Re: One Thought Too Many

1

Awesome.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 8:19 PM
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So how did the old lady find out that he wasn't a child molester?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 8:48 PM
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I'm not sure that it would have occurred to me that the kind thing to do is buy him a ticket. My indecision would have been "is he even on the right train? Maybe he's cutting his losses by getting off sooner rather than later." if he seemed distressed maybe it would occur to me that I could help.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 8:59 PM
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I wouldn't have worried he was a child molester. I would have worried that he needed medical attention.

In any case, sorry you were showed up by someone older and more stylish than you.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 9:03 PM
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5

And whiter!

Anyway, I sympathize with you, ogged. (Not that I think you're precisely looking for sympathy, here. I mean: I recognize this phenomenon. Or something.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 9:08 PM
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I also recognize this phenomenon and probably would have reacted similarly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 9:10 PM
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7

Bus fare is about where my transportation sympathy tops out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 9:16 PM
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It's not related in any way, but ogged's story about delayed charity reminded me of this story by Dick Gregory. Specifically the last seven paragraphs; the story about the old wino.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 9:43 PM
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I've recently been encountering a disconcerting individual on a downtown bus. Every time (there have been three so far), he's talking loudly on the phone with Very Important Things You Must Attend To. The first time, it was about how he was too good for someone given his high status and previous military positions. The second time, it was just a chat about politics, not I think an argument, but still booming and stentorian. Highlights of the third time: "I will not suffer my foster son to be taught by an unqualified minority" and "You tell her that white supremacy does not exist because [lowers voice for only time ever] whites are superior." He is no older than 40s, probably younger.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-15-13 10:34 PM
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I wouldn't have worried he was a child molester. I would have worried that he needed medical attention.

This.

My indecision would have been "is he even on the right train? Maybe he's cutting his losses by getting off sooner rather than later."

Also, this. Buying him a ticket would be absolutely the wrong thing to do because it means that no one's going to pay him any more attention.

And another point: if he made no noise and carried no ID, how do you know his name was Miguel? Did he have a label round his neck like Paddington Bear?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:44 AM
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But then I'm instinctively biased against mentally altered people on public transport because of the memorable time I was on a night bus sitting next to a guy who was simultaneously smoking and inhaling lighter fluid. I spent the journey expecting his entire head to go up like Piper Alpha.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:46 AM
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I was also trying to figure out how they knew his name was Miguel. He must have said it, but I was two rows up and didn't hear it. They also told another passenger that they'd had an eye on him during boarding, so perhaps they'd spoken to him earlier. Or he was Paddington Bear, who could well be Hispanic, you racist.

I take the point about medical attention, but he just seemed high, not distressed, or deteriorating. Insisting on medical attention for anyone who's high seems intrusive in its own way, especially when it would be the cops, not EMTs, boarding to check him out.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 6:02 AM
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Maybe they were just calling him Miguel because stereotypes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 6:37 AM
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I take the point about medical attention, but he just seemed high, not distressed, or deteriorating. Insisting on medical attention for anyone who's high seems intrusive in its own way,

I dunno -- high enough not to be functioning in a not terribly challenging situation seems like high enough to need help. If he can't get it together enough to cope with the ticket, what's going to happen to him when he gets off the train?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 6:45 AM
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I'll defer to gwift on this one, but I think just getting on a train means you're functioning at a higher level than lots of people who don't get help and don't (immediately) die. But this is just an impression.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 6:55 AM
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Getting on a train puts you ahead of people who live in areas without a.significant investment in public transportation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 6:58 AM
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It's tough to know what's going on inside someone's head. I have a certain amount of sympathy for the EMT who screwed up and thought David Rosenbaum was drunk.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 7:08 AM
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Or he was Paddington Bear, who could well be Hispanic, you racist.

Well he was from Peru.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 7:19 AM
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The medical attention thing is definitely a tough call. I've heard that an ER is a terrible place to be if all you need is a quiet place to wait until you come down.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 7:33 AM
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They also told another passenger that they'd had an eye on him during boarding, so perhaps they'd spoken to him earlier.

That actually sounds like he was significantly deteriorating; if he's together enough to walk and get on the train and talk to people, but now he's barely conscious and not really responsive to voice, that's not good. If he was a bit older, or obese, I'd be thinking "possible diabetic crisis". That can often look like someone is drunk or heavily stoned. I'd definitely want to get a medic to take a look at him, anyway.

18: Darkest Peru, in fact.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 7:51 AM
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I'm wearing my Stand With Wendy Davis shoes during a final exam in a room which has no chair for the instructor. (Ie it's a science lab so if I want to do any grading, I'm using a lab counter). Good thing she originally chose these shoes for standing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 7:54 AM
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20.1. This is frighteningly likely. A friend of mine with diabetes, a doctor himself, was reported to his boss for being drunk in a meeting. His boss replied, "Do you call yourself a doctor and not recognise hypoglycaemia when you see it? Glucose, now!"

But the guy was a (fairly senior) doctor, and hadn't recognised it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:13 AM
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I totes knew you'd say that, Ajay. Look, this stuff is complicated, but no one thought he was in medical jeopardy, and there wasn't even a way to be sure if he was well and truly out of it, or just very out of it and figuring that his best chance to stay on the train was to make no effort to rouse himself. But maybe he's dead now! But the available evidence didn't suggest, even to the bleeding heart sitting right next to him, that he needed medical attention. (Also: skinny guy. Just looked very very high/stoned/whatever they call it now.)

It also seems unlikely that his run of good luck with respectful young white guys would have continued if the cops had shown up, and no one was talking medic, they were talking cops.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:19 AM
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So the right thing to do would be to insist they throw the man off the train, possibly also tearing up his new ticket. Ethics is tricky.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:23 AM
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no one was talking medic, they were talking cops.

Well, this is the issue -- feeling as if it's not safe to trust in the helpful good faith of the cops. Which I agree with you, it's not safe, but man, it should be, and this seems like right on the line of the sort of situation where you kind of have to. And probably it works out well sometimes.

I had an easier call that I still felt bad about, years ago -- walking across a bridge in a snowstorm, and there was a guy passed out, probably drunk, sleeping on the sidewalk, so I called 911. And I wouldn't call 911 on someone for sleeping outdoors usually, because I figure involving the police isn't going to make their life better, but someone who's passed out enough that gentle shaking doesn't wake them up on a bridge in the snow is going to die, so whatever the cops do was at worst not going to make the situation worse. But I still felt bad about calling them, and their demeanor when they showed up was not really reassuring.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:41 AM
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there wasn't even a way to be sure if he was well and truly out of it, or just very out of it and figuring that his best chance to stay on the train was to make no effort to rouse himself

Doesn't matter. If he was well and truly out of it he should have received medical help. If he was just trying not to get busted for not having a ticket, then he should have been busted. Either way just paying for his ticket wasn't the way to go. The right thing to do would have been to get someone who was qualified to make that kind of judgement to have a look at him. (Like, possibly, a cop.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:42 AM
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If he was just trying not to get busted for not having a ticket, then he should have been busted.

I think this is where you part company from Ogged.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:45 AM
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28

This may be a different-sides-of-the-Atlantic thing. I would have no qualms at all about calling 999 for something like 25. In fact I'd feel good about it because I'd know I'd probably saved a life by doing so.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:47 AM
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29

There's the occasional horror story of cops tasing an unconscious/out of it person for not complying with orders, but is that really how most cops act?
Maybe certain people shouldn't answer that.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:49 AM
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27: dodging fares on public transport isn't really a terrible sin, but it's not something where I feel I have to actively protect the people who do it either. If you're on a train without a ticket and the inspectors catch you, you get fined. That's just the risk you take.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:49 AM
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Ha, I finally asked my wife, who has worked in ERs with lots of guys like Miguel, but who thinks being online is a complete waste of my time, whether the dude should have gotten medical attention, and she said "Yeah." So...maybe!

Off to swim!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:50 AM
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If I thought the outcome was that he was going to end up in a bed somewhere with someone who knew what they were doing taking care of him, I'd have felt good about it. My guess is that there was a good chance they did whatever was minimally necessary to wake him up and left him on the street, or at best arrested him, so he was being neglected in a cell indoors somewhere.

Still might have saved his life, but not ideal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:51 AM
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28: Perhaps because the cops on your side of the pond are less likely to go all Rodney King on people. At least that's my overall impression, based on a limited number of interactions with them.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:51 AM
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We called the cops (well, stood around while another bystander called the cops, with our assent) recently when we came across a woman who was super altered-seeming and couldn't walk. It might have been diabetes-related (that is, she said it was diabetes-related) or it might have been something else (she was wearing sort of a sparkly party dress that was highly weather inappropriate and had a bruise on her face). We were like two blocks from a hospital, and I thought about just trying to help her to the ER, but that seemed like it could go badly wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:53 AM
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I think we are getting away from the important point here which is that ogged is a horrible human being who is happy to leave his fellow Hispanics to die on public transport.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 8:57 AM
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I was also trying to figure out how they knew his name was Miguel. He must have said it, but I was two rows up and didn't hear it.

Maybe he was wearing a badge around his neck that said his name and contained his bus pass, like some learning-disabled adults I see sometimes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:00 AM
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I just misread 32.1 as: If I thought the outcome was that he was going to end up in a bed somewhere with someone who knew what they were doing taking care of him, I'd have felt good about it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:03 AM
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People with one disability often have other abilities that are developed to an extraordinary level in some cases, but despite the rumors, people with learning disabilities cannot become invisible at will.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:03 AM
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So you're saying Miguel is telepathic and that's how Ogged knew his name?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:09 AM
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I know when I had to call 911 to get help and transport for the kiddo, I was able to specify that we only needed EMTs, not the police. it was a different situation from the Miguel one, of course, since I was in my own home and knew who was involved and what was going on, but that's always something you can at least try.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:12 AM
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I think the cops who showed up when we (or that is the person standing next to us) called actually worked at the hospital and just walked over, although an ambulance did show up from elsewhere a little later on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:15 AM
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Clearly, the thing to do is keep Miguel alive and nearby in case a trolley problem appears. Was he obese?


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:17 AM
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high/stoned/whatever they call it now

"Medicated", you insensitive lout.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 9:36 AM
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There were two adults on the bus last night having a long, pointless domestic dispute. They were somewhat the worse for drink. The police eventually showed up and (politely) ordered them off the bus. While I don't like the thought of one or both of them going to jail basically for being annoying (they weren't at all violent when I was there), still, it has to be said that when you get on public transport and act the fool, you are taking your chances of waking up to a baloney sandwich and mealy apple the next day.

I have paid peoples' fare in the past, mostly to keep things moving, and 'cause I don't want them to get taken off by the cops. I still feel kinda bad about the time I let this drunk get hauled off for not paying his bar tab. He and I were the only ones drinking, and it sounded like it was for just a couple of drinks. I suppose detox was not the worst place for him, but still.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 11:01 AM
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I have a "will calling the cops produce a better outcome" question. We were walking by an apartment building, heard shouting and noises of fighting (crashes, etc., don't remember precisely as this happened a little while ago), saw someone get shoved hard against the blinds, other silhouettes indicating a serious fight going on. Couldn't tell if it was a domestic violence situation or not. Would calling the cops promptly with the address of the building and what story the fight was taking place on be helpful?

Also, hi all.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 11:53 AM
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If it's going on long enough to worry you that someone's getting hurt, calling the cops seems like a decent idea to me. If it's really no big thing, it'll be over by the time they show up, and no harm done. If people are getting hurt, better the police should get there sooner than later.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 12:06 PM
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Way back to the original post -- why on earth "child molester"? Did you just think, "Maybe he's a bad person, I shouldn't do anything helpful for a bad person." Or was there any specific reason at all to think anything bad about him other than that he didn't have money (or couldn't find money, whether or not he had it) for his fare)?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 12:46 PM
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Isn't "child molester" just standard joking shorthand for "worst thing a stranger I accidentally affiliated with could be"?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 12:49 PM
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Inspired by this thread (ok, not really, that's just post hoc reasoning) this morning I stopped my bike and helped a couple push their car out of their iced-in parking spot. But maybe by reducing their stress I prevented a future domestic dispute! Or maybe on the other extreme I led to their child being conceived.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 12:51 PM
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Or enabled them to drive on icy, unsafe streets. They didn't make it five miles before plowing into a bridge abutment at 60mph. You heartless bastard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 12:56 PM
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Maybe you opened up a parking spot for Hitler.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 12:58 PM
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52

Say what you will about Hitler, at least he killed Hitler.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 1:30 PM
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I have a recurring Sunday guilt trip at my usual Sunday deli, because a year or so ago, a much older woman a couple of places ahead of me in line at the check-out was having her card rejected and ultimately very flustered she left without her modest <$20 order. I was going to just pay for it, but self-absorbed cad that I am, hesitated and she was out the door. So I get to recall it most weekends, and then sometimes a blog post or something will remind me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 1:40 PM
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55: That was from Twitter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 1:44 PM
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52: Saturday, I helped a woman get up her driveway. I was standing right there, holding a shovel and watching her spin her tires. So, I got her attention and cleaned the pavement around her tires. This took less than a minute. The next day, she gave my son (who was with me but who I wouldn't let shovel snow right next to a running car) some candy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 1:49 PM
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58: You do all the work, and your son gets the candy! An unjust world, indeed!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:05 PM
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OTOH, last week a new branch of a restaurant opened across the street and for the grand opening they had a "pay what you want, proceeds to charity" lunch period 11-2. I wimped out and didn't go because I didn't know if I should pay some token amount, the standard price, or something more generous, and then is the excess over the cost of the food deductible?
Last year I used my new snowblower to do sidewalks & driveways for the whole block in the big blizzard and several neighbors dropped off beer or gift cards later (one not until August.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:08 PM
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(Deductible part is a joke- I doubt they would have written me a proper receipt.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:09 PM
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You do all the work, and your son gets the candy

There's an incredibly charming children's book called "Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude" with the line (about Henry Matisse) "His mouth does all the smiling but his mustache does all the work" which my brain flitted to upon reading the line above.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:11 PM
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I wimped out and didn't go because I didn't know if I should pay some token amount, the standard price, or something more generous, and then is the excess over the cost of the food deductible?

Wow, that is some serious conflict avoidance.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:12 PM
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Last year I used my new snowblower to do sidewalks & driveways for the whole block in the big blizzard

And this year in the super soggy, frozen not-blizzard?

I went over to my new house to shovel this weekend and one of my neighbors was snowblowering his walk (poorly, as it turned out), and blowing the snow onto my walk. Guy, don't make this a thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:18 PM
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I did the sidewalk for the old guy next door who would have died if he had shoveled himself, and the next neighbor after that. The rest of the people didn't bother and left everything icy, so if someone falls on those parts it will be my fault.
My snowblower is bigger than your neighbor's, I'll drive it over and set him straight.
63- Also the line was too long, something about pricing vs. demand. And I had my heart set on sushi that day.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 2:34 PM
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57: tattletale


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 3:19 PM
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I once gave the woman in front of me in the checkout queue a pound or two because she was a bit short. She waited for me to finish, and then gave me a brand new bible. (This woman Audi wears a hat with bible verses written on it.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 5:08 PM
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also? always? Don't remember what I meant instead of Audi.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-13 5:09 PM
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wears a hat with bible verses written on it.

what is this I don't even. MORE DETAILS. One verse? Many verses? Does she have lots of hats with different verses on each, or one hat with a bible verse on a card tucked into the band, like a card saying PRESS?
Which verses? John iii.16? Revelations vi.6 would seem like a good one to go shopping with. Or Ezekiel iv.9-13, depending which shops.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-17-13 2:57 AM
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