Transplanted Life
Friday, December 05, 2003
Well, if we don't get TWO FREAKING FEET OF SNOW
So, Jen's boyfriend Carlos's friend called tonight. He seems like a nice enough guy. The initial contact when you're being set up is kind of weird (Jen's party doesn't count, since he was encased in a costume and didn't talk). You've got one friend in common who assures you that you'll like each other, and maybe you know a little more. I think I wound up asking about how cool it was that Godzilla/Mothra/King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All Out Attack was subtitled as opposed to dubbed at the Boston Fantastic Film Festival in October. I don't think he was as jazzed as I was about it; I guess he just thought Godzilla would be a cool costume, rather than really being much of a G-fan.

It took forever to get around to the recent good news about the Red Sox, because apparently he was all nervous about talking sports with a girl. Which makes me think, geez, did Jen and Carlos tell him anything about me? Even if they don't know the whole deal, you'd think they'd at least say "we meet Michelle for the WWAK every week", or "Michelle's one of the biggest Red Sox fans we know". I think the only thing he knew about me was that I'd been going out with someone who was also seeing another girl and kind of overreacted to it afterward. Which is sort of weird to me; I can understand wanting a two people to get to know each other on their own, but I just think you'd tell him the less personal stuff.

Anyway, we're going to see a movie tomorrow night (apparently he did get that I like movies a lot). Don't know what it'll be; probably "whatever starts next after we get there". That is, if we get there - the weather forecast for Boston is hellacious this weekend.

Thursday, December 04, 2003
Time to start Christmas shopping
I hate living paycheck-to-paycheck. I've never been particularly good with money, but I've only been unsure about how I was going to pay my bills once or twice since graduation. Heck, if I'd known Michelle was going to steal my life, I could have left her with a lot more credit card debt to make undoing the switch more appealing.

Right now, I'm able to budget Michelle's paycheck without much trouble. There's not much left over once rent, utilities, and groceries are out of the way; enough for a couple movies a week. I'm grateful for the clothing stipend and broadband internet that this job offers as perks. I wasn't exactly saving up to make a down payment on a house before, but now, any ideas I might have about flying to Seattle to find my body or hiring a private detective basically become pipe dreams.

The thing is, I like Christmas shopping. I always took a lot of crap from Kurt and my other male friends about it - ironically, they'd call me a big girl, at least until we exchanged gifts a few days before going home to see our own families, at which point I rocked. Where a lot of people I know see drudgery and obligation, I always enjoyed the challenge of getting someone a present they'd like but probably wouldn't have bought themselves. If I had siblings or, better yet, neices and nephews, I would have so much fun...

Anyway, I want to get something nice for Jen and Kate; they can't possibly know how important their friendship was four months ago when I might otherwise have hated everything about this life, or when I might have felt totally alone after Kurt dumped me, or even when I just needed to buy clothes or do something otherwise female-specific. They've sort of been like role models for me. I love them like family, to be honest.

I just have a hard time finding room in the budget for gifts. I don't even know if I'll be getting a Christmas bonus; I figure a company which pays its receptionist $500 every few months for clothes won't be stingy that way, but maybe the thinking is that perks like that are in lieu of cash at the end of the year. I've tried to cut down on what I spend on myself, but that's not doing much.

I'm looking at getting a second job, I guess, although I probably missed the most of the holiday hiring by not realizing this before Thanksgiving. I've picked up a few applications, but sometimes I work fairly late here without warning, so it would just be weekends.

It's also frustrating to not be able to fill out a work history on those applications, either. I can list BioSoft, of course, but the Resume.doc file on this computer is completely corrupted. I've also got no idea what Michelle might have used for user IDs and passwords on or the like. I don't know whether that's deliberate or just bad luck; I suppose I can see Michelle not wanting me to learn too much about her previous life so I can't start poking around in it, see who she knows who could build a brain-swapping machine or who would smell a rat as soon as I opened her mouth. On the other hand, narrow my options too much and who knows what sort of desperate thing I'll do.

Not going to let it get me down, though. I love Christmas and I'm not going to let this spoil it.


Wednesday, December 03, 2003
The kind of girl who...
Still cold. Still don't like it.

After a break to let the students travel home for Thanksgiving last week, the Weekly Wednesday Ass-Kicking was back tonight. Decent attendence; Kurt, Wei, Jim, Denise's little sister and her boyfriend were all in evidence. They sat on the right side and in back when they saw me, Jen, and Carlos on the left side and in front. Okay, I can sort of understand not wanting anything to do with me (even though I figure the only thing I really did wrong, keeping who I really am a secret, is something they couldn't possibly know about), but why take it so far as to sit in crappy seats at the movies?

That's a rule I had as a guy: If you can't sit where you want at the movies, she's still in control of your life. Sort of like "if we can't ______, then the terrorists have already won", only mine predates that and I'm fully aware of its pettiness. But there's a certain amount of truth to it, I think - you can't let a breakup dictate how you're going to live your life.

Anyway, I'm glad they all came. This series must run on the ragged edge of existence, considering the size of some of its audiences (Kate, Jen and I were 60% of the audience at Jen's first Ass-Kicking), so I'd hate to be responsible for driving any part of that audience away. Besides, it looks like this theater is going to be turned into a Staples sometime around March, so I want it to be healthy enough to find a new home.

The movie itself (Peacock King) was bizarre - we are talking martial-arts horror that includes stop-motion monsters here, with generous gore. And the slowest giant evil monster in movie history. Kate wouldn't talk to me any more if she saw me enjoying this movie.

We stopped in Great Scott for a drink after, and Jen and I talked a bit while Carlos drained his large $5 soda. She gasped when I told her about what happened this weekend. "Must have put you right off men; I know it would for me."

My response was, basically, "I wish!" I told her I was already climbing the walls because I didn't trust myself to not do something stupid if I went out dancing and got a couple drinks in me, but had gotten out of the habit of staying home alone and watching TV. She said it sounded like I just wasn't any good at being alone, and I said I guessed not. She asked why I didn't call Paul (Carlos's old partner), and I told her I didn't want to be the kind of girl who couldn't handle not having a man in her life.

"Oh, so it's going to be 'the kind of girl' now. Just remember, you could also be 'the kind of girl who lets a good thing pass her by'. Then there's 'the kind of girl who doesn't like cops'..."

I told her I had no problem with cops; she then said we were down to "the kind of girl who doesn't call guys first". That's when Carlos came back out, and Jen told him everything, and somehow it led up to Carlos having my phone number and saying he'd give it to Paul the next time they saw each other.

Then I went home after one drink, not because I didn't trust myself, but, hey, friggin cold and not warming up.


Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Winter begins, and it sucks
This morning's snow was just the smallest sample, I realize, but I get the feeling that I'm going to hate winter if I have to spend all of it stuck in Michelle's body.

It won't necessarily be the cold - women actually can handle that better than men. One's heart doesn't have to work so hard to circulate warm blood around a smaller body, and though hair length isn't really a sex thing, I have to say I liked having it cover my ears while waiting for the T. And you know how those percent-body-fat charts that the government puts out says that a healthy woman will have a greater proportion of their body bass be fatty tissue than a healthy man? Sure, a good chunk of that is in the breasts (more for some of us than others), but the rest is insulation. The cold still sucks, but it's incrementally more bearable.

But, man, the wind! Even in my new winter coat, I feel like I'm light enough to be picked up and blown away. The shoes I wore didn't help; despite a big, chunky heel (basically an inch-and-a-half cube of rubber at the back of each foot), I still felt like I had only the slightest toe-hold on the ground, especially if the wind was behind me. And my purse! I'd left the zipper undone, and the thing was almost whipped away from me; I guess a wallet, magzine, lipstick and tampons aren't enough to keep it weighted down. No wonder women always seemed to keep so much extra shit in there.

I also swear I could feel the salt on the sidewalk eating away at my pants. They use some real industrial-strength salt on Boston's sidewalks (it's not uncommon to look down and see a pellet with a circle of clear space around it, like it's melting snow and ice just by being near it), and these thin, butt-hugging pants just seem like they wouldn't be as strong as men's denim or khakis.

I could be worse, though - at least the T was running on time, for the most part. Apparently, traffic was awful outside the city; Lizzy didn't get to work until almost noon, for instance, and even before her, people were just trickling in.

Actually, I'll be honest - I hate winter, period. Being in Michelle's body just means that the ways it's a pain in the ass are new and different.


Monday, December 01, 2003
So, I guess the thing to do is get a blood test. Considering how regular Michelle's periods have been since I woke up in her body, I should know pretty quick whether or not "we" are pregnant (those little red pills start this weekend), which leaves disease to worry about. Not that I could have caught anything worse than a cold Saturday night. Despite not knowing the mechanics of how my memories and personality wound up in Michelle's brainpan, I'm not so ignorant of biology that I think you can catch HIV from a doorknob.

But the fact remains, I've probably had more sex with different partners, about whom I knew relatively little, over the last few weeks than in any other month in my life. Another fact is that the organs involved are designed to move tiny swimming things from a man's body to a woman's, and I'm definitely on the pointier end of the vector now, so to speak.

Sometimes a scare is good for a person. I guess I knew that "multiple orgasms for no commitment" was too good a deal not to have strings attached, I wasn't worried about the consequences until I saw them up close and personal. Part of it was just being down and lonely when it started, and part of it was being used to the lesser risk a man takes in an anonymous assignation.

But a big part was that I didn't look at it as a risk to me. I may talk about shaving my legs, cutting my hair, or guys looking at my boobs, and I may not bat an eye when I see any of them in the mirror, and I may finally be co-ordinated to the point where I can run in high heels without looking like a fool or breaking my neck, even if stairs are involved, but when it comes right down to it, I still think of there being a point where "me" stops and this body begins.

I'm only inhabiting or controlling this body, I think, and by now I may know it as well as a homeowner knows his house and I may control it as well as a car-lover steers her automobile. But as much as those people may feel like their house or their car is an extension of themselves, they also know that if their car is wrecked or their house burns down, those things can be replaced. I think that, on a subconscious level, I feel the same way about Michelle's body - that if it gets damaged, I can somehow go back into my own body, or some third one. Evidence supporting that feeling: Nil; it's just that once I got used to the idea of my "self" not having to be tied to one specific body, I don't feel as attached. I expect that when I get my own body back, it will be less central to my identity than it was before.

Permanence is just harder to feel on your second of anything. No house has ever felt quite so much like home as the one I lived in until I was fourteen; I've only rarely seen the future with a woman quite so clearly as I did my first girlfriend; I still haven't had another dog since Moe. But you've got to make allowances for it, and looking back on the past month, I don't think I've necessarily done a very good job of it.


Sunday, November 30, 2003
Reality smack me upside da head
Went out again tonight... Well, last night now, I guess. Had a pretty good time; the college kids who had gone home for Thanksgiving were filtering back, all full of homemade food and wanting to get back to enjoying the city. I didn't dance a whole lot, though - guys really seemed to want to buy me drinks. It was okay; my legs were tired from doing what little Christmas shopping I'm planning to do this year (just Kate and Jen, really) during the early-morning sales and walking all over town all day when that was a bust. Folks seemed to want to talk tonight, and I was kind of open to it.

The last guy was really cool. At one point, he started talking about Scrooge McDuck, like in The Last Days Of Disco, but was man enough to admit he had picked that bit up when I told him I'd seen The Last Days Of Disco. But I did go along with it when he asked me to say I thought Scrooge McDuck was sexy. When we did dance, it was really erotic, lots of touching and get-a-room moves. I felt his erection when he pulled me close, but he wasn't embarrassed, and I suggested we go to his place a second before he did. It was an easy walk.

Because of all the drinks, though, I really needed to piss when we got there, otherwise, well, who knew what would happen? Oops, "pee". Women say "pee" instead of "piss"; it's like referring to their hooters as "boobs" instead of "tits". Anyway, I had a real good tension-draining number one. I wiped up, and then reached into my purse for some perfume to spray in the areas that get a little smelly after a night on the dance floor and by the bar. That's when I got myself a paper cut from some guy's number I'd written down earlier.

No big deal; I didn't have any band-aids, but figured this guy probably would. I opened the medicine cabinet, and that's when I saw the perscriptions medicines.

Antibiotics. Prednisone. Fuzeon. Nevirapine. AZT. Now, you see the first two for everything, and I remember hearing the third and fourth around the office - Jen's testing program had been used for one of them, I think - without knowing what they were for. But even I know AZT; everyone has heard of that one.

And I had an open cut on my finger.

I ripped off part of my top to wrap around the finger, and decided just to walk out. Before I got to the door, though, this guy caught up with me, asking where I was going. I took a deep breath, told him I'd been in his medicine cabinet for a band-aid, and was obviously not going through with it after seeing what was in there. I should have left it at that, but I was pissed. When he actually said he'd seen me before, heard me give different names to different people, so it wasn't like I was being clean with him, I actually felt every bit of alcohol leave my body. Through gritted teeth, I told him that yes, I role-played a little in the clubs - that my entire fucking life was role-playing - but even if I wasn't up front about who I was, I made sure I was very clear that I was looking for safe, let me repeat that, safe sex with no plans for lasting relationships or later consequences, whether they be emotional or physical. I never lied or omitted anything that could get anybody hurt, and that he had promised to wear a condom wasn't enough reassurance for me.

We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity before he called me a bitch and went back to his bedroom. I walked out in a calm, dignified manner and didn't throw up until I reached the sidewalk.

The same dangers are out there for men, of course. I was probably no more stupid now than I was for picking up girls when I was Michelle's age, except for the being older and supposedly wiser part. Still, I feel like I'd not only just dodged a bullet, but after doing so had suddenly realized I was dodging bullets in a minefield.

When I got home, I googled those drug names, just to make sure. Yeah, they're AIDS stuff. Shit. I'm also checking to see if Massachusetts has a law about not informing sexual partners that you're HIV-positive, but looking up the law is tough for lawyers, let alone us guys who sucked at Social Studies.

Doesn't matter. Even if I've got no grounds to report this guy to the cops, the important thing for me is deciding how to live my life.


EDIT: I just noticed the piece of paper I got the paper cut on was Jen's boyfriend's friend's number. Coincidence or sign?

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Note: This blog is a work of fantasy; all characters are either ficticious or used ficticiously. The author may be contacted at