Noticing the Fork: How the Little Protocols Add Up

6 PM, and so dinner. 

“You may sit,” Mistress said as she took her own place at the table.  I did.  I was moving my napkin to my lap when she added, “You may also start setting my fork on the right side.”  She moved the misplaced utensil.  

I stared at the fork for a second; I don’t remember now exactly what I said—presumably an apology or, Yes, Mistress—but I remember staring at the fork and running back over how it could have ended up on the wrong side. 

It felt like the stupidest thing to have to be reprimanded for, because it was so simple, and not a new rule.  Something that has been done without incident usually twice a day for a long time.  

The almost funny thing here is that where I had left the fork was technically correct by table setting etiquette.  But Mistress likes her place setting reversed.  Lacking a good sense of direction, I frequently set every place—even if it’s just mine and hers—“correctly” at first, and then go back and completely reverse hers, to not screw up my idea of any of the others and make sure that I don’t reverse something at her place twice or whatnot.  

What happened tonight was that I set every place and before I went back to reverse hers, a timer for what I was cooking went off that I had to see to and I forgot to come back to reverse it.   

The incident, if minor, reminded me of many conversations I’ve had with friends about some of our protocol, mostly the details they know their own eyes skim right over—like which side the fork goes on.  They wonder if those protocols are something that would truly be noticed, let alone reprimanded, or if it’s something that realistically flies under the radar or something that I falsely just think Mistress would care about. 

Mistress commented on the subject with, “They mistake my easy going nature for an easy going nature,” noting that there are a lot of things she’s, in her words, critical about, and that the reality of that easy going appearance is that those things are usually done correctly and so go without being noted; there’s no real reason to comment on them when they’re correct.  

A lot of these things aren’t hard to remember or do.  They do add up, for both of us.   

Much of our messaging history is permission requests to be leashed or unleashed from the bed (twice a day if it’s done via message both times), required notifications of my location (daily incidents including my walk and getting the mail), asking permission to make needed phone calls, or shower, and then asking her to come inspect me after as required, and orders and the obligatory, Yes, Mistress, and other permission requests and the obligatory, Thank you, Mistress.

I remember, once, balancing a mix of simultaneous text conversations, thinking about what in each conversation I was nervous about accidentally sending to the wrong person.  The message I prayed I didn’t sent to Mistress on accident at that moment was simply the informal, Yeah.

We don’t take time off from protocol; the only exceptions widely applied are vanilla company or Mistress not being with me; seeing as we live together with no vanilla people and neither of us have an occupation outside the home, these exceptions are not so common.   

The structure and convenience our protocols provide is something we have never been willing to put on hold, and so they’re in place 24/7/365.  We could not turn off the underlying dynamic if we tried, anyway; it’s who we are, and most of our protocols are deeply engrained habit.  When those rare exceptions do apply, there are frequently near slips.  Some protocols are so affected by internal enslavement I can no longer wrap my head around not following them as long as Mistress wants them.  

And so the little things, if there are a lot of them, every day, add up.  And even one slip is still noticeable.  There are a lot of things that are nearly subconscious now, or are very rarely noted because they’re done correctly, but somewhere, the headspace effects add up, too, and there’s a lot of carefulness involved. 

So in the end, every little thing is worth it

Protocols in a New Place

So, we bought a house and moved somewhat recently.

Now, we moved in together eight weeks after meeting (and concurrently began our 24/7 power dynamic), so basically the entirety of our relationship has been living together in the one location we lived before we moved. 

So for really the first time, we’ve had to see how our preexisting protocols do in a new long term setting.  It’s interesting to notice patterns as we settle in.   

For example, my office is now in the master’s retreat, a little room off the master bedroom separated by French doors that are often open.  Now, if Mistress is in the bedroom, and dismisses me from her presence, and I go to my office, I can sit in the chair at my desk despite the fact we’re still very close by and not separated by anything, because we’re no longer actively engaged and it doesn’t count as using the furniture in her presence.  This wasn’t really a thing with my old office whose door went to the hallway.    

Meanwhile, there’s a wall downstairs with an open interior window and so a ledge one can sit on, and the stairs as we moved to a two story, and so on, and it had to be decided whether or not certain household features count as furniture.  The one story we were in had different features.  

Now that we have a lot more hardwood floors, I’ve found out that kneeling on them is a bit less cushioned but makes my legs go numb a lot slower. Overall, I like it slightly better.

Mistress’ office is much bigger now and importantly, I can access most of it without having to walk directly past her.  We have and have had a protocol that if I come into a room (mostly her office) and don’t make eye contact with her, it doesn’t count as being in her presence and is a signal that I’m just passing through to use an object in there or clean something, and so I don’t need to ask permission (and what else I can do) to leave again, which would be the entirety of that interaction.  The new layout makes avoiding said eye contact easier, which I’ve noted quickly.  Convenient.    

Little other things—the master bathroom has a separate toilet room and the (also French) doors to the main part of the bathroom don’t lock, meaning the rule about me not locking interior doors gets a little more intuitive when I get in the shower.    

The rule on notifying her when I’m leaving the house kicked into effect for getting the mail, no more slot right in the garage door.  Not a big deal, and I have to remember the mailbox keys, too. 

Of course, numerous tiny service details have changed, too. It all has an effect, for sure. 

It’s been really interesting to adjust, and I’m sure there are still things to discover; I look forward to it.  

The Benefits of Silence

When I was fifteen, I decided to take a week long vow of silence for a school project.  It required a bit of negotiating with other teachers, and writing was deemed necessary, but a week without speech was deemed doable.  I carried a small makeshift whiteboard mostly to maintain participation points in class, attend extracurriculars, order lunch in the cafeteria, and talk to my parents; a note on the back quickly explained the project in case of question. 

I had no strong urge to break my silence, though I remember once I started to speak, forgetting as I was startled.  (I believe it was an exclamation as someone dropped something). 

The silence gave me a week of focus.  When other people spoke, I wasn’t necessarily expected to respond—they understood the awkward effort and timing of writing out a reply on a whiteboard, so unless they truly wanted to hear what I had to say at length, they settled for my nodding and smiling.  Not listening to reply, I listened to listen and got to hear what they had to say without my planned response playing over it.  In some cases, maybe what they had to say when they didn’t have to fear an immediate reply.  It was an important experience for me, both then, and now—as a slave whose response might not even really matter to begin with. 

Since conversation wasn’t available as an easy pastime, I dove into my schoolwork and personal writing and reading.  Words were and are a huge part of my life.  I’m a ten time NaNoWriMo winner (four of them before this vow); large amounts of words are my thing. There seemed to be more time to spend with my words, so to speak, in my favorite forms, when I wasn’t using them for speech.  

In some mindfulness pieces I read, including BDSM ones, there’s a tactic mentioned called choosing silence.  At a time when you could speak, choosing silence.  This can be an act of kindness—if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  As a slave, it can keep you out of trouble.  But it can also be an act of purely mindfulness—stop thinking about what you have to say back; just listen.  Often, if you don’t listen just to reply, that eventual response is something slightly different and more insightful. 

My silence that week also created a bit of a frame for when I did bother writing something out on the whiteboard.  If I bothered, it seemed important, and people often read whatever it was twice.  On my side, I was more mindful of my words—which is a good skill to retain as a slave with speech protocols—and was a lot less negative—a good thing in general. 

A friend from the scene once commented that he sometimes didn’t know if I was actually as knowledgable as he thought I was, or if I was simply good at not talking about things I didn’t know about.  Funny how even the admittance of not knowing, saying I don’t know; tell me more or I don’t have enough information for an opinion; I’ll have to look into that can somehow make it sound like you know more than throwing out guesses does.   

Think of a book or show where the author wants to show a character is unintelligent or not knowledgable—they almost always have to do so through having the character speak.  It is a very hard assumption to get from silence.  It is also hard to convey a specific strong opinion or passion of theirs when it is buried in endless dialogue—though that can be an interesting characterization choice. 

This can all be achieved without even a short term vow of silence.  Listening primarily to hear people, not just to form a reply, means you will hear what they are saying and not what is easy to answer.  Choosing a moment of alone time lets you process.  Not talking just to talk clears time and energy for projects.  Admitting what you don’t know adds credence to what you do claim to know.  Focusing on talking about what you know and care about will bring more passion and personality to a conversation. 

Just a few words on a lack of words.  

Uniforms and Challenges, the Literal and a Metaphor

Our contract is a simply formatted, single spaced seven or so pages, and this one phrase in it sometimes gives me more conundrums than any others: nice, clean, and of an appropriate size. 

This phrase is in the uniform section, and the fact is, being a slave, as wonderful as it is, is messy.   

Cooking or food prep multiple times a day, untold coffee fetching, cleaning up after the cats—litter, water, fur, other messes—handling dirty dishes, trash, laundry—doing wipe downs, taking care of plants, working with cleaning chemicals, giving pedicures with a splashy foot bath, cleaning toilets… 

You get the idea.   

A lot of it is pretty easy and mundane stuff.  Stuff almost everyone does.  I might do it a little more frequently as our chore split is basically 100/0, or, as such service is luckily my full time occupation, I keep up with certain schedules and details a little more than typical, but none of it is truly out of the ordinary, and they’re simple things I’m happy to do. 

Another factor, though, is that since I wear a uniform, I don’t own a lot of clothes, so rotating the same few days’ worth of the dresses means the same items take the toll of the day’s work again and again, versus the clothes of people who have a longer rotation, or different clothes for different occasions.   

The dresses I wear when I’m cleaning, exercising, anything else, are the same ones I wear to parties; a dip in the pool usually just means I remove a few items; I don’t have a summer and winter wardrobe, just layers; there aren’t really days I’m in pajamas long; I wear the dresses when I’m just kneeling on the floor and when I’m scrubbing at it, and so on.  It’s blissfully simple, but the all in one of it adds up, and I often change clothes multiple times a day. 

I’ve gone up and down on the number of sets of clothes I own at once, but never so far up or down it’s seemed to make a huge difference in the amount of time before I have to order more, too many irreversibly stained or whatnot, despite my best efforts with the laundry, or, more preemptively, wearing a pre-approved apron when I’m doing something I know will be messy. 

It also means that when I change sizes, everything in that category has to be replaced, no leeway in brands or items or fabrics.  I’ve healthily gone down a few dress sizes since I started wearing this uniform in Fall 2018 (and since I changed to only one color of it in Fall 2019), meaning everything failed to fit me at once when I crossed that threshold.  The same happened with the uniform I wore previously, which eventually provided a good time to switch to my current uniform. 

So, nice, clean, and of an appropriate size provides a small daily challenge. 

But I like that. 

I recently rediscovered some of my slave journals from 2016, an interesting find as I start reading Slave Patrick’s Slave-ography, which began as a journal.  The fun part of this is that I was unowned in 2016, and really just getting going in the BDSM scene.  They were journals I kept mostly for myself, with the vague idea of showing them to a future partner—writing prompt answers, checklists, experimental erotica, art journaling, resource reading lists, event logs, research notes.  They’re currently on Mistress’ desk for her to peruse.  A lot of it is out of date now, and won’t be illuminating most likely so much as fun, or a marker of progress. 

In one of these journals, I found the phrase a challenge to challenge, as something I wanted to be, in an entry on what I wanted to be in the eyes of an Owner. 

It was a bit of a side note in that entry, but it caught my eye more than a lot of the rest of it at this point; I reflected on it and found it still true, just a useful phrasing I hadn’t come back to in a long time. 

The idea of it is basically the goal of providing poised service—calm, patient, the unperturbed servant trope.  Experimenting with mantras before I found that entry, I had come up with one about serving with patience, poise, and serenity, trying to address struggles in that arena. 

The thing with keeping my uniform presentable was a very simple but literal metaphor for that.  After running around cooking dinner, in a hot kitchen with bubbling sauces and such, I try to wait by the table for Mistress to tell me I can sit patiently and not looking worn out from the cooking—including wearing a clean set of clothes.  It feels better for me, looks better for her. 

It’s trying to give it a bit of magic.  This food?  It just appeared!  With less sense of the behind the scenes chaos of timing all the sides and close calls with spills.  It’s kind of like not leaving the wrapping paper roll next to the Christmas tree, or that moment in shows where a third party comes in and simply enjoys a flawless looking meal, event, so on, after an episode showing all the chaos of getting it that way, and two parties from behind the scenes of it look at each other knowingly. 

A bit of undisturbed poise, a bit of magic—since that’s what I’m going for, the uniform is both literally a small part of it and also an easy metaphor for the bigger picture—despite all that messy work, the dress is magically still clean every time you see me.  Despite all the chaos, I’m put together every time you see me.  Ta da.  Am I perfect at it?  Of course not.  But I can and do try.  That’s what counts. 

Setting Recurring Tasks: What Comes Next

I’ve talked before about adding your own recurring tasks in anticipatory service—or proposing them—and thought I should elaborate a bit on what it can look like after that new task gets added. 

I recently went to a lovely Zoom class on anticipatory service, and discussion covered ways to serve throughout the day—from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. 

We also spoke of parental versus celebrity dominance, an example of the parental side being the slave’s bedtime; I said we skewed so far to the celebrity side, we’d had a protocol for a while in which I came and knelt by Mistress’ desk to remind her of her chosen bedtime. 

Parental dominance often leans towards the control oriented, and has tasks and rules that are for the slave’s own good—self care, diet, bedtimes, exercise, productivity.  Celebrity dominance often leans towards the service oriented, especially anticipatory service, and has tasks and rules that are for the M-type’s convenience—cooking, housekeeping, secretarial tasks, body work, when to disturb them. 

Thinking through my routines again, with that story floating in my mind, I saw a place in the evening I could potentially be useful.   

The above protocol had been dropped; the idea of it was still desired, but it had become too inconsistent as her sleep schedule (and mine) shifted.  As they have settled for a while, and settled much closer together, it seemed more realistic now to try something like that. 

I also noted she’d become prone to getting a snack before bed.  The bedtime in mind was nine-thirty, and dinner was at six, so there was a decent gap there.  And I could start properly turning down the bedroom given that timing. 

I ran the idea by her and she enthusiastically agreed.   

Night one.  I was in a Zoom munch when my reminder alarm went off.  I bade everyone farewell, and logged off, then went downstairs to find Mistress in the kitchen getting a snack.  She wasn’t going to bed, either.  All right, but no go. 

Night two.  Dinner had been light and after a late store trip, she’d gotten food from a drive through and was understandably not interested in a snack or bed by nine-thirty.  Turning down the bed, a quick tidy, a spritz of linen spray, and the usual laying out her pajamas and next day’s clothes still happened. 

Night three.  Nearing nine-thirty, ice cream was requested.  After doing all of the other bits, I arranged the snack—ice cream, strawberries, pretzel Goldfish, in little glass bowls, a bigger one for the ice cream with spoon, complete with a cocktail napkin I’d recently finished crocheting—on a tray downstairs, brought it up and set it on her nightstand before going and getting her.  Success.   

Night four.  Friend from out of town was happily but unexpectedly in the neighborhood and stayed late.  Largely no go. 

Night five.  Unthinkingly, I changed into pajamas at eight something, including taking off my watch that had my reminder alarm set.  I was writing and thought it might be approaching that time—9:24 and I ran to get the minimum ready so fast I was sadly still panting when I told Mistress it was done.  She said she’d be in soon.  She took long enough I even managed to get the rest of the things done. 

And so it goes. 

Tasks and protocols sometimes come and go with practicality; things happen; ideas get tweaked.  Here, things often get codified either out of her dictating it, me proposing it and her agreeing, I just start doing it regularly and she comes to expect it, I do it once and she decides she wants it to happen regularly, she dictates it case by case repeatedly and I propose the pattern, etc.  Sometimes things get combined—a daily task recently set of me rubbing lotion into dry spots for her seemed a prime thing to combine with the nightly snack and turndown, and I’m going to try to integrate that. 

In the end, even once tasks are added, service is always a learning process and a work in progress.  And so it goes. 

Why I Chose Irrevocable Consent as a Label, What It Means to Me, and Why I Write About It

TPE, TAT, no safewords, no limits, no way out, no “no”, owned, CNC, irrevocable consent, blanket consent, slave, property— 

There are a lot of words, phrases, and acronyms used to talk about this area, many of which have other definitions, too. 

It’s a lot to sum up.  It can sound simple, but the totality of it, minding any loopholes, can be difficult to cover. 

I use slave, owned, property, permanently collared (physically and mentally), as labels, but they don’t necessarily cover this area, as many use those labels for other pieces of this relationship, with a very different model of consent, so I use them separately. 

Conversations on TPE and TAT that I saw emphasized the all areas part, but some held the idea that there could still be limits—there was just power exchange, or authority transfer—in all areas of life.  Sex, finances, lifestyle, time, service, anything.  Sometimes it simply overlapped strongly with 24/7.   

The PE versus AT conversations focused mostly on the idea of it not being much of an exchange—what power or authority does the slave get back, after all?  Transfer—definition: make over the possession of (property, a right, or a responsibility) to someone else.   

Some got into the idea of personal power and strength versus the idea of the authority to make decisions.  To me, both can be transferred—or at least owned.   

Personally when in search of a noun I err towards dynamic—definition: a force that stimulates change or progress within a system or process.  Mostly because transfer’s definition that includes ownership doesn’t have as neat a translation to nouns. 

No safewords, no limits—is very simple, straightforward, and I like that, but it’s perhaps overly simple.  Bright side, nearly everyone in the BDSM scene for more than a day knows what those words mean.  No way out was a little vaguer—no way out of the relationship.  No dissolution clause.  No exit plan.  Which many don’t spell out to begin with, so—more importantly: explicitly not allowed to leave, by contract, agreement, etc.  For a while I favored the no safewords, no limits phrase, sometimes including no way out.  No “no” was simple, too. 

Blanket consent is a useful phrase, but some definitions leave the possibility of it being revoked.  A standing assumption of consent, for either pre-established activities or pretty much anything.  But perhaps just that—an assumption.  But plenty do use it to mean irrevocable. 

CNC is a lovely acronym that rolls off the tongue and I have to admit that when I talk to people who already know my dynamic that I’m referring to, especially out loud, I use it very frequently.  With people who know me less well, or in a semantics driven context, or in writing—I try to use it carefully, because it can contextually mean anything from a once off rape roleplay scene with both a fake and real safeword to that 24/7 lifelong dynamic with no safewords, real or fake. 

Irrevocable consent is pretty straightforward, I think.  Consent is offered once, not to be revoked.  Safewords, limits, ability to leave the relationship—all are forms of revoking consent, and are nulled by the phrase, as is the potential issue I have with blanket consent.  Using the phrase in isolation I think is enough to imply the total and all areas parts from TPE/TAT, and if in a summary of my dynamic, I’d also be using 24/7, which is often a strong indicator in that direction anyway.  I acknowledge that no label is perfect, and I’m happy to talk more at length, but for now, this is my go to quick explanation. 

Admittedly, this makes some people uncomfortable.

Recently, I was permanently banned from the BDSM Advice subreddit after making my first post, which I thought was polite and would be useful.  I still don’t quite understand how it broke the rules, and I don’t believe it was relevant to my practice of consent, but I got the sense I was not welcome to ask.  Anyway—I laughed about it rather quickly, because I’m aware my opinions on such matters are frequently unpopular and frankly, banned from giving BDSM advice somewhere felt like a strangely suiting badge for me considering I run an informational BDSM blog. 

The very reason I run that blog is because I know I can be a little niche.  On the matter of consent and on the ways Mistress and I do other things.  Descriptions of my dynamic are sometimes met with flattering envy and are sometimes met with horror and declarations of preferring death.  To talk about my uniform means getting a response of either, “So practical; I hate having to think about clothes,” or, “I’d rather die than not be able to express myself with fashion.”  To talk about service as my only full time occupation also meets statements of either envy of the opportunity (and privilege is a factor here) or of death by boredom.  “Oh, me too!” is exceptionally uncommon on some issues, but always refreshing. 

But for those who say—I wish I could do that, but I don’t know all the details, or, I like the idea of that, but I really want to pin down what it means for me, or, I want to live this, but I don’t know what it looks like day to day, or I’m curious, but I don’t know where to start, or I want to be of service, but I don’t know what to exactly do, for those who say, I want to learn more, I want to find people like me—those are who I write for.  I’m not an expert, but I like to think I have a few useful or thought provoking things to say. 

I try to somewhat focus on that niche of things where I know it can be unpopular and that there may be unfriendly tides around it elsewhere.  Or even friendly to the idea tides where it’s hard to find someone who’s done it.  To tell the people who might need it the most that they’re not the only one who wants this, does this, lives this. 

Besides the popular idea that consent is always revocable, thinking about the phrase can lead people to other uncomfortable ideas.  Any other popular ideas of consent can be erased by the irrevocable part.  Aftercare or sobriety, for instance, cannot be conditions of irrevocable consent. 

There’s the popular, “Well, what if they decided to chop your arm off?” argument.  I posed a similar question to Mistress once while discussing this philosophy, to which she replied that I could beg her to chop my arm off and she still wouldn’t, let alone do it of her own desires.   

Chopping my arm off sounds dangerous, expensive, and time consuming, and would lead to some hard questions at the ER, and who wants responsibility for that?  Mistress’ occasional joke about such things is usually something I respond to with, “But then you’d have to get your own coffee,” at least while I was figuring out having one arm, and the joke ends with: 

“Well, can’t have that.” 

Yes, my consent was irrevocable once it was given here—but it was all around carefully considered before it was given, including pondering the mind of who I was giving it to.  She’ll do things I don’t like, things I would’ve called limits if I currently defined them, go past when I would safeword if I would use one—but she’ll only do things she is willing and able to take responsibility for, which doesn’t include chopping off my arm.  This is what really keeps her from things that are overtly illegal or sometimes just extremely risky. 

Still—there’s the claim that such ownership is just a fantasy.  It’s not legal, so what’s backing up the dynamic with this consent model? 

I recently had some M/s characters explore this in my fiction.  The slave says: 

“[Our contract is] honor bound, and it says you own me, and I can’t change that. If I go back on it, I lose that integrity. It’s like a lien. I either honor the agreement or lose something momentous. Telling someone they own me really meaning something, ever again. […] I said that—anything you wanted to do—I’d let you. And if you don’t abide by the law or religion or social pressure, that doesn’t change what I said. So if I break the contract and leave and say it was because you were doing something illegal—I’m still breaking the honor ties. So I forfeit my right to leave with that integrity, to you—because the only way to leave with that is if you release me. You have a lien on my integrity with my debt being lifelong obedience. To include forfeiting all other rights. Unless you release me. If, when, I die, you die, or you release me—the debt is paid; my integrity is something you can’t take at that point.” 

This is generally my own real world philosophy on it.  My honor and integrity backs it up—no small things by my values.  Also, internal enslavement can alter what your mind can truly wrap itself around, to exclude disobedience—this can keep you bound in a way, too. 

Beyond the law, there can be other pressures, lessons built in from preschool and beyond. 

In a previous post, I pointed out something about this:

“If Mistress were to say yes to everything I want, to give in every time I was suffering in any way, we couldn’t have a functional M/s dynamic as we define it. She has to be able to pick her own methods over what society teaches us about courtesy and compromise. She can choose to observe those things if she wants, but if she feels bound by them every time, she’s not actually controlling things.

For my part, I have to be able to deal with it in a way that makes it easy for her to choose her own methods, not fixate on the concept of fair or treating others as you want to be treated. I can’t just technically never say no but try to whine and wheedle my way out of anything and everything I don’t like. It helps to be flexible, able to find things to like in a situation and handle it even if I can’t.”

I think some do picture something slightly different with irrevocable consent to the reality—they picture the screaming no, the being held down, all that.  Realistically, things don’t look like that here—I’m expected to just not say no, not to say it or complain and be overpowered.  It looks a lot more peaceful and the reality is that even if my knee jerk reaction is no, I always want to obey more than I want to say no, and if I can’t quite bring myself to say yes, I want to be pushed there.   

Also, you can’t really effectively hold someone down screaming no when what you told them to do is the dishes or the laundry.  Irrevocable consent goes far past things where holding someone down would work and that underlying desire to always say yes, and to say yes and just do it even when you don’t want to, is an important part.  If communicating about actual wants is desired, it can be done at a time not directly after an order. 

I will also say, I think it’s often valuable and important to read differing opinions on these things, avoid the echo chamber, and it can be thought provoking to read pieces with similar opinions that explain it in a new light.  I spend a lot of free time pouring over anything from academic articles to books to FetLife writings, going to classes, taking video courses, and practicing, on the subjects that interest me, often regardless of the conclusion of another’s content. 

It was this that allowed me to choose the label I felt was right for me—watching others theorize on what possible labels meant, how they were used, why they were selected, when and where and by who.  After that, it lets me figure out more about what it really means to me, how to explain it, how it fits into other pictures.  And if I think I have something to add, I write pieces of my own, like the ones mentioned above, or even this one.