Saturday, October 04, 2003
Half an hour to go...
Four years ago, the Red Sox were down 2-0 in a five-game series and pulled it out by coming back to Fenway and laying an offensive hurt down on the Cleveland Indians. No reason history can't repeat itself.
It just sucks that I'll be watching it alone, though. I've gotten used to doing this with Kurt, and even without the sex afterwards... Well, the thing is, baseball is a game with a lot of dead time. That's not a complaint; part of the appeal of the sport is the social aspect, that you've got time to discuss the game and anything else with someone while you're watching it. Watching it alone isn't as much fun; I usually wind up in chat room or posting on Baseball Primer's Game Chatter forums in that case.
I talked to Kurt yesterday, just on the off-chance that Denise wouldn't be coming up this weekend, but he said he had to go out of town. So he's probably in Springfield with her, watching it, or not, with her. Meeting her folks, even.
Which makes me wonder: Does Michelle even have folks? I snuck a look at her - "my" - employee information at work yesterday, and I don't have a "call in case of emergency" number. There's another Garber listed in the little New Hampshire town on her driver's license, but whoever she is, she hasn't called me and I'm afraid to call her. If she is some sort of relative, I'll have no idea what to say, and if she isn't, it'd do me no good. That seems to be what happens any time I try and get information on Michelle, or witchcraft, or anything to do with this situation - anything that might be good stuff just seems to risky.
Friday, October 03, 2003
A little knowledge
Because of the weird 4pm start time for the game yesterday, Kurt decided to record it on his Tivo, so that right after work, we could head over to his house and watch it delayed. One of the nifty things you can do with "Personal Video Recorders" like Tivo and ReplayTV is to record something, and then start watching it from the beginning before the unit stops recording. If you time it right, you can "catch up" by jumping through the commercials. (I miss my own Tivo, by the way)
This creates a weird disconnect sometimes - for example, last night, Kurt and I started watching the game at 5:30, when it must have been the fifth inning. But, as far as we were concerned, the game was happening in the present. Here's the thing, though - if the suspense was killing us, we could fast forward, or jump immediately to the present.
It's a useful reminder that things happen around us constantly, but we don't know all of it. In fact, we specifically choose not to know much of it, whether to preserve the suspense of a playoff game or to delay dealing with a question.
To choose to be ignorant is silly, of course. Consider expectant parents choosing not to know whether their child is a boy or a girl. This serves no practical purpose, makes planning, purchasing clothes, and everything else more difficult for them and their families, and I imagine that the emotional impact of giving birth is strong enough that you don't have to try and enhance it with a surprise. But people do it, because, I don't know, because their parents did fine without knowing their baby's sex before birth and if it was good enough for them...
Anyway, I say this because I got a hit on "Martin Hartle" this morning. I was just going through the motions, since I didn't really have time to check my email and stuff between slipping out of Kurt's bed at six, taking the train back out to Allston, showering, getting dressed, having breakfast and heading back downtown for work. But, I do it every morning, and didn't even think about it before turning the computer on.
Just one hit, in the social pages of one of the Seattle papers. A picture from some function out there, showing me - my body - in a tux, drinking champagne, talking with an attractive blonde in a red dress. The caption reads "local computer programmer Martin Hartle, 29, discusses the Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Swan Lake with fellow attendee Natalya Tartakovsky, 24, during intermission." It was from the show's premiere September 25th, but didn't make the paper until the 27th, and for some reason wasn't indexed by Google until sometime this week.
I've been sitting at work all day, and haven't done anything with this information yet. Who is Natalya Tartakovsky? Could she have some other connection with Michelle other than just having met her/me at the ballet? Is she well-known/rich/connected enough that who she dates is of interest to the folks in Seattle? Or was it just a nice picture because she's rather nice looking and "Martin" is kind of plain (though I always have looked good in a tux)? Has Michelle always liked ballet, and is this something I could use to find out more about her?
I don't know. And what happens if I find out? Will I want to break them up so Michelle has less reason to keep my body? Heck, what if I find out she's a witch of some sort, like Michelle claims to be?
And, damn it, I'm in a pretty good place with Kurt right now. Not perfect, obviously, but that doesn't mean I want to upset the apple cart, even if by only changing my own outlook.
But I know something now. Which means I have to decide whether or not I want to know more.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Really, I've been sleepwalking all day
Figures. The night I actually expect to get laid, Kurt falls asleep.
(Do girls get laid? I used to say "I got laid" all the time, but if I'm in the girl's role, do I "get laid by" Kurt or does he "get laid by" me, meaning I lay him? Or is getting laid a mutual thing?)
Not that I blame him. If I had actually made it to Seattle, I would have appreciated the 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern time, and don't begrudge the folks on the west coast a good game which starts a decent hour every once in a while. Still, when the game is played slowly and then goes into extra innings, finally ending at 2:45AM with a loss, there's going to be a limit to how frisky we're feeling afterward. And Kurt isn't from around here; he's one of those guys who became a Red Sox fan after going to college in Boston (Worcester, actually) and getting sucked in by the rest of us lunatics. It was an exciting game, but everyone's got limits.
We made a funny sight when his roommate got in at around 1:30 - me on the couch with my legs tucked up under me, Kurt asleep with his head on my lap. The noise of his roommate's key in the door, Kurt shifted so he was face down. Ron said it was good to see us getting on so well.
"Yeah," I said, "I like him."
And I do. It doesn't really come across in this diary, but when I'm with him, I feel this strange combined sense of comfort and adventure. It's like being in love for the first time for a second time, with new sensations and feelings and familiar places and things being infused with a new energy.
Last night, as I ran my hands through his hair, I once again felt bad about lying to him, but instead of wanting to tell him everything, I wanted to really be Michelle, to be this perfect girl for him without holding back. I'd even be able to compete for him with a clear conscience, rather than having the idea that I should step aside for Denise. I wondered if there was anyway to make this switch permanent - or, since Michelle's not exactly trustworthy, to know that it is so I can make plans for this life?
Ah, well. Just take it one day at a time; that's all any of us can do.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Late movies, games...
So, I'm just not sleeping this week.
Monday was just insomnia, and tonight there's a ballgame that starts at ten, but last night was something of a combination of the two. It was Kate's night to choose the movie, and she wanted to see The Other Side Of The Bed. Only hitch, of course, was that it had been playing long enough that it was only starting at 9:25.
Fortunately, it was payday, and my paycheck came with a reminder that the company would reimburse me for $600 in fall clothing if I had the receipts in by the end of next week. Since the movie was going to be at Copley Place, I suggested to Jen & Kate that they help me get that over with. The idea was well-received, and after a quick bite of chinese food in the food court, we got to work.
As much as skirts and dresses still sort of feel like cross-dressing, the bare-legged feeling is nice. Even with pantyhose on, it's not so stuffy as wearing pants on a warm day. Those days are waning, though, so I stocked up on slacks for fall, along with a few longer skirts. It took a lot of trial and error to find tops to go with them, too, since almost everything seemed to make my breasts look huge. "Big" is okay, but the way some of those things stretched made me wonder how I was staying upright when I looked in the mirror. I wound up going for a lot of dark sweaters.
As if the money didn't go fast enough, there were also shoes. Shoe-shopping was actually something of a relief - I'm not turning into a collector or anything, but if I can't wear sneakers, I'm at least glad not to wear sandals-with-heels or other shoes where your foot is exposed any more. Aside from not giving you any protection for when someone steps on your foot, toes look stupid.
(Yes, this last statement may be coming from seventeen years of hairy toes. The sentiment lingers)
The movie was pretty good, for a Spanish musical comedy. I find that having done the whole heterosexual girl thing hasn't dimmed my appreciation for Paz Vega. I'm sure that someday she'll do a movie that gets exported to the US where she doesn't get naked (see also Sex And Lucia and the great silent-movie sequence in Talk To Her), but that will be a decidedly mixed blessing.
I always find myself wondering, when I see an actor or actress I like in a foreign movie, how well they speak English and whether they could be convinced to do something in Hollywood. I feel bad about this, because they probably won't be able to perform as well in a second language, and, besides, other film industries need their charismatic stars. It gives us more variety than if everything was coming out of Hollywood. Still, you don't get the production values of Hollywood anywhere else, as this movie (and other foreign musicals I've seen in the last few years) can attest - they just don't have the resources for a spectacle in the musical numbers, and they look small compared to Chicago or even the animated stuff.
Anyway, we more or less enjoyed the movie, though I took some ribbing about how a good chunk of the movie was devoted to a guy who wouldn't choose one girl over another (with one knowing he had two girlfriends and the other not), and he pretty much came off as a jerk. At least Kurt can say he met "Michelle" and Denise at the same time, giving us an equal claim to him. The "Javier" character - just a jerk, and I'm pretty sure I would have felt that way if I hadn't spent the past two and a half months in Michelle's body.
Also, I never used to notice so many parallels between the movies and my real life. Of course, my real life doesn't much resemble real life, so I suppose it's not too ridiculous.
It was past midnight by the time I got home, and I was still wide awake, so I watched some TV I'd taped earlier. Three things: I miss my TiVo terribly, I liked Gilmore Girls since episode one, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is at least twice as scary for a woman (though last night's at least didn't involve sexual assault).
Oh... And I feel like I should have picked something up at Victoria's Secret, too, since I'll be staying at Kurt's tonight. Big playoff game that won't be over until after the T stops running, and he does have the nice TV. Still, it's a little awkward to plan staying at his apartment, bringing a change of clothing and toothbrush and everything, knowing I'll be sleeping in the same bed and, if the Sox/sex connection holds... I mean, it won't be a spur-of-the-moment thing. I'm doing it because it's what I want to do.
I am going to need so much therapy when I get my own body back...
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Laughing at horror movies
Using the "whatever's playing next" method of choosing what movie you see is dangerous, but sometimes its your only choice. When one of your best friends (or, as far as they know, one of your boyfriend's best friends) is a biomedical physicist at a local hospital, and her boyfriend is an intern there, it's not like they can always leave on time. So, once again, Kurt and I met at The Place and had a few drinks while waiting for Wei and Jim.
We talked about baseball, me arguing that the Sox's first World Series victory since 1918 would be tainted if they won this year, since they couldn't even win their own division, him being wrong. We talked about our weekends, each leaving certain details out. I teased him about the cute new guy who just started at BioSoft that day, saying that I might really notice how cute he is if I didn't get a little more attention. Mostly kidding, and I doubt he could guess I knew about him and Denise, but a little pressure doesn't hurt.
By the time the hospital crowd got to the bar and had a a drink of their own, it was eight, and by the time we reached the theater, the next movie was Cabin Fever.
I am completely incapable of saying whether or not it was a good movie. After a twenty-minute deluge of horror trailers (but no Kill Bill; the best part of seeing a movie the last couple months is the Kill Bill trailer), it started, and you could see this Eli Roth fellow was eager to be the next Sam Raimi, but he didn't have a Bruce Campbell to star in his movie. He also had trouble writing sentences that didn't involve the word "fuck"; the dialogue, as you might imagine, got pretty monotonous.
Eventually, the kids get to the cabin in the woods, and within a minute of getting in the door, the Smug Guy and the Girl With Big Tits are getting it on. And I start laughing.
Now, about half the people in the theater were laughing, in a sort of post-modern way - "appreciating" the conventions of the genre or cliches, whichever you feel they are. And I'm feeling some of that, but also... Well, you know.
Somewhere on the Internet, there's probably a "find your horror movie stock character" page. Are you the Smug Guy, who thinks he knows everything and is dispatched in a bitterly ironic way? The Sweet Virgin, who screams well and maybe shows how tough she really is by the end, which she survives because the moral message of every horror movie since Halloween rewards chastity? The Sacrificial Lamb, who really isn't close to everybody else but whose death is a warning?
Me, I'd always figured I was the Loveable Wiseass. In more recent horror movies, he knows all the horror movie rules, but he generally fights evil with vicious sarcasm, sometimes showing unexpected inner reserves. Survival rate is around 50%. But now, clearly, I don't fit that role any more.
And that's why I was laughing. Once I'd laughed much longer than anyone else, Kurt leaned over and whispered in my ear, asking what was so funny. I guess I'd had a little to drink, because I told him (in pretty much these exact words) that I'd never looked at one of these movies from the Girl With Big Tits's point of view. He didn't know what to say, and I told him to just imagine that you knew the person on screen who most resembles you was going to die, but only after she'd boned one of her co-stars and had to run through the woods bare-breasted? But it was okay, because she was really just someone else's plaything and wasn't smart enough to help the rest survive?
If I'd been born into this body, horror movies would probably really piss me off. But the fact that most of these movies are made by men, who see girls like, well, me, in this way... It's just absurd. How would the typical horror movie screenwriter do things differently if he had to walk in my heels for a while? Would he make sure the Girl With Big Tits was a better character after he switched back, or would he be so bitter that he makes her suffer more?
To be fair, the GWBT was pretty capable in this movie, but the amount of skin shown by the women versus the men... Nutty. I know other people have spotted the gender stereotypes in horror movies before, but only from one perspective.
After the movie got out, Wei asked what was so funny, and maybe I was sobering up or something, but I figured I had probably said too much before.
Kurt, of course, stepped in. "Apparently, Michelle here has never identified with the, um, girl with the, er, pneumatic figure before."
Jim apparently tended to doubt it, but Wei got an impish look in her eyes. "So, what are you trying to tell us? You had some work done?"
"Trust me," I told her, "they're work, as in work to lug around." I probably wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't known Wei for years, and that she wasn't terribly sensitive about her size.
I told Kurt I was feeling pretty silly and had better head home to bed. He looked disappointed, but kissed me and sent me on my way.
Of course, once I got into bed, I couldn't sleep, wondering if maybe Michelle had had some work done. I gave them some squeezing, but how would I know what fake boobs felt like? Every girl I'd ever slept with was (as far as I knew) 100% natural. I didn't feel anything floating around.
Not that it matters. Even if they aren't "real", they're certainly not imaginary.
Monday, September 29, 2003
A new guy started at BioSoft today; I'd almost forgotten about the round of interviews they were conducting when I first landed in Michelle's body. Apparently, the funding for the project he'll be working on doesn't start until October, so that's what the delay in hiring and start date was for. His name is Carter Drummond, and he's got pretty good credentials - degree in computer science, a few years in the Air Force, master's in mathematics - and spent the summer doing contract work before landing this job.
I know this because his supervisor was tied up in traffic, so he spent until about 9:45 in the reception area, talking with me. Or maybe flirting would be a better term.
The weird part is, I think I may have started it. My hair is just now getting to the point where it's brushing the tops of my shoulders, and while it looks nice, it also gets in the way a lot. Fortunately, among Michelle's posessions are some hair clips or barettes or whatever the heck they're called, which keeps stuff out of my eyes and ears and mouth, but which I can't help but be aware of. It's like having someone pulling my hair all day long while I'm trying to work, not enough to hurt, but enough for me to constantly want to reach back and swat her one. It drives me nuts, and I find myself removing it every few minutes in order to adjust it. After about the third time, I looked at Carter's shaved head and said something about remembering why I never let my hair grow out.
He, of course, assured me that I looked nice and he didn't think his haircut would work for me. After another compliment or two I informed him that I had a boyfriend; he said it stood to reason and that he had a lady of his own, which I said also stood to reason. It did, too, since he was a fairly good-looking guy, in a sort of Taye Diggs way - classic features carved out of dark marble, with perfect teeth shining behind his lips (though not in a scary way). He talked about the jazz band he and his Janelle had seen the other night without making me feel ignorant, and was self-confident enough to make jokes at his own expense. I was kind of disappointed when Mr. Kraft finally came in and took him away from me.
The girls asked me about him over lunch, and I told them much the same thing. Kate was like "damn, I had to choose this week to have a first date work out", while Jen was pointing out that this was the perfect opportunity to dump Kurt before I pointed out that he already had a girlfriend. Kate's "fine time to let that stop you" didn't sting much, since I was about to say the same thing.
Not that I would have done anything anyway, even if there were no Janelle or Kurt or Denise. After all, he's a guy, and the whole thing with Kurt is just the result of weird circumstances. It's not something I'd actively seek out on my own.
No matter how cute, funny, nice, or smart the guy is.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
There are a lot of churches in this city.
That's hardly surprising, since the Pilgrims/Puritan were, in a way, religious refugees, and later waves of settlers were strongly Irish Catholic. I just happened to notice it while I was walking around today, and they were all getting in or letting out.
Someone in my situation thinks about the metaphysical a lot. For example, if what Michelle says is true, and she's some sort of witch who was able to swap our bodies (or someone else did it on her behalf as some sort of test), it implies that our souls were somehow exchanged, that our essences were removed from their host bodies and placed in new ones.
The thing is, I've never been a religious man. I'm not anti-religion; despite what you hear on the news, faith and religion have been a positive force in the lives of far more people than they've been a negative. But I've never been comfortable with the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful god observing our lives from outside, judging us by some standard that human nature is designed not to meet, and being cryptic about it. And what does it say about a superintelligent being that it would consign human souls to hell for acting in a way counter to its wishes, despite the fact that we are, by definition, not able to understand the way it thinks and are seldom given anything resembling evidence that it exists? If it were human, it would need counseling.
Anyway, as I've said, my worldview is pretty strongly grounded in what I can see and touch; I didn't even consider magic seriously until after Michelle claimed that was the mechanism at work. So I tended to think of my situation as the result of some strange technology, which somehow copied memories, skills, and personality traits from one brain to another.
The trouble with that theory is that it leaves me being something less than me. On the one hand, I'm off the hook for sleeping with Kurt; the body's just wired to like guys and even if my life experience tells me its wrong, the pheremone receptors and brain chemsitry of this body are as much a part of "me" as my thoughts, which tell me the situation is messed up. But on the other hand, it means I'm not 100% Martin Hartle any more. I may be 95% Marty, but there is that 5% of me that's Michelle Garber.
So what does that make me? Does majority rule, or does this make me some sort of new person, a sort of composite or hybrid? And when we do swap back, would that make me 95% Martin-Hartle-with-some-Michelle-mixed-in, 5% Michelle-Garber-with-some-Marty-mixed-in? Does it mean that Martin, the person I think of myself as being, is dead, as is Michelle, replaced by two people built out of pieces of them?
I don't know. Accepting the paranormal, or spiritual, could make it easier - it could mean that I am objectively me, just undergoing weird experiences. But it seems like a cheat, like saying I'll accept something I previously wouldn't have just because it makes me sleep a little easier at night. And that just doesn't seem right. Even if I have seen things which can't be explained any other way, it just seems wrong for faith to be the easy way out.
So I didn't actually go into one of those churches today. But other than when my father died, I can't think of a time when I've ever wanted to more.