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

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