Transplanted Life
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Monkey War 2
Yep, that's the name of the movie we saw last night. I have a feeling that I'm a bad influence on the otherwise intelligent people at BioSoft. Before me, none of them knew about the weekly dose of strange Hong Kong cinema that played right in their backyards, but we were a mini-crowd of our own last night. A party of eleven isn't bad at this thing (it's twice the total crowd of some I've gone to).

(I suppose I should comment on the main character's tendency to take the forms of varioius women he meets, but I won't beyond noting that he does. Enjoy any irony you find in it)

There was me, of course, and Jen & Carlos, and Carter. Lizzie and her husband showed up, but I don't seem them coming back. Mark and his girlfriend, maybe, especially after I told them it looks like this was another kids' movie, but the good stuff with well-choreographed punching and kicking would be on tonight. Dimitri and Sam looked like they weren't having a good time at all. Maureen, I don't know. I think she was just trying to suck up... Well, maybe that's harsh, but ingratiate herself with the other folks at work. We wound up in the restroom together after the movie, and she asked if I was into the whole kung fu and sci-fi thing before I started to work there. I said I was, big time, and she looked kind of relieved. "I've never really spent much time with these science and computer types, so I'm just absolutely lost half the time. Even when they're not talking about work, it's like a foreign language to me."

I sort of just grunted because, truth be told, I hadn't gone in there to chat, but to empty my bladder. She picked up right where she left off after nature's call had been answered, though, even when we joined the group, and she said hanging out with the geeks wasn't so bad. That sort of quieted everyone down, leaving her like "what, weren't you calling yourself geeks and dorks and nerds earlier?"

Mark's girlfriend put it succinctly, that it was kind of like the n-word - then, realizing Carter was in the group, quickly adding that obviously it wasn't as severe, not even close, and really she feels like such an ass for even making the comparison. Carter stopped her before she died of embarassment, saying that it wasn't a bad analogy - sometimes okay from inside the circle, seldom from outside, and even inside there were folks who didn't like it. "But, yeah, not as big a lightning rod."

That wasn't the biggest scene, though - we were just getting to the cars when Sam tripped after her heel got caught in a sewer grate, and she just threw a fit about how she hated being short, and wished she had somewhere else to go other than Dimitri's place, and when he held her hand and told her it would be all right, she whimpered something about wanting to go home. Threw in some Russian swearwords she must have picked up from Dimitri, too, before they got in his car and drove off.

Carter and I got rides home from Jen & Carlos; it would have been awkward sitting in the back seat with him if I lived more than five minutes away and Jen didn't have the Sam-and-Dimitri show to gossip about. Said it must really suck to date Dimitri, because even as much as she'd freaked at flying and been kind of uncomfortable back when they took that trip in November, she'd been tough about it. I had to agree; I'd only met her a few times, but she didn't seem the crying type. Carter pointed out that she was just a kid, and that could change from day to day. Carlos remembered that we had theorized on her being a runaway at some point, and wondered if maybe she wasn't just looking for a reason to go home.

I worried about her as I tried to fall asleep last night. I'm surviving being cut off from my life, even doing a little better than getting by. I try to compare Sam and the guy in my original body, assuming we're right about Sam having been a runaway. The idea that both of them were apparently so dissatisfied with their lives that they chose to leave them behind... I can't really imagine that. My life's never been perfect, but there's been no appeal to the clean break with it at all.

Friday, January 09, 2004
End O The Week
Well, everyone's back from vacation and nothing seems too strange at the office. By which I mean, I didn't catch anyone acting like They Knew, or acting in a way other than how they had always acted. In some ways, it's almost like that thing in the ladies' room never happened. Sure, two and a half weeks isn't forever, and maybe this Shelley is just trying to make me sweat, to make sure she's got the upper hand next time we meet. It's not the worst plan ever; I've been more or less stymied in any attempt to narrow down the list of the several hundred thousand women in the Boston area I'm dealing with. And what do I tell her if we do meet up again? I just don't know.

In the meantime, I just live Michelle's life. There are some times when I feel guilty about times like right now, where I'm doing some small web searches, but mostly just killing time between a workday which an outside observer would find utterly normal and something purely social. I justify it to myself by remembering the folks I've known since college who have just burned themselves out by being too focused, or who got so obsessed that they couldn't see obvious things. But it's tough; I keep thinking that these are precious seconds that could be used trying to research any links members of Nataliya Tartakovsky's family might have to biotech companies.

In the meantime, a bunch of us are going to the Midnight movie at Coolidge tonight. I reminded Jen about it at lunch, she saw fit to remind Carter as we were getting back to the office, and then a bunch of people overheard it. I think Erik, Dimitri, Mark, Marcello, heck, practically every male employee under the age of 35 thought it sounded like a blast, and even Lizzie left a message on her husband's voice-mail to see if he wanted to come into town and maybe meet up with us there. I had to kind of laugh, because it's basically the same program that only five or six people would come to when it was in Allston, but the Coolidge Corner Theater is something of a brand name in Boston. I guess the midnight time is also sort of more appropriate, with a lot of people thinking they might want a few drinks in them before sitting down for what is being advertised as "possibly the greatest Monkey King movie ever".

I groaned a little inside when Maureen said she and some of her friends might come, but it's hardly the end of the world. She's backed off the attitude in the last week, especially after I've occasionally "translated" from technical to English for her. Not that she's been outright nice to me or anything, but she's at least smart enough to see I've got experience with this group of people she lacks. Who knows, maybe in a couple months' time she'll be friendly to the point where the only thing she does to rub me the wrong way is pretend she didn't act the bitch when we first met.

Thursday, January 08, 2004
Cold enough to miss facial hair
And I don't say that lightly. Hair on one's face is a pain in the neck. As annoying and time-consuming as shaving one's legs and armpits is, one can cover up a nick or a cut with just about any pair of pants in one's closet. Not so with the face - there, any stupid thing you did was on display for the entire world to see. And you almost had to shave, because the period between being clean-shaven and having a full beard or even just a mustache is just embarassing. You look like you either forgot to shave or like you don't have enough testosterone to actually grow a beard. Though, maybe if I'd been able to grow hair as quickly as Michelle's body does...

Still, I did occasionally grow a beard during the winter, especially if I was going to be outside for more than enough time to get to the T and back on an average day. Just don't shave Friday and hope for the best by Monday. It was nice on days as cold as it's been here this week, after that freak snow squall on Tuesday. It's not that girls have no recourse for sub-zero wind chills - indeed, in some ways the options are better. Hair long enough to cover the ears, and you can wear a scarf over the area that a beard and mustache would otherwise cover without people making "bandito" jokes of some sort. In fact, you can put pretty much anything on your head. Hats that make guys look like dorks are just accepted on girls. They may even be cute. It's just that natural face fur can be pretty darn effective.

Monday, January 05, 2004
I was useless today at work. Just absolutely useless; I don't think I got a wink of sleep last night.

The first nightmare was something I can't really describe. Something about the end of the world, and how causing it was such an easy thing to do, and how just understanding the mechanics of it made it seem tempting. It was out-and-out weird, and though I can't remember why, the very fact that I was waking up at two in the morning seemed to reinforce it somehow. Weird.

Then, when I finally stopped having that dream, I drop into this super-weird one where I'm on a date with myself. And the weird thing is, I'm really trying to impress the male me. It's like it's the most important blind date of my life. And even though I'm not really thinking of it within the dream, the guy I'm going out with isn't the person who stole my body. It's me, like me from a parallel universe where all this never happened, or if my mind was put back in there with the memories of being a girl erased, or some fantasy recreation of what I was like as a guy. At first it was awkward, but we wound up having this conversation of how blind dates made us nervous, but for different reasons.

And, the thing that got me was, "he" kept acting like he was superior to me somehow. Or, not superior... I wish I remembered my dreams better... Like he couldn't understand me. Like there were a bunch of little things that made us incompatible.

For instance, he was really into the meal. I never realized just how much I used to think about eating. I was a fat kid, and even after I got past that, I tended to really give a lot of attention to what I ate, and when I did have a good, big meal, I savored it. It was not quite an event, but something I really enjoyed. The other me was going on about it, and I understood the words and stuff all right, but I just didn't find it as big a deal as he did. In kind of the same way, he wasn't as detail-oriented on some things as I was. I wanted to buy tickets for the next showing of a movie because it just meant waiting twenty minutes more for a much better theater. That sort of thing.

It's not that I didn't like the old me, I did. And it wasn't a chilly date or anything, much the contrary - it was like hanging out with an old friend. Aha, that's what it was like - like remembering someone of the opposite sex from high school or college or something, and remembering how cool they were, and wondering why you never went out. And you just don't have that kind of chemistry. But it was, of course, more than that - I woke up wondering if I just wasn't that guy any more, and couldn't get back to sleep after that. I mean, who could?

Sunday, January 04, 2004
Grocery shopping
It's funny, while I was stocking up on consumables today, I found myself giving what I bought an awful lot more consideration than I ever did in my own body. Well, maybe not more than I ever did, but certainly more than I did on average. And it's not in terms of "I don't know this body's medical history" - after almost six months, I at least have some idea what's not going to sit well. Damn, I miss peanut butter cups.

No, I was actually thinking "should I really buy that meat? It's got one of those 'we need to sell it by Tuesday' coupons, and that's on top of it being red meat." Because, after all, it looks like I'm stuck with this body now, so I should take care of it, right?

I actually started laughing right in the middle of the supermarket at that. I mean, really, it's not like there's anything untrue about it being a good idea to take care of the body you've got, ever. I just had a sudden moment where I saw the illogic of having that idea hit home for me because it looks like I'm "stuck" in my second body. For crying out loud, for approximately six billion people, the idea that they'll have the body they're in for the rest of their life is a given, but that doesn't necessarily motivate them to take care of it. And me, I'm one of what must be a pretty small group that knows a mind can be stuck into another body - even if you consider the hundred or so people who read this, that's not a lot of people. Why not live it up, especially if I think I'm getting closer to figuring out who has access to the body-switching tech? Is it just because someone told me I was stuck in this body, someone I imagine would be in some kind of position of authority?

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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