After some back and forth today at work, I learned that Keith was having a pretty bad day, though he wasn't being vocal as to why. But I was certainly aware of the very "low" feeling he had and wasn't sure how to help him. It would do no good to pry because I know some people really don't like that. He seemed pretty content to handle the issue on his own, so I gave him his space and went back to work. A little while later I get the feeling that he wants to attempt to front. Perhaps the concentration will help break him out of this mood. Kind of an odd time to do it seeing as my job is very physical and I'd have to autopilot, but why not?
Aiko instructed him that, if he should front, to not think too deeply about what his body is doing or the autopilot won't work. This is true with me at least. Keith grumbles and says he can handle this himself, thank you. He's kinda grumpy like that sometimes, but he was able to front for a short time.
And that's when the fun began. He was definitely trying to think about what to do because he seems to hate autopiloting. He does everything deliberately and with purpose, so this is already going strangely. I have to tell him what to do and how to use my equipment because he will not let autopilot take over, so it slows me down. I'm not upset by this because I know I'll get my job done before I leave anyway - but it was pretty funny watching him awkwardly use electronics. I probably looked very silly to my coworkers.
Part of my job involves using these metal carts with two baskets called two-tiered carts. Neato. Well, the backs of the baskets, just like in most shopping carts, can be pushed inward. The top basket is jammed halfway in and out of where it should be, and you usually have to give it a good smack to break it out. It's old equipment, heh. Well, I can do this. Aiko can do this. Keith, however, was still trying to figure out the right amount of physical strength to use when doing this. I offered but he insisted he'd be fine and so I let him. I really should've paid attention. The first time he hit it, he didn't hit it hard enough and it didn't budge. So then he just hauls off and slams his (my) palm into it - MUCH harder than necessary - and it flips upward and NAILS me right in the face. I really should've realized this would end badly. More specifically, it hit me in the mouth and cut my lip.
I thought it was hilarious but it was pretty obvious this just ruined the rest of his morning and he became very sullen and retreated back into the headspace. I didn't bleed much and the cut was on the inside of my lip anyway. It didn't really hurt - and I wasn't bothered - but he definitely was. I gave up trying to reach him and Aiko told me not to worry about it because he just needed to get over it? I made sure he knew that everything would be fine and if he needed to talk I was always happy to listen. It was then I had a brief flash of ... I don't know how to put it. It was a pleasant feeling, like a kindly acknowledgment, and then it was gone.
He didn't begin speaking again until much later. I made beef stew for dinner for my husband and I learned that this is apparently his absolute favorite food. I didn't particularly like the smell of it, but he did. It was homemade (though I did loosely follow an existing recipe hah) but he was quite enamored with it. He even told me that boy how he wished for a few minutes I ate meat, which was flattering but also weird. Still, I felt pretty bad as I don't eat animals, and he'd already had a really bad day, so I said screw it and grabbed another potato and carrot and started slicing up some more vegetables for a vegan version of that stew. I wasn't sure HOW I was going to do it, but damn it I was going to make SOMETHING like a vegan beef stew. This resulted in a few more dishes, but some spices later and I had managed to get a pretty nice flavor profile. Can't use Worcestershire sauce since that has anchovies, but I looked at the other ingredients and noticed "Oh there's some vinegar in this". So I tried mustard instead. It...actually worked? In a last attempt to replicate a beef texture I tore up some baked tofu I had in the fridge and let it simmer in the pot with the stew for a bit.
And you know what? IT ACTUALLY CAME OUT PRETTY GOOD. I normally make a basic stew at home with potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and garlic with spices. With this profile, it was pretty damn close to beefless beef stew. To my surprise, he even liked it. That said, he did tell me not to sell myself short (to which I replied this is impossible as I am always short). It feels SO awkward having any kind of compliment from the inside, even if it's not from me, but he seems to be a bit better now, so I'm happy for that at least.
Soulbonding is hard. I'm suddenly having to make decisions for three people. How do we dress? What color should the hair be? Should we change up the daily schedule? Keith likes exercising, so I need to pick that up. I don't feel burdened at all, but it's just so much to take in. I can't exactly indulge Aiko's hobbies as I'm sure plenty of them would land me in jail, but she's okay with that. Heh.
SO THAT WAS A FUN DAY.