Transplanted Life
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Well, at least Doug's got a really nice computer. He's snoring away in the bedroom, which I guess is better than him puking away in just about any other room. I don't know if it's something he ate at dinner, or some virus, or what, but he got really sick during the movie - I mean, bolting out of the auditorium like a bat out of hell. Of course, I had to follow him, because when your date does that, checking to see what's wrong is just good girlfriend (or boyfriend, for that matter) behavior. I almost followed him into the men's room, which is something I haven't done for months, but instead just waited outside.

When he came out, though, he looked pretty miserable, worse than can be explained by getting motion sickness from the really annoying shaky-cam way the action scenes in The Bourne Supremacy are shot (sidenote: just show me what's happening!). I asked if he smelled anything funny, and when he said no, he didn't share my relief that at least no-one was trying to seduce him. So we went home.

Truth be told, I'd kind of like to just split myself - who wants to be stuck in an apartment breathing the same air as a sick person? I was IM-ing with Maggie a few minutes ago, before her boyfriend picked her up to see a midnight movie, and she said it would be really bad form for me to just go home. Men expect women to be less squeamish around illness, and I guess that's true when I give it some thought, but I think I'm still carrying some male attitudes around where germs are concerned.

It's funny, because the caricature of guys as slobs who don't think much about the gross stuff around them doesn't come from nowhere. Once they're actually hit with a bug, though, it's whining time. I was working on a theory that guys don't worry about bugs that are on things, whereas bugs that are in people freak them out, but it's not quite right. Still, I find that my reaction to seeing Doug with watery eyes and a slight green color is not "nurture" but "avoid".

I'm okay with that, though. Just because it's a personality trait normally associated with men doesn't mean I want to eradicate it; it's part of what makes me individual.

Still, even though Doug knows everything, he's still going to be expecting some sort of herbal tea or knowledge of how to make a sick guy feel less miserable tomorrow morning, and I don't know as that would be an opportune time to push "hey, isn't my not necessarily thinking like a girl part of what makes me cool and why you love me?" at all.

Friday, August 06, 2004
Minor changes
Not that anyone will probably notice them, but all the "Backstory" stuff has been moved from Comcast to Verizon, and there's a new email address. Nice to do a little computer work, although really we're basically talking about trying to do an end-run around Verizon's attempt to "help" you by making everything "user-friendly" when all you want to do is just upload a couple of freakin' files.

Working Friday night is sort of a bummer; Doug works a bunch of hours during the week, so if we go out after he gets out of work on Friday, he's ready, but if I'm working until ten, then he sort of goes home and relaxes, and just doesn't feel like going out after I get finished. Not that I blame him; I remember having dot-com jobs like that.

I applied to a few more jobs today. I seem to do that in bursts, distributing a bunch of resumés and then sort of letting them sit for a week or two. I'm trying to tilt them toward jobs looking for skills with Microsoft Access, since that would likely involve some Visual Basic for Applications work. No VBA on my "Michelle" resumé, but it's the sort of thing that people might believe I've been working on on my own.

The name change thing makes the resumé tricky, though. I can only imagine the HR people checking my references - who are, aside from BioSoft, people I've never met - looking at a piece of paper that says "Martina Hart" and having to remind themselves to ask about "Michelle Garber". I've contemplated quietly using a "Martin Hartle" resumé and telling anyone who asks that I've undergone sex-change surgery. I might even be able to pull it off in another city, but I'd probably run into someone here who worked with Martin at some earlier job, and they'd be like "wow, I never would have thought" and then "hey, I didn't realize SRS actually makes you shorter".

But, you know, this body's five years younger than the Martin Hartle one. I figure I've got some time to work my way back up to where we were at thirty.

Thursday, August 05, 2004
Doug's brother
I finally got to meet Doug's brother Tom on Tuesday. He's an alright guy, although he doesn't look much like Doug. Doug says they both take after their respective mothers, so that's to be expected. Tom's pretty clearly a jock, blond hair, about five inches taller than Doug, built. You look at him and just know he works as a lifeguard somewhere, and Doug must feel stupid introducing Tom as his "little" brother.

I was glad that the shoes I wore added a couple inches to my height; I'm an average-sized girl, which means I'm a few inches shorter than an average-sized guy like Doug, and a guy like Tom towers over me. I imagine it would bother me less if I'd grown up female, but I have a hard time dealing with standing toe-to-toe with someone and getting a good look at their chest and neck. I instinctively expect to be eye-level with guys, and since I never had to learn to deal with my male friends suddenly shooting up past me in height in junior high like most girls do, I think I'm lacking some essential experience that makes it seem normal.

Anyway, he was nice enough, although he was also seventeen, and stared at my rack a lot when he thought neither I nor his brother was looking. Probably watched my ass whenever Doug and I were walking in front of him, too. I knew it would happen, so I made an effort to not dress provocatively - Maureen joked before I left that she didn't know I even owned a skirt that went down to my ankles - but, hey, I know what kind of hormones are going through a boy that age. I kind of appreciated the attention a little, although I tried not to show it.

I think Doug weirded him out, though. As Martin, I never had brothers, but I know that when Kurt's eyes wandered to Maggie's butt (or some other body part of some other girl), my response would be a sort of clipped "eyes elsewhere"-type comment, or, if I was dating over my head at the time, a kind of arrogant "you wish" gesture. Guys understand that shorthand, and it's expected. If you're Tom, though, and you're focusing too much attention on your brother's girlfriend's assets, and instead of telling you to step back or acting like you know you've got it good, he just turns to her and acts like they're having a wonderful joke at your expense... Well, that's got to mess with the kid's mind.

Which is an elaborate way of saying, no, we didn't tell him about me. Sure, I'm being open about who and what I am nowadays, but that doesn't mean volunteering it to every peripheral person in my life. Especially as I get further away from thinking of myself as a guy in a woman's body and closer to just thinking of myself as a woman. Martin Hartle is always going to be a part of who I am - heck, I'm changing my name to reflect that - but that past is less of a factor in how I interact with new people.

So, we had seafood for dinner - Tom's family lives out in California, and they have different seafood out there, more mahi mahi and less swordfish - then went to see The Village. I dug, Doug thought it was oK, Tom started going on about how the twist was bullshit. He started trying to argue the point with me, but backed off when Doug told him I could hold my own with Kate in terms of movie-talk. Tom gave his brother the "are you sure it's wise to talk about your ex in front of your current girlfriend" look, and I told him not to worry, Kate had introduced us. Did not mention that we hadn't spoken in a couple weeks.

The weird part of the evening came when we were on our way home. Carter called Doug's cell, asking how much longer we'd be, since she had been out for a run and locked herself out, and Maureen was out with some of her friends... I said I'd be right there, and Tom said they should come along, since he hand't had a chance to see the neighborhod around Harvard anyway. Doug made a crack about how what it's like around Harvard is pretty irrelevent to Tom, but they came with me anyway.

Getting to the funny: Tom dug Carter. Sure, she's not as developed up top as I am, but she still looks pretty good in a sports bra and a pair of running shorts. Besides, Doug later told me that Tom goes for the sporty chicks. It was kind of a riot to see Tom trying to make time with Carter, especially since the first thing Carter did when we got the door open was to flip on SportsCenter. They actually got on pretty well when Tom wasn't doing the boy-girl thing. When it became clear that Tom was kind of comfortable in our living room, Doug and I sat down, but I had to take his lap in the recliner because Carter and Tom had the couch. It's big enough for three, but Carter opted to stay at the opposite end from Tom, and it would have been even more awkward to sit between them.

I thought maybe it would end after Carter excused herself to go to the bathroom, but Tom tried to pump me for information, which I didn't supply. But when Tom noticed she came out and tried to hide behind a copy of Scientific American, he of course asked what school she went to, since he was looking at colleges. Carter, of course, said she didn't go to school, and Tom said that was surprising, and Carter said that she couldn't afford it, which in fact sucked, because it meant she was stuck working miserable retail jobs, when she knows for a fact that she's capable of more. Tom asked "what about your parents", and Carter just stopped, saying she couldn't ask them for anything.

That's when Doug decided it would be a good time for them to get back home, and Tom was smart enough to recognize that as a chance to exit semi-gracefully. Carter and I were both kind of relieved to seem them go.

Although as we watched the Red Sox game recap (me with only a little residual anger), Carter asked me if maybe it wasn't time that she should talk to Samantha's parents. She figures that if she's stuck in Sam's body, then they and college is the only way she doesn't really get trapped in shitty retail jobs for the rest of her life, unless she hooks herself to a man, and hell no to that. Another thing is that four years of college as Samantha is scarier to her than the indefinite rest of her life; she can grasp four years. The other thing is that Sam doesn't want to pretend to be their daughter, but if she came clean with the Haskinses, she figured she'd be on her own again.

I told her I wished I could help, but that does seem like a no-win situation unless Sam's parents are super-understanding and generous. I told her that I was in the same fix, if it was any consolation.

Anyway, that was Tuesday. Yesterday, I worked the afternoon, Doug picked me up, we had supper with Tom, and then as soon as Tom was on his plane headed back to his place to make up for the alone-together time we'd missed this weekend.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Had a dream last night
Which, in and of itself, isn't a big deal, since most people dream just about every night, even if we don't necessarily remember them. This was the first time in a while, though, where I felt disoriented upon waking up because I'd been a guy in the dream.

I didn't like it. Not the being a guy part, because nothing seems weird while you're in a dream. And it's not even any sort of "the whole idea of having a penis grosses me out now" thing - I remember being a man fondly. It's the feeling like something is wrong that I didn't like, that there was something missing between my legs rather than this body just being built differently than another. I like to think I've made my peace with being a woman, that I see it as just being different from being a man, and not a handicap or a lesser sort of existence.

Besides, I wasn't doing any sort of stereotypically male things in the dream. Maggie was in it, but we weren't having sex. I was paying for dinner, but I don't remember it feeling like a date. I do recall apologizing for being late, but that there had been some kind of fire to put out at work. She was going on about her boyfriend, and I wasn't jealous at all beyond making cracks about him not knowing what he was letting himself in for.

And not in some macho or sexual way; it was just friendly ribbing. It wasn't about the biology, more like I was missing something I associated with being male. Like the thing about not being able to get away from work early, because I was needed. Me, specifically; I wasn't just one of a half-dozen waitresses or a random girl answering phones and greeting visitors. I couldn't get away because they needed something from me that they couldn't get from someone else. At least not nearly as quickly or well.

This isn't just feeling less special because now Carter's around and I know I'm not unique. It's not thinking that now that I've confessed to sort of having been Martin Hartle, I think I should be him. I'm not even sure that I was Martin Hartle in the dream, just that I was male. I didn't feel so unproductive, and I didn't feel frustrated at all.

Of course, I'm no shrink, and couldn't afford one even if he or she would believe me and seriously address my anxieties. But I do feel more aware that there's something missing in my life, that I'm capable of giving (and getting) more than I am now.

Sunday, August 01, 2004
It's all about me
Well, hey, it is my blog, so if I want to relate every event that has nothing to do with me to my life, well, I'm going to do that.

It is kind of amazing how there's suddenly a huge push to demonize Nomar. I can't even bring myself to read the sports section in today's paper, because I know there will be something written by Dan Shaughnessey, who is miserable and would probably eat his own children if he thought he could get away with it, and I probably shouldn't feed the Anger.

(Actually, for those who remember the "All Things Scottish" sketch on Saturday Night Live where Patrick Stewart was the Scottish Therapist, it's actually Scottish AAAAAannnnnnnngggggggaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr! Of course, in this body, I may not have Scottish anything.)

Still, it was Maureen who made the comparison. She was watching the game with me today, sort of appalled at how everyone seemed to basically be accusing Nomar of jaking it, when just two days ago it was "whenever Nomar goes out there, you get your money's worth". Like, are we supposed to suddenly hate him now? I mean, we hate GM Theo Epstein now, but that's because of something he did, not how someone is trying to portray him for the same things. She asked if it was like that with me, were people treating me different now? Truth be told, I still haven't heard from Kate or Jen since the party, but on the other hand it was nice to be talking to Wei again. Sort of a mixed blessing, I guess.

Also chatted back and forth with Nat some more; looks like the only time I'll be able to get back off is at the end of the month, just a week before Wei's wedding. Apparently, the plan is just to show up and hit her with it. I'm not sure that's the greatest idea, but I don't have a better one, either. How do arrange such a thing? "Hi, we're going to come by and drop a couple of huge life-changing bombshells on you, and we'd prefer to do it face-to-face. Is Saturday at 1 good for you?"


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