Saturday, June 26, 2004
Well, Nat has flown back home. Which means, what? My life returns to "normal"? What the heck does that mean? Carter and I have no place to move in to come Thursday, I remember spending four years in science to get a degree in computer science but am waiting tables, I have regular conversations with the FBI but it doesn't seem to bring me or them closer to any answers. I wonder what a normal life will be for me in the future, when all this is settled down. Will I ever wake up in the morning and feel no surprise whatsoever at what I see in the mirror? Will it mean aligning this life somewhat with my previous expectations or accepting that I'm going to be in a lower social status because this body doesn't have a college degree associated with it? Or will the rest of the world change, with this sort of body/mind-exchange becoming common? In that case, will I be looked at as some sort of pioneer or a prototype that's not quite right? Or maybe it'll get suppressed, and I'll have to keep part of my life generally secret to avoid being considered nuts until the day I die.
Ach. For now, may as well just concentrate on the present - going to work, coming home, treating myself to some entertainment as a reward for getting through the day. All I can do, I guess.
Of course, even that's skewed. I love science fiction, but now, well, how do I consider that an escape? Especially certain subjects. The weird thing is that I'm peculiarly drawn to those subjects - a sci-fi story about the transfer of minds between bodies would have interested me before, but now...
I don't think it's stupid to look to fiction for insight, usually - certainly, good fiction writers often seem to have a better handle on human emotions than those trying to document what's real. Not just because they can stack the deck, but they're better communicators, in general. Still, when I get to the parts which must, to the author, be totally speculative, I sometimes find it laughable.
For instance, my local comic shop got a copy of the first volume of a manga called "Your And My Secret", about a teenage boy and girl who switch bodies, in this week. It's not very good. Even though I know about how Japanese is read from right to left, and thus manags are presented in that format, and have in fact read several that way, the panels on the page are not laid out well; word balloons are often far from the speaker, and it's difficult to figure out who's saying what, especially in the early going when you haven't gotten familiar with the characters yet. The art style also doesn't much appeal to me, with the characters appearing sketchy and often not differentiated enough. It takes place in high school, so the characters are all dressed in uniforms, which doesn't help. The backgrounds are either not present or extremely busy, and the characters are often practically crowded out of the picture with too much text and sound effects.
Plus, I just couldn't believe in it. The boy-in-girl's-body was the main character, so they made the girl-in-boy's-body adapt far too easily. And the other characters basically handwaved past nobody realizing something really strange was going on. I at least subconsciously felt something was off when Mikhail was in Carter's body, and if I met anyone who knew Michelle from before last July, I would screw it all up.
Art aside, would I have liked it if this sort of thing hadn't actually happened to me? I don't know. It's funny, though, that having something impossible happen to you doesn't really make you accept the impossible in fiction more easily - quite the opposite. It makes you realize that even the outrageous has a million little details that need to be filled in for it to be believable.
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