Transplanted Life
Saturday, November 15, 2003
I feel so lazy
The audience reading this for entertainment is going to look at the lack of an entry yesterday and say "oh, look, Michelle must have gone clubbing and gotten laid again last night!" (For some reason, a lot of the people who send e-mail address me as Michelle. Never mind that I've never referred to myself by that name, except in quotation marks to indicate that that's how some other person thinks of me) The truth is, though, I just didn't do anything which interested me enough to commit to some hard drive somewhere.

Like, yesterday? Got up. Worked. Went to a movie. Got home, finished the latest issue of Analog, falling asleep on top of it because "Brass Tacks" just didn't interest me much this month. Today? Cleaned the apartment, watched some TV I'd taped during the week, and fruitlessly searched for more useful information on Michelle Garber pre-July, Martin Hartle post-July, Natalya Tarakovsky, soul transferrance, you name it. Didn't go out clubbing or anything like that, not because I've decided I want to live my/Michelle's life another way, but because it's just too darn cold out and Michelle didn't supply me with a heavy winter coat.

I suppose I could have written about how odd it is that I can just have a mundane, uneventful day in Michelle's body, how even an uneventful day will inevitably involve shaving her legs or carrying a purse or having some young man open a door in an attempt to curry favor, but I've done it before, and to be honest, I'm so past being unnerved by that stuff as to be beyond surprise at being beyond surprise. It'll be four months sometime next week, which in one sense seems like too little to become as acclimated as I am (did I really go from practically not being able to shower because I didn't want to touch this body to actually seeking out sex with men in such a short time?), but is also 1% of my life. Sure, 1% doesn't seem like much, but it is a noticeable fraction. It's about as much of my life as my relationship with Maggie is, for instance. or how long I worked on my MQP at WPI. It's big enough to rate a chapter in any biography of me, even if it weren't so important as to be, well, defining.

But, anyway, nothing of particular interest happened the past couple days.

Thursday, November 13, 2003
Gave the "not just sex" thing a shot
Don't know as it's for me, at least as long as I'm in this body. Not that I've got a lot to judge by, of course.

It started, as most Wednesday nights should, with a trip to the Allston Cinema for some bad kung fu. Jen & Carlos met me there, this being the first time her boyfriend has come along for the Ass-Kicking. The movie itself was... well, dreadful in every way except for the fight choreography. What was even funnier was that it was set in San Francisco, and even filmed there, but apparently even the Americans couldn't speak English.

At the bar afterward, I advanced the theory that even the black and white people in this movie were actually Chinese guys who has been somehow transformed into other people or had their brains swapped, which made Jen and Carlos and Hamish laugh. "Under normal circumstances," Hamish said, "I'd say that's impossible, but after seeing that..."

(Hamish had joined us when noticing that Jen & Carlos were doing the couple thing where a third person starts getting ignored, and that the third person was built like... Well, like Michelle Garber. He'd been one of the other ten people at this woefully-underattended screening of Dragon Fight.)

After a while, Jen and Carlos had to go home, but Hamish and I hung around. His Scots accent never got nearly incomprehensible, so I guess he has a pretty good tolerance for alcohol. Sometime around eleven-thirty, he said he probably should go home, but I suggested that my place was only a short walk.

He wasn't the champion sexual athlete that Steve was, but he did all right. Steve and Kurt had both spent a lot of time on my breasts, and that's understandable - they are sort of the feature attraction - but Hamish almost completely worked around them until the suspense was killing me. Really, a bit too long, like he was trying to prove how not-shallow he was, but I'm not sure you should be trying to prove something in the sack - just do the stuff, you know?

When I woke up in the morning, I was kind of disturbed by his presense. Not shocked, like I'd blotted the night before out. I wasn't disgusted by him as a man or individual. Nor is it some self-esteem thing, where I can't believe someone would avoid bolting as soon as possible. More that I realized I'd brought him to my place without knowing much more than that we liked the same kind of bad movies. I'd been pretty careful Friday to make sure we spent the night not-at-my-place, so that I could just vanish, not having to worry about someone getting attached. And there's a safety thing; even Hamish has a few inches and thirty pounds on me. If I misjudge and pick up a psycho (and I doubt I inherited any sort of woman's intuition), I don't want him finding me, especially if he reads this and feels like he's done something distasteful.

But, there I am, stuck with Hamish knowing "my" name, address, and birthmarks. I get showered and dressed, then poke him, telling him I've got to head for work. He doesn't quite get the hint of me trying to push him out the door, and asks what I'm up to tonight.

I waver. I've got what I feel are perfectly good reasons for not getting attached right now, but two one-night stands in one week is unusual for me even under the best of circumstances. Besides, he seems like a nice guy, and at this point I'm not sure which is the bigger departure for me - the dating men or being promiscuous in general. I say, sure, I'll meet up with him after work.

Long story short, it's not fun. We meet some of his other grad-school friends, and they're all talking geeky stuff that I'm relatively conversant in and I actually enjoy talking about, but...

It's the way Hamish acts. When he's talking, it's never about something that I've said. And from the way everyone's wink-wink-nudge-nudge-saynomore-ing, it's pretty clear he told them what we'd done last night, and is doing nothing but showing me off.

After about an hour, I decide I've got to get into work early and take my leave. Hamish follows me to the door, asking if I'm free any time this weekend. I tell him that I had fun last night, and I'm not ashamed by the sex at all, or even really by the showing me off, but be straightforward about it - don't bring me into a social situation and treat me like an ornament. It's just a waste of my time that could be used for something better.

He, of course, says I've got some ego to think he was showing me off, but that's to be expected. I let it go, but he starts acting like we've got some kind of obligation, and I just walk to the subway.

What it comes down to, right now, is this - I like sex, more than I expected. Maybe it's because, even though guys and girls get the same lectures in health class, women also grow up with the message that sex has more consequences, and it's something they "give up". Not to say guys see sex as something to be taken - there are a lot of men with that attitude, but most learn better - just that the world gives guys more of an "enjoy the orgasm for what it is" message than it does girls. And right now, I'm still enjoying the orgasm, especially in the plural. I'm not comfortable enough with the social aspects to enjoy the games that go on around it, and I don't think that makes me any of the things Hamish called me. It just means I like sex but don't want to get attached, and I'll have to remember to be clearer on that if the opportunity arises again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Maybe I'm just paranoid
I think Michelle is selling my things.

She's being clever, so as not to send me into a real panic. She hasn't posted on ebay as Martin Hartle and started dumping my comics. That would be a big-time signal to me that I'm never getting my body back, and it seems that, for whatever reason, she doesn't want me sure yet. Maybe she's not sure herself. But I digress.

Last night, I found about 20 or so auctions in ebay's "Vintage Video Games" section, from a seller in the Pacific Northwest that pretty closely matches the Atari 7800 and games I bought three years ago in a fit of wanting better Ms. Pac-Man than the emulated version I had on the Dreamcast as part of the Maze Madness game. It may just be a coincidence - they're pretty common games, most in stock at O'Shea's; I imagine a lot of people have similar collections. And it's not like my Sega stuff is for sale alongside it, so it could just be me worrying over nothing. The seller has a long history, so it's unlikely to be Michelle under an alias.

More likely, she's had a yard sale, taken the comics/books/CDs to places who deal in used stuff, and some of the things are entering the marketplace again. Say a collector bought the 7800 as a lot because they wanted my copy of Ninja Golf, and then started selling off the pieces they already had. Her neighbors in this scenario probably find it odd that "Martin" does this after hauling all that stuff cross-country, but it's not something anybody would call the FBI over.

If this is what's happened, though, I have to say that I may resent it almost as much as the stolen body, in a way. The switch just seems so potentially dangerous, outlandish and traumatic (at least on this end) that is seems unlikely someone would do it on a whim - you'd need a darn good reason (or at least one that sounds good). Just selling off the things I've collected or was otherwise fond of - that I'd felt were worth keeping - strikes me as just mean and petty. If you're going to take my body, my name, my life away from me, what's the harm in sending me my toys? I'd say it's the least Michelle could do, except that there's obviously a way to do less.

Or I could just be seeing things that aren't happening. Michelle getting rid of my property is hardly the only explanation for someone on the other side of the country selling a twenty year old gaming rig.

Monday, November 10, 2003
Not really a late night
Not much going on in the nightclub area on a Monday night. It wasn't dead, but it's kind of a more sedate crowd. You've got your college students who clearly don't have enough extracurriculars, people who are really serious about their dancing and debauchery, the idle rich, Type As who have just gotten off a twelve-hour workday and just don't know how to shut down. You've probably also got more drugs than I like to think about going around, but I've always been good at avoiding that. Or lucky.

I hung around downtown, poking around in book and record stores until the clubs started opening up. Went into Macy's and bought some new underwear, figuring that if I'm going to be doing this party girl thing, I'd better have more than one pair I can wear with low-riding pants. And I think I may do the party-girl thing for a while.

It's not the sex (not to sell Friday night short) - I got home tonight without really feeling any need to do that. It's more that I really enjoy the anonymity, in a way. I don't have to worry about being Michelle for someone else, and I can put my issues on hold. I'm still myself - just a younger, attractive, female myself. I can enjoy the sensual aspects of my situation without too much agonizing over the philosophical. That's there when I get home, and to be honest, I feel kind of recharged for it. It's a paradox, but spending a few hours shaking Michelle's ass, letting people buy me drinks, and the rest gives me a sort of perspective. I feel closer to Michelle, in a way, but not in a sympathetic way. I'm doing searches in another window, and I feel like a predator stalking prey. I feel like I know my target better, that I'm making intuitive leaps I couldn't make a week ago. Some combination of getting more into a woman's mindset, being more observant of how people interact in general, and just trying to find order in chaos.

I don't know if this state of mind will actually turn anything up, but I feel like I'm on to something.

Sunday, November 09, 2003
From yesterday's comments:

You finally took the first step toward true bimbohood. You went out and fucked some stranger, and didn't even care.
Apparently, one night of anonymous sex puts you on the road to being some sort of slut. Maybe I should have mentioned that Steve wasn't the first guy to ask me to go to his place Friday night, but you know what? It doesn't matter.

I'm not going to have a relationship now. I don't know enough about whether one can have a future. And even if I knew what would be going on in my life two months ago, I'm not sure I'm up to it on a day-to-day level. Yesterday, I wanted to look Steve's address up, maybe get a phone number, call him back. I was all, hey, play the hand you're dealt, and if you suddenly find yourself back in your own body, well, having your heart broken is possible in any relationship. Today, the idea of being romantic with another guy seems kind of, well, gross. I don't know whether it's hormones or just how connected I feel to my previous life an given day or what, but I can't honestly be expected to sustain anything really girl-specific for long.

And the relationship with Kurt wasn't easy. I hated lying to him, and even on the days when I was really feeling it, I always worried about how he would react if he found out everything. And even if it wouldn't be quite as personal with anyone else, that will still a factor. I don't want to put myself through that again.

But I do like the sex as a physical activity. And it does help me feel less alone. So maybe the way I chose to get it Friday night has a lot in common with how some bimbo acts. But my reasons are different, and that's got to count for something.

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