural) have beaten DHL”. The tired man smiles, nodding his head a little as he goes towards his car, a tiny victory of the day on his shoulders.
I look at the second envelope that FedEx had sent me, a spare.
I decide that this is a hint I am willing to take if they deliver my package intact, in time.
DHL had my details ONE DAY before I send my envelope.
DHL had my request in at 11 AM on the day of the pickup.
DHL set my pickup time to 2 hours after my call: 1PM TO 3 PM.
DHL did not arrive till 2 minutes past 3 pm. Fine. But no Airway Bill.
FedEx had my details on the same day I will send my envelope, at 11 am.
FedEx had no detailed information on the contents or the address.
FedEx received my request at 15:08
FedEx Phone employee did not call to confirm the 17:00 to 17:30 pickup time.
FedEx driver calls to say he is in the area at 15:38, EXACTLY 30 MINUTES AFTER MY REQUEST CALL.
FedEx driver at our door 15:46, 8 minutes after.
FedEx driver was at our door 14 MINUTES BEFORE THEIR STATED PICKUP TIME.
FedEx driver did not forget the Airway Bill.
FedEx driver nor customer service staff did not give traffic as an excuse.
FedEx had less time and information to work on, and started off one day late on this delivery, yet was earlier, and able to provide not only one, but TWO cardboard document envelopes and an Airway Bill.
If that isn’t networking and coordination, I don’t know what is.
FEDEX WINS.
The contents of my envelope cost no less than two months of doctor visits, hospital visits, x-ray visits, a lot of physical pain and a lot of sadness on part of the patient whom I am trying to help. Their loss would have cost DHL no less than the time of 2 of their employees running our errands full-time all the way up and down the city, apart from the X-Ray costs and the pain it causes our patient every time she is forced to take an X-Ray until we had all the material put together again. Signed, stamped and sealed by all the different parties we got them from.
It took me 90 minutes standing on my feet getting the material in the envelope together. Add driving and printing costs.
If FedEx do me and my efforts justice, I am their lifetime customer.
I, and every person I know, as well. Though I know very few people, they know many. One of them told me how DHL messed up with their documents sent to Germany. Sealed DHL’s fate, as far as I am concerned. Now to see if FedEx delivers.
Fingers crossed.
Aftermath:
The same day, FedEx show on their tracking page that our envelope is estimated to arrive on the 29th of March. It has arrived less than 48 hours later, signed for by our intended recipient.
 Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 5.00.03 PM
FEDEX WINS. PERMANENTLY.

No Smoke without Tobacco

I was asked to fill in the survey below:

https://readingagriculture.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8CeQ1yRzSYFOMh7

Please feel free to fill it in.

Below is my response to the poster:

I am sorry to say this, but the survey we just filled in was very didactic.

Reading is a good college of a good University, something majority of those who smoke cannot afford and live completely outside of.

Second, it is nobody’s business what anyone does in their own house.
So long it does not breach human rights.

I smoke.
Even if I don’t smoke, I identify as a smoker.

I don’t want anyone who hasn’t started to begin.

But it’s no one’s business when or where I smoke- so long as it doesn’t touch anyone else.

So, posting ugly pictures will only make me feel momentary disgust, then shrug and have my fun my way, with a mental note to stay away from anyone like the person who created that poster.

The only thing that stops me is my family or, when I was working, my job.

I stop smoking in front of my family and my coworkers out of respect.

I almost never smoke in a house outside of my own out of respect:
If it is a family home, no.
If there’s a child or Elder person, no.
If I am invited to by an elder, I have to weigh the situation.

I asked my acquaintance to kindly inform her good nephew that she cannot stop people from smoking.

The only way for this to happen is for the tobacco industry is to be removed altogether, and every single greedy government, especially the British, which is trying to find every opportunity to scrape taxes from people its own and others, will turn a blind eye to the industry simply because of the money it makes.

Sitting in the White House like Nancy Reagan telling street kids to ‘just say no to drugs’ is not to work.
Sitting in her own house telling me to do what to do in mine, is not going to work.

The only thing that is going to work is the removal of tobacco from the market.

And I don’t want to imagine what will happen when people start to look for alternatives

Because changing a habit means changing a lifestyle, and lifestyles are expensive things to change.
Especially when the people in question are poor and many.

I can stop, I have plenty of other things to keep me busy and happy.
I have no worries.
But those kids who sniff glue downtown here
Or the 10 year olds we have seen drunk in the UK

Their families will not hold them together because they’re too poor and too yielding to their circumstances.
They have given up.
So telling them anything, putting ugly pictures will not stop them, you have to withdraw the material from the market.
And that’ll put you up against some of the biggest companies in the world.

The only way out is upbringing. I was brought up as a non-smoker in a non-smoking household.

Used to hate cigarettes.

The only things that stop me are love and fear.

Neither of them for myself.

My good neighbor who neither smokes nor drinks his entire life had to go to hospital for a heart condition.
I only feel sorry for him because we love him, he’s a great guy but he is proof that there’s no guarantee.
So, there is no way out. It is a personal choice, and if you mess with people’s personal choices you will find resistance.
But out of courtesy I make sure my personal choice doesn’t affect anyone else’s.
There is a good way: every time I want to smoke a cigarette, I should sing instead.

But I often feel like singing with or without the need to smoke.

I like breathing, too, you know. It is such a luxury to be able to do that without pain.

🌸🌺✨✨

Good Times

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How Sisterhood Feels Like