Transplanted Life
Sunday, September 21, 2003
Well, I expected some mail after getting that call, and the readers didn't disappoint me. It's kind of odd to think of your personal journal as having regular readers, but what isn't kind of odd these days? Besides, if I didn't want to hear back from them, I wouldn't have posted Michelle's e-mail address or added a space for comments (when BackBlog is running). Who knows, someone with useful information might see it and reply.

It's sort of gratifying to have folks angry on your behalf. As much as I can respect the "you've been given a great gift and should appreciate it more" crowd, and on some days even agree with them, this is a terrible violation. But a number of readers have been calling for revenge.

Take Chase, for instance, who offers several helpful suggestions, but I'll just address the first:

1.) START SMOKING! It's fun when there are no consequences. See how many packs you can cram into her lungs in a day. There's no way she's gonna find out, even AFTER you switch back. She'll have to deal with nicotine withdrawal and you'll be off scot-free! Serves her right.

The problem with this is that, in the meantime, I'm smoking, coughing, puking, smelling like Dimitri. For this plan to be a success, it's also crucial Michelle doesn't find out, because if she does, she either doesn't switch back and I'm stuck with a two-pack-a-day habit, or she could get mad and decide to step it up a notch. Do you want someone who can do things like switching minds mad at you? What if she decides her kindly grandfather deserves my life more than I do in the aftermath? The phrase "don't tug on Superman's cape" seems appropriate.

Revenge is tempting, but this is my life we're talking about. And there are several "my life"s to consider:

(1) The life I was born with that Michelle is now inhabiting. The one that she could, if she got wind of me doing anything untoward with hers, endanger or disgrace just as easily as I can hers. And she's the one who would know how to escape it without consequences.

(2) The life I currently have to live. Any bad reputation I cause, I have to live with until we get switched back. If we get switched back - Michelle could get hit by a bus or fail her test or just decide to settle down in my body, and I'm stuck like this for good. And then where does that leave me? To a certain extent, even though I believe this situation to be temporary, I have to be prepared to live with the consequences of my actions.

(3) My internal life, the one that is defined as a continuous stream of memories, experiences, and decisions. The one attached to my soul, if you will, as opposed to just a body. So say I start smoking, and Michelle never finds out, but she winds up with cancer because of it. Understand, what Michelle has done to me is despicable, and I wish there were laws I could use to prosecute her. But I also don't want to live with ruining another life just because I'm angry.

Maybe that makes me a wuss, or it's evidence that living inside a girl's brain has changed me fundamentally. I don't know. I do want a reckoning, but I want my conscience to be clear when it comes.

Meanwhile, some others (like "gothgirl" in the comment section) have expressed skepticism:

I don't buy it. Not for a second. Not for a nano. Two extra days? And she calls now? After how many friggen months? Riiiight. Excuse me, but the bullshit meter just burst through the scale.

Well, I never said I believed it. Really, that's the ingenious part about what Michelle told me - even if it's a complete fabrication, it fits the facts as I know them well enough that I have to at least take it seriously. It also multiplies the amount of research I potentially have to do to find out what's going on and if I can do anything about it. And even if I don't believe it, I have to think twice before picking up the phone or composing an e-mail, just in case.

It's frustrating, because at times, it seems all I can do is document what happens to me. That's part of why this journal is public and on the web, rather than private or in a book. I know at least one guy is forwarding these things to his friends; if this suddenly disappears, there will at least be some evidence of what happened to me for the next guy in this situation to start from, somewhere.

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