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.
In the end, even once tasks are added, service is always a learning process and a work in progress. And so it goes.
(Later, the routine was changed to bringing the snack to her office at 8:30 and reminding her of bedtime at 9:30. Yet later, the routine was changed to sending her back upstairs with a snack tray right after dinner at 6, and keeping the 9:30 reminder. Then, technically cutting the 9:30 reminder, but she still aims for bed at 9:30 and I’m required to be in bed at that time. Leashing me for the night reminds her.)