Transplanted Life
Friday, November 28, 2003
Three's company
Okay, I'll admit it, I feel a little slutty after last night. God, the guy was a musician, and there was another girl, and sure, he was a really good guitar player and she was cool, but I can't believe I went there.

I suppose I was kind of impressed by a band in a club playing, along with their originals (which were pretty good), both Beatles and Huey Lewis songs. It's tough enough to look cool singing the Beatles - you usually come off as this fawning nerd who's overlooking three decades of music - but Huey Lewis is pure 80's kitsch now. When the band was between sets, I decided to ask who had gone for those, and they pointed to the guitar player. He was fun to talk to, but by the time the evening was over, there were more girls than there were members of the band.

I probably wouldn't have done the threesome thing if Jill and I hadn't gotten on so well. It was a weird situation; after the band went on for their second set, we finished our drink together, sort of hung around near each other on the dance floor. Girls can dance together, but we didn't do that much; there were enough guys to keep us busy and buy us drinks. When Larry came up after the show like "oh, you're both still here?", he actually looked worried, but Jill looked at me, smiled, then turned back to him and said "yeah, do you have a problem with that?" And I realized that I certainly didn't, because I wanted to keep hanging out with both of them.

The band was checked into a hotel - they're from Portsmouth or thereabouts - and I swear, all three of us giggled as we went into Larry's room. We honestly didn't know how to handle the situation - a threesome is certainly not a situation that came up when I was in college (hard enough to find one woman at and engineerings school!).

We started by Jill and I making out a little, since that seemed to be the best way for neither of us to feel slighted or second-best. I hadn't really forgotten what kissing a girl was like, but this was still different from doing it as a guy. She's not quite as busty as I am, but our boobs sort of collided down there, which made us giggle again. There was also a neat sort of symmetry of caressing her breast while she caressed mine, and Larry was ready in no time. Jill wasn't too picky about condoms, so she rode him while he fingered me sitting on his chest. When it was my turn down there, though, I insisted.

It must have been about one when we started, and I didn't check the clock when we finally collapsed. I do know it was almost eleven o'clock when Larry shook me and Jill awake (because the band was checking out), and neither of us felt like we'd gotten a full night of sleep.

Jill and I had lunch together, because we really felt we'd connected as friends, but it was pretty awkward. I didn't feel bad about what we'd done the previous night, or see her as some kind of rival, but she seemed a little weirded out. She said she'd never made out with a girl before, and I wasn't sure how to answer her question when she asked if I had; this was my first time with a girl as a girl too. And truth be told, I was kind of freaked by the "would she have done that with Martin Hartle?" question.

I don't think I'll be doing a threesome again. It was fun once - a whole lot of fun - but it seems to leave a lot of baggage afterwards, and right now I'm all about no baggage.

Thursday, November 27, 2003
Thanksgiving alone
There's something really peculiar about spending a "family" holiday like Thanksgiving alone. At first, it kind of seems nice - four day weekend, no hassle with travel, or any of that sort of thing. It's Thursday, and if you sleep in until eleven, well, so what? No obligations.

But eventually, you find you can't just treat it like a long weekend. As you walk down the hallways, everything's either unusually silent or loud and boisterous (and smelling like turkey) behind the other doors. Go outside to run some errands, and the streets are, if not even close to deserted, quiet. There may be people in cars traveling to a family get-together, but the sidewalks are pretty clear, and most of the shops and restaurants are closed. Myself, I almost began resenting the quiet - I've got a couple extra days off, but I can't even get a nice meal (one of the things you do today) because there's few places open to eat. I went to a movie earlier, but it was crowded with families, immigrants/foreigners (I hate that word, but I have a hard time coming up with a better one for people who live and work in the US but aren't planning on staying, and "resident alien" sounds even more demeaning) who haven't embraced the Thanksgiving tradition, and other lonely people who have nowhere else to go.

I would have seen a second movie, but I got hit on something like three times today. I suppose there are worse ways to meet people than at an activity you both enjoy, but there was some amount of desperation today. Nothing wrong with trying to hook up because you're feeling lonely, but guys who seem desperate make me nervous. They get a little too intense, and then I just start to notice that most of them are bigger than me. And even if I'm not inclined to see men as predators the way a born woman would, I'm not stupid, either.

But, I am going to go out tonight. Just have to make sure it's casual as opposed to desperate, that's all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Holiday plans
I wonder what Mom's doing for Thanksgiving this year.

We never had a big dinner, even before Dad died, since we were a small family - I'm an only child of only children, and I wasn't born until my mother was in her late thirties and my father was past forty. There are second or third cousins somewhere, I think, but I think I last saw them at my grandmother's funeral when I was about twelve.

We hadn't made any plans, before Michelle took my body. Initially, mom hadn't been sure how she would like Florida, even though she was going to be living near her best friend who had moved there a year earlier. She thought that she might be back north by winter, maybe finding someplace near Boston. By the time I was planning the move to Seattle, though, she was quite happy down there, and we decided we'd worry about the holidays when they were closer.

I hope she's getting together with some of her retired friends who also have children up here where it's already started getting cold. I can't stomach the thought of her flying to Seattle, or Michelle flying down there. It's kind of selfish - if Michelle can somehow impersonate me well enough to let my mother believe she's still got a relationship with her son, then Mom's not being hurt. That's not likely, though, unless Michelle has tried to get closer to mom since I told her about that call to Kurt. Still, she's my mother, right, and should be able to recognize that Michelle's not really her son! No matter that Kurt, Wei, and anyone else that knew me didn't see past Michelle's body - she's family, and should be able to tell. Right?

Still, what's she got to go on? I'm as guilty of not thinking about my folks as anyone my age, and especially since my body was stolen, I've had a tendency to look at things through the prism of me, me, me. I'd looked at calling her every week as something of an obligation, and it's a habit I'd been able to shake all too easily back in July. Given how little contact I have with her on a regular basis, how can I really expect her to notice something's amiss?

And how much thought did I ever give to how this situation was affecting her? If she got sick, would Michelle fly down to be with her? Would Michelle arrange for nurse's visits or other care Mom might need? She's spry for someone approaching 70, but she moved away from New England for a reason.

Gads, that's almost a circumstance where I wouldn't mind being stuck in this body for the rest of my life with no-one knowing who either I or Michelle really is: If something were to happen to Mom and "Martin" was pegged as being a bad son. I think I'd rather live out the rest of my life as Michelle than have people think of something like that whenever they spoke to me.

Of course, then there's the question of Michelle's family. If she has any. It's kind of odd that I haven't heard from anyone in the past few weeks asking if I plan to come back to the northern New Hampshire town on her driver's license, or wherever else her family might live. Nothing. That's not normal, right?

There could be a dozen reasons. Maybe she's an orphan, or maybe she's just estranged. Maybe so estranged that she would do this to actually not be a member of that family any more. Or maybe they know about the switch and are just giving me as wide a berth as possible. Heck, maybe they know and are spending the holiday with her.

And if not, what's she doing? If she's still seeing this Natalya girl, well, I imagine they've been together long enough that she'd go to their house for dinner by now. And if not, then I guess she's in the same boat as me.

Which is not doing anything, really. I was kind of hoping Kate or Jen would invite me along, but their families evidently aren't the type that take in strays for Thanksgiving dinner, and I'm not that close to anyone else I know. I suppose I could call Jen's friend, but that sounds sad and desperate. I'll probably stop by Shaw's tonight, get something frozen I can heat, and then see a movie or two in the afternoon.

Could be worse, I guess. Carter left early so he could fly down to Atlanta and spend it with his ex-girlfriend's family in a last attempt to stay together. That'll be uncomfortable, and I doubt they'll fall back in love or anything like that. Really weird, though, is Dimitri, whom I gather has spent the holiday at his comatose father's bedside for the past few years. I guess it's sweet, but it's also kind of depressing.

Of course, his girlfriend is part of the black-eyeshadow set. She'll probably find that a turn-on.


Monday, November 24, 2003
Miss the Revolution
Jen insisted on seeing The Matrix Revolutions tonight; evidently Carlos had seen it on an IMAX screen in Baltimore while she was doing a press conference on Friday and recommended it hightly. So, Kate and I were brought along to the Aquarium for a 6:40pm show.

Now, Kate had only seen the first on DVD and acknowledged that it might be a big deal on the big screen; I had liked it a lot more but wasn't too impressed with Reloaded. Even so, really, none of us were prepared for the vast amount of sucking that came from #3.

It's not a total loss; the forty-five minutes or so of the attack on Zion is impressive, if not quite in the same league as all hell breaking loose in Attack Of The Clones (which gets bonus points for the sheer variety of mayhem digitally unleashed). I'm not quite the same sort of highly-evolved film snob as Kate; I readily admit to being impressed by new and creative ways of blowing shit up. And - crucially - there was no cutting to Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss during that sequence. They are just godawful; Kate actually laughed out loud during an early scene that was supposed to be showing how they truly loved each other. By the end of the movie, we were constantly leaning over to whisper new mockery to each other.

Jen gave us a look as we got out, commenting that she was glad we at least had some kind of fun. Hey, I told her, sometimes you've just got to enjoy the train wreck.

This, of course, prompted her to get all catty about Dimitri and his barely-legal girlfriend. It seems that underneath Sam's almost-goth exterior is a girl who deeply terrified of flying, but who didn't know it until their flight was in the air. She'd just completely flipped out, locking herself in the restroom until another passenger offered her some sleeping pills. The next night, Sam had actually come to Jen for help stuffing her bra. It was kind of sad, Jen said, because she really did look even more like a kid when she put on a dress to go to the party with Dimitri, but whenever she tried to do something about it herself, her breasts looked square or asymmetrical or the like. Jen figured painting yourself as an outsider means you don't learn certain crucial skills.

("Well, I'll bet Michelle never learned that 'crucial skill' either." I stuck my tongue out at Kate and informed her I was a late bloomer. Hey, I didn't get boobs until I was almost 30)

Mark and his girlfriend were evidently weird too - Jen knew they'd both lived in Washington for a while, but they seemed to meet up with more old friends who "worked for the government" (with no more detail given or offered) that could be reasonably expected.

Strange company we work for, huh?

Yeah, Jen said, but they're good people. Dimitri didn't even complain about having to leave earlier so that he and Sam could take the train.You should find someone like that, she said, putting an ever-so-slight emphasis on the second syllable of "someone"

Hey, you can't say I'm not looking, I told her. She at least had the good grace to laugh at it. But, unless she's less willing to gossip about her friends than other folks, I guess my recent activity will be on the company grapevine. If there is someone at BioSoft who knows who I am, I guess that would be kind of interesting news to them. Who knows, maybe it'd even cause them to tip their hand.


Sunday, November 23, 2003
Ick, potentially
I was out doing some club/bar-hopping last night, looking to maybe talk some sports, have people buy me drinks (I must be honest - they taste a lot better than the ones I buy myself), dance a little, maybe get laid. I was sort of thinking of maybe a college boy - though I would fervently deny it six months ago, they say a man reaches his sexual peak somewhere around the age of 19. Sure, going by my real age, the half-and-seven rule says that's too young, but this body just turned 25, which means anyone old enough to be drinking in one of these places should be fair game.

I was about to leave the first bar, since while nice, it was mostly full of late-twenties/early-thirties professionals. Me, before the exchange, and that's not what I was looking for that night. It is, however, what found me.

Not "me" in a literal, "Michelle in my body" sense, but "me" in terms of a guy I went to school with, in the same program, living on the same floor freshman year. David Eggars wasn't ever really a close friend like Kurt, Wei, Mike, and Donna were, but we'd always been around each other until we graduated and he moved back to Texas. He bought me a drink, the bartender pointed him out, and I decided to join him in the corner.

Obviously, we couldn't reminisce, although I did the next best thing - after nearly slipping up with my name ("I'm Mart...ina. Please, um, call me Tina."), I told him I was a computer programmer, which is true, even if I'm not getting paid to do that right now, and when he asked I told him I'd gone to WPI; I let him assume I was Class of 2002 or something as opposed to our own class. It was kind of neat to talk a little shop, although I'm rusty. He was, too, since apparently he was promoted to some other position; he was actually in Boston on a sales trip.

Around nine o'clock, he offered to take me back to his hotel, and I almost said yes. That was when I remembered that while I wasn't particularly close with him, my friend and ex-roommate Mike was. I didn't see Mike that often because he'd gotten married three years ago and become a father a year after that, but I do remember and email from him in June that mentioned Dave had gotten hitched.

I kind of felt in a bind - he wasn't wearing his ring (but once I thought to look, yeah, I could see a tan line on his finger), so I couldn't exactly say "oh, sorry, but I don't sleep with married men". I suppose it's kind of a silly quibble, considering how rather willing I am to sleep with men at all, and that I've never met Mrs. Eggars, so it's not like betraying a friend. But I don't want to hurt anyone, even a stranger halfway across the country who might never find out about it.

I didn't have much time, so I tried to make it look like I'd just caught sight of his hand, and then noticed that it certainly looked like he wore a ring. To his credit, he didn't try to say he'd just gotten divorced or widowed or that he and his wife had an arrangement, just that he wasn't finding marital bliss as blissful as he'd expected. I told him that I wasn't going to solve that problem, told him to call his wife, and walked out.

I suppose it would make a better story if I said this made me reconsider how I'd been living my (or Michelle's) life the past few weeks, and that I went home and thought about it, but I didn't. I went to a nightclub, listened to a band, and had a great time which ended in the apartment of an earnest-looking MIT student who sort of reminded me of myself (or Kurt, or David) ten years ago. He was good on the dance floor, as well as charming and smart, but once we got to his bedroom, well, I may have been his first, from how he acted. I may have rattled him a little when I asked if he was seeing anyone, but I honestly don't think he'd ever used a condom before. Besides, he had a good answer when I asked ("Three guys for every girl here, and I'm not scheduled for a girlfriend until three weeks before graduation").

And, really, I don't feel bad about either of them. Maybe Dave will think about whether he really wants to be married, and lord knows I would have appreciated hooking up with a slightly older woman with Michelle's body when I was an undergraduate.


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