Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ashlyn--Jessica

Suddenly I see…

While I was out last Saturday, I received a new gift from my secret admirer. I was too tired to take much of an interest when I got home, but the following morning I carefully opened the package. I briefly considered waiting for when Jessica would be present, but I thought it would be fine as long as I didn’t destroy the packaging. Inside was an iPod. Finally my admirer sent me something I was really excited about.

It was charged and ready to go. I turn it on and scroll through the song list—it’s loaded. What is even more surprising is the fact it was loaded with music I liked. Outward appearances aside, I’m a child of the eighties and like the music. U2, the Cure, Cyndi Lauper, the Police…good stuff. There are older songs I like, and I like some new stuff as well, but the eighties hold a special place in my heart.

Oddly, even though my new toy was jammed with a lot of eighties music, the first song on the list was “Suddenly I see”. It’s a new song by KT Tunstall. I listened to the song and it lyrics make me wonder if my secret admirer had a hidden meaning to his first choice:

(Just a few of the lyrics)
Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

I gotta say, it’s a good song.
I think I’ve listen to it more than anything else on my iPod.

I love a parade… (I’m on a song kick)

Saturday’s radio promotion was mostly indoor, so wearing the Catholic schoolgirlish costume was okay. Working the St. Patrick’s Day parade required a little more clothing. Fortunately the radio station takes care of its girls—parade attire was warm (and tight) green sweaters, form fitting black pants and silly green top hats. They also let us wear running shoes! Several of the girls actually squealed in delight when they told us we weren’t wearing heels. Our job was to walk along the parade route and pass out t-shirts to the crowds. Again, it’s not exactly brain surgery I do in my promotional work.

Several of the girls wanted to hang out again after the parade. I had other plans. I was meeting up with Art and we were heading over to south station—Jessica was arriving by train. So I had to say no.

“That’s too bad.” Kara says to me. She’s your typical blue-eyed beautiful blonde. “Hey, later this week a few of us are doing a little shopping…you want to come?”

I was slightly surprised. I felt like I had passed some kind of rite of passage. These gorgeous women were accepting me as one of their own.

“Um, yeah. That sounds like fun. Count me in.” We make plans and I give her my number. It was like I was back in high school and I’d been accepted by the cool kids.

I was assuming it was a clothes shopping trip, and I was a little nervous about it—other than my Halloween costume I haven’t bought any clothing for my new body. I’ve been living off of the plentiful closet I inherited. I haven’t had to worry about sizes because everything fit. I don’t really understand women’s sizes—but it can’t be any more difficult than anything else I’ve had to figure out since joining the pink team.

Meeting Jessica

Art and I took the T to south station, but we stepped out and visited the Starbuck’s at the Financial Center. Starbucks has almost become a tradition for me and Art—it seems like every time we hang out together we have to stop by Starbucks first. Coffees in hand (actually that would be a non-fat chai for me) we return to the train station. There is a small food court at south station, and Art and I sat at a table waiting for Jessica’s train to arrive.

“Everything okay? You’ve been awfully quiet.” I ask him.

“It’s Ray. We had a mild fight before I left…He wasn’t really thrilled that I was going out to hang with you.”

“What? Me? What’s wrong with me?”

“Ashlyn has a bad reputation. Ray thinks you are a bad influence.” Art tells me.

“Oh.” I thought Ray was a friend of mine. Then again, I’ve read Ashlyn’s diaries—she probably was a bad influence.

“I think he also imagines that I am not here at all, that I use you as an excuse to go visit Stewart.”

“Ouch. That sucks.” I say.

“Yeah. He’s also been hinting big time that I should quit my job at the theater; of course I can’t do that, but I am finding it hard to explain that to him.”

“So are you still seeing Stewart as well?”

“That’s a yes and no answer…I haven’t slept with him in a few weeks. I haven’t told him it’s actually over or anything either.”

“And that’s actually working?” I ask.

“For the moment.”

“It’s not exactly fair to Stewart; and he may be patient now, but sooner or later he’s going to get tired of waiting for you.”

“It’s a complicated situation. I don’t want mess things up with Ray more than I already have and it doesn't feel right to out-and-out END it when Liz may wind up trying to pick things right back up come the end of May.” Art says.

“I understand. I just don’t think you can put Stewart on hold until May.”

He sighs. “Yeah, I know.”

He takes a big sip of his drink. “I envy you sometimes. It must be nice not to be pretending to be someone else anymore.”

“I don’t know if ‘not pretending’ applies. I’m doing things the old Jake would never do.” I say back to him.

“Yes, but that’s your choice. You choose how to live your life now.”

“Yeah well, I envy that you are going back to your old life. Less than a couple of more months of pretending and you’ll be back on the blue team. I bet you are excited.”

Art was taking his time to answer—I think he was trying to protect my feelings.

“Hey, it’s okay.” I tell him. “It’s not your fault things didn’t work out for me. I’m excited for you.”

“Really?”

“Well, maybe I’m a little bitter.” I give him a smile to let him know I’m okay.

“Well yeah, as the day gets closer and closer, I’m getting antsy. I am so sick of all this ‘being a girl’ stuff.”

“Hey. I think she’s here.” I point to a teenage girl coming through the automatic glass doors. I wave, and she waves back. As she walks toward us, I say to Art “You know, when you go back, I going to miss these conversations.”

“Hey, we’ll continue to talk. We’ll stay in touch—I promise.” He says to me. His pretty Korean features seemed earnest.

It’s funny. I’ve spoken to Jessica by phone, and I intellectually know without a doubt she too is a victim of the Inn—yet when she was standing in front of me, saying ‘you look just like I imagined you from the blog, you have to be Ashlyn’ my first thought was: This is a joke. There is no way this cute teenage girl could have been a 40 year old cop.

I realized it was the ‘curse’ at work, messing with my head.

I smile and shake her hand. “Yeah, I’m Ashlyn. And you have probably figured out that this is—“ I motioned to Art.

“Arthur Milligan.” She finishes, she shakes Art’s hand as well. “It’s so weird to meet you guys in person. It’s kind of a relief as well, you’re proof I didn’t imagine all this, and I’m just coo-coo for coco puffs.”

Jessica was 5’5, about 120 lbs, had shoulder brown hair, and had the bluest eyes behind a pair of glasses. She wore jeans, and a t-shirt that had ‘Cleverly disguised as an adult’ written on it. She had a whole cute nerd girl thing going for her.

We take a cab back to my place, which turned out to be empty—all my roommates were out enjoying a Sunday afternoon.

We settle in, and I show Jessica the packaging from the latest gift from my secret admirer.
“What was in it?” She asks.

I handed her the iPod.

“Sweet. Nice to have a secret admirer.” She says.
Just like I did, she looked through the song list. “It’s mostly eighties music.” She says. “Are you a fan of the eighties?”

“Yeah.”

“Don’t you think that a bit convenient?”

“She right.” Art jumps in. “Your secret admirer knows your taste in music.”

“The reeeaaallly interesting question is if whoever put the songs on here was guessing your music tastes because they knew your previous age—or whether they knew exactly what songs to put on here. Ash, when you were Jake, did you own a lot of CDs? Would they match the songs on the playlist?”

“Ohmigod. Yeah.” I start scrolling through the playlist. “This is mostly my old CD collection.”

“That’s really weird. Does that make Stephen the secret admirer? He has access to your old CDs” Art states.

“Something tells me no. Whenever I deal with Stephen he’s very clear he wants nothing to do with me. He threatened to get a restraining order—it doesn’t seem like the actions of a man sending secret gifts.” I answer.

We debate it for a while until Jessica changes the subject.

"I think I may have leads on a couple of the people who were at the inn the same time you were, but stopped contributing to the blog."

She laid a few sheets of paper on the table. "Here's what I've got on Mark Lange, now known as Ginessa Lopez. No listings for her in the NYC phone books, but I found a mention of her in a Village Voice theater review back in December. This year, she shows up in the social pages a few times, often with the same group of people."

She spread some printouts on a table.

Art pointed at a gorgeous blonde who was next to "Ginessa" in one of the pictures. "Am I wrong, or is that who that Peruvian girl turned into?"

"You talked to her more than I did." I said.

Jessica looked at the printout, and it was becoming very easy to believe that she had been a detective in a previous life. "Hmm... Caption says ‘Nicoleta Fidatov’ . Maybe a roommate? Then the phone might be in her name. Could be a lead."

She pushed Mark's pile aside and then another one. "Okay, I found several Kayla Johnsons online. Any of these look familiar?"

I pointed to one. "Okay... Kayla Johnson, 22, grew up in a small town in Wyoming. All I've got on her is this little notice in a community weekly saying that she graduated from University of Wyoming with a degree in Wildlife Management and will be starting with the National Parks Service this... that is, last... fall."

"Well, I guess he's still a Fed..." Says Art.

At that moment Jessica’s cell phone rang and she answered it. “Hi mom! Yes, I got here okay. Yeah, they seem like good people…” She walked away to talk in private.

“She's going to be a real help.” Art says to me.

I couldn’t agree more.

--Ashlyn

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ashlyn--Redhead appreciation day

Sorry, wrong number

I’m pretty comfortable being Ashlyn now—I like the way I look, and with the way I’m showered with attention, I think I’m becoming an attention junkie.

But even though I enjoy some aspects of being a busty redhead—I still want my old life back. I know I had decided to move forward living as Ashlyn--but seeing myself on TV made me wonder if I hadn't tried hard enough to get my life back.

So I called “Jake” again. I felt a need to try one more time to convince him to do the right thing and give me my old life back. I had forgotten that he is a complete asshole. On the phone he sarcastically pretended to not know who I was and what I was talking about. He threatened to get a restraining order and said if I ever showed up at his home or office he would see to it I was arrested for trespassing.

Bastard!

In an odd way, I feel better. It was just a phone call, but at least I tried to do something.

Breakfast of Champions

I jumped up Saturday morning and slipped on green underwear, my green t-shirt with “Irish Princess” written across the front, and jeans. When I stepped out of my bedroom my roommate Billie was already up, sitting on the couch, eating cold cereal and watching cartoons.

“Top of the morning to ya!” She yells at me, butchering a fake Irish accent. “Happy St. Patrick’s day!”

I don’t mention Billie in this blog nearly enough. She’s the funniest person I know. When I mentioned I was dating Matt—a firefighter—she gets a big grin on her face and asks me “Does he let you play with his hose?” She then went into a giggling fit for the five minutes. Today she was wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Want to see my shamrocks?’ and green striped pants.

“I got us a special St. Patrick’s Day breakfast—Lucky Charms.” She tells me, a big grin on her face.

When you live with four roommates, the cereal collection is large and diverse. We have everything from granola to Fruity Pebbles. I’m a ‘Special K’ girl myself, because I tend to worry about gaining weight—but it was a holiday and Billie is infectious. I grabbed a bowl of Lucky Charms and joined her on the couch. BTW, it might be nostalgia, but Saturday morning cartoons have really gone downhill. ‘Teen Titans’ was okay, but nowhere as good as the ‘Superfriends’ with the wonder twins.

I had a busy weekend planned. I was working two shifts at the lounge, working some promotional gigs for the radio station and meeting Jessica. Matt wants to do a little holiday celebrating as well, but I told him I was awfully busy. He pouted, and after basically throwing him out when we were watching basketball, I felt I owed him; so I told him I would try—underline try—to spend some time with him at some point over the weekend.

Things started well. I knocked out a brunch shift at the lounge. Business had been slow because we had another round of ice and snow the night before and I think people were slow to dig out. At the end of my shift I made my way to the ladies room and change into my outfit for my radio promotion gig.

How can I describe the outfit? How about “Catholic schoolgirl meets St. Patrick's Day”. Tiny green plaid skirt, low cut top that also showed off my middle, and thigh high stockings.

“Very stripperesque.” I say looking myself over in the mirror.

Our restaurant has two managers, and one of the two, a likable woman named Maddie, picked that moment to walk into the ladies room. She gives me a surprised look.

“Ashlyn? What’s with the outfit?” She asks.

I slide on the long overcoat I had brought to wear over the outfit until I got to the location of the radio promotion.

“I occasionally take promotion work.” I say to her. “I’m doing some St. Patrick’s day stuff.”

“Oh.”

Something in her tone, or how she was looking at me, gave me the impression she didn’t approve of what I was wearing. It made me uncomfortable. I buttoned up my coat and started to head out.

“I could never wear something like that.” She says to me—she had a snotty tone.
Those were her words, but I could tell what she was really saying was “I would never demean myself to wear something like that, you little slut.” It slightly upset me—in the past Maddie and I had gotten along very well.

Of course she probably weighs around 180 pounds, so she couldn’t wear the outfit anyway, I tell myself.

Great. Now I’m getting bitchy.

Girls just wanna have fun

I call what I do for the radio station “promotional work” that makes it sound like I am doing something justifiable to earn a paycheck. Really what I am doing is being a hot babe in a skimpy outfit forced to make pleasant conversation with anyone who wants to talk to me. I’m a captive audience. I also will pose for a picture—and if you are really nice and polite, I’ll let you put your arm around me in the picture so you can show your friends, proving that you are a babe magnet.

I hang out for a living. Crazy isn’t it?

What’s even crazier is how effective it is. Guys come out of everywhere to chat me (and the other girls) up. When all the girls are busy getting their picture taken, they end up participating in whatever the promotion the radio station has cooking.

You would think that ‘hanging out’ would be an easy job—and it mostly is—but after several hours standing in heels your feet and legs are killing you. Also try smiling for several hours; it’s tougher than it sounds.

At the end of the gig, we girls get paid—in cash—and the first thing we girls want to do is take off our heels and find somewhere to sit and drink. Usually we change out of whatever outfit we are wearing, but it was a holiday and lots of people were dressed up, so we didn’t bother.

I didn’t intend to stay long. I had to work the St. Patrick’s Day parade the next morning. I was supposed to work the lunch shift at the lounge that day as well, but Maddie had called as said they were overbooked with wait staff and not to come in. After her reaction to the outfit I was wearing, this really bothered me—I had never been told to NOT come into work before.

Every time I hang out with the other girls who do promo work, I tell myself I’m not going to do that next time. Next time I’m going to do the gig and go home. Only I never do. There’s something fun/ wild/ sexy about hanging out with the other girls and I get caught up in it.
We ended up at an Irish pub with about 10,000 other people. Funny, we didn’t have any trouble getting in or getting a table.

Art was right—most nights I don’t have any trouble getting free drinks. That night, however, the drinks were coming so fast and so frequently I had to start turning them away.
At some point the street outside the pub got blocked off and fiddle began to play. People formed a line in a circle and began to dance in traditional Irish styles.

“Would you care to dance?” The man spoke with a slight Irish accent. I hadn’t seen him walk up; I was distracted by watching the dancers. He was tallish with light brown hair and blue eyes.

“Ah no. It looks like fun, but I have no idea how to do any of that.” I gestured to what was going on outside.

“Then that is a great injustice. The most beautiful Irish lass I have ever met and she doesn’t know how to Céilí dance.”

“Céilí? That’s what it is called?” I ask.

He shook his head in mock exasperation. “Did your folks not teach you anything? Céilí refers to many dances, but the one they are doing right now is called ‘Shoe the donkey’.” He holds his hand out to me.

“It’s really time you learned. I would love to teach you. My name’s Hoyt.”

My legs were still tired, and I was slightly drunk—but what the hell, my heritage was calling out to me.

I took his hand. “Nice to meet you Hoyt. My name is Ashlyn.”

He leads us outside and we join the circle—it was so hot in the bar I forgot how cold it was outside, and I wasn’t wearing all that much. Fortunately, for the most part, the dancing kept me warm. Hoyt was a good teacher and I was a fast learner. I had an amazingly good time.
Eventually I succumbed to the cold and my legs were exhausted, I had to tell Hoyt I had to call it a night.

He got us a taxi. “A gentleman sees a lady to her door.” He says to me.

I’m thinking he was still hoping he was going to get lucky—I knew he wasn’t. I could barely stand I was so tired.

In the cab I gave him my phone number. He gives me his number “In case you want some more dancing lessons.”

The cab arrives and he walks me to my door. There is an awkward pause when I expected he would reach in for a kiss but didn’t.

“Good night Ashlyn. I hope to see you again.” He turns and begins to walk off, returning to the cab.

“Hey!” I say to him. “What, no good night kiss?”

He gives me a smile. “The lass wants a kiss?”

“Yeah, the lass wants a kiss.”

He walks back to me. He wraps one arm around me, placing his palm in the small of my back, pulls me close, and kisses me. It was a great kiss.

I'll try to post more tomorrow. I've got to write about Jessica--But right now I've got to get ready for work.

--Ashlyn

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Arthur: Just renting

In other circumstances, I might enjoy St. Patrick's Day in Boston. After all, remember how excited I was about covering a beer festival last August? I'm almost afraid to think what "Ashlyn" did last night. It's not as though she has trouble getting a free drink most nights, but a red-headed Irish-American lass in Boston on Saint Patty's Day? And that's if she doesn't feel like working it.

Heh. I might never have another beer, once I get my life back.

Although, when you think about it, getting my life back is going to be strange. I meant to mention it in my last post, but I sort of got sidelined into self-pity, but Jeremy has gotten a job since we last talked. He mentioned that money was getting tight when I talked to him on the day we made reservations, so he started looking for work that he could do and could also get with my résumé. He wound up landing at the Oakland Raiders, doing public relations work. The job involves a lot of writing press releases, but it doesn't take an English degree to do that. A lot of the job is going to be lining up personal appearances, serving as a liaison with the local press, keeping the players and team in the public eye.

I admit, I've looked at jobs like that before. The life of a freelancer is uncertain, and I had my mom to look after. The trouble is, I needed flexibility, too, so I basically took any job that came my way so that I always had two things going at once. It sounds like a fun job, but I don't know if I want to go back to punching a clock after eight months of doing it at the movie theater. I know Jeremy made a commitment, but...

He probably didn't say that "Arthur" would only be there temporarily, because who'd hire him then? But I figure I'll find some way of exiting gracefully, and if not... Well, then not. I guess at some point, you have to cut bait.

It reminds me of something I was thinking about in the bookstore the other day. There's a few pretty nice bookstores in Boston and Cambridge, and Harvard Square is a nice area for it, although Ray says he misses Wordsworth's. There's still children's, travel, and even poetry bookstores there. There's the Harvard Co-op and the Harvard Book Store, which is not officially associated with the University but has a pretty fantastic selection of remainders and used books. I can spend hours down there, during the day when Ray's working and I'm not.

I got up to the counter with an armful of books on Friday. I was standing in line when I realized that I might not have time to read them all in the next couple months. I suppose I could bring them to Old Orchard with me, but my mind kept concocting scenarios where Ray was reading them or, something. I get the same feeling in Best Buy, too - that even though I've been the one working all week and earning the paycheck, anything I pay for... I'll be leaving it behind. Just a two month rental, no matter how much I pay for it.

-Art

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ashlyn--And on top of everything, Mavs lose

Last night Matt came over to watch the Mavs/Suns basketball game. The game wasn’t until 9pm, but he came by around seven—we were going to grab some dinner before the game.

“Hey baby girl.” He says as I open the door for him. He leans in and gives me a kiss. I hadn’t seen Matt in several days, and his kiss expressed that he missed me.

“Hey yourself.” I say back to him.

I’ve been over to his place many times now, but this was the first time Matt was coming over to my place. I guess I’ve been avoiding it because Josh—the original Ashlyn’s ex-boyfriend—is friends with me and my roommates and tends to drop by unexpectedly. This thing with Matt isn’t really serious, but my gut (women’s intuition?) tells me that if Josh and Matt crossed paths it could lead to a lot of drama. I don’t need any more drama, but I did need a big tv with tivo and I wasn’t going to have that at his place.

“I’m just going to grab my purse. I’ll be right back.” I run into my bedroom, grab my purse and check myself in the mirror. I touch up my lipstick and decide I’m good enough for a quick bite to eat.

I really hadn’t taken that long, but I guess Matt was impatient, because he was suddenly behind me, kissing me on the neck.

“Hey, I wasn’t taking that long. I was coming right back.” I say to him.

“I know. I just wanted to see what your bedroom looks like.” He sat down on the bed. “Mmmm. Soft bed.” He reaches out to me and pulls me toward him. He’s got that look in his eye.

“We are on our way to dinner—“ I tried to pull back, but he is much, much stronger than me.

“I know.” He says, but he continues to pull me to himself, and then rolls us onto the bed.

“Matt.” I tried to sound annoyed, but he was back to kissing me on the neck. It was nice.

“Maybe we can get something delivered, and eat it during the game.” He says.
His hands were now under my clothes and touching my body, the kisses moved from my neck to my mouth.

I could feel myself weakening, I liked the way he made my body feel. “Maybe we could order Chinese.” I say.

Two hours later we are sitting on the couch watching the game on espn and sharing a bunch of Chinese.

The game didn’t start out well for my Mavs, they had a terrible first period—they were behind by 14 points. Matt was amused, he was a Suns fan. We had a friendly rivalry.

When we had our fill of the Chinese food, I paused the tivo and put away the leftovers. I then slipped into some silk PJs—I wanted to be comfortable. I then rejoined him on the couch and slide into the crook of his arm and we watch the game that way.

I was feeling pretty good about myself. Matt and I had found our rhythm—so I was feeling very satisfied, and not frustrated like I had with him in the past. Plus it was nice to feel a warm body next to mine as we watched the game. To top it all off, my Mavs turned it on and made a dramatic turnaround in the second and third period—they were up by thirteen points.

And then the fourth period happed—and things started to come apart.

I mentioned in previous entries that as Jake I had season tickets to the Mavs. At one point the television camera was panning the crowd at the arena and I thought to myself ‘hey, that’s near my seats’—and then I saw myself. I gasped in shock and grabbed up the remote to pause the tv.

“What’s wrong baby?” Matt asked.

I didn’t answer him. I just stared at the screen. I—He –looked good. ‘Jake’ had obviously been working out and gotten my old body in shape. Next to him was an attractive blonde haired woman I didn’t recognize. She was sitting in my second seat (I always bought two seats because it’s no fun to go to the game alone) and they seemed to be having a really good time.
Seeing myself again caused a flood of feelings to wash over me. Suddenly I didn’t feel so comfortable being all snuggled up to Matt. Suddenly I felt dirty and ashamed for what Matt and I had done earlier that evening.

How could I so easily accepted that Stephen wasn’t going to give my life back? Shouldn’t I be fighting him with every ounce of my being, demanding him he give me back what was rightfully mine?

I jumped up, wanting to put some space between me and Matt.
He stood up, following me, and tried to wrap his arms around me.

“DON’T TOUCH ME!” I yelled at him, jerking away from him.

Matt backed away from me, surprised. I was behaving like a crazy person and I knew it.

“Did I do something? Was there something on tv?” He asks, exasperated.

“You didn’t do anything.” I tell him. “It’s me, okay? I recognized the guy on the tv and it upset me. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay. Maybe we can talk about it later?”

“Maybe. I don’t think so.” I say. “Do you mind if we call it a night? I’m kind of tired.”

“Sure baby.” He goes to kiss me goodnight, but I turn away.

I see him out and I said I would call him soon.

I go back to the tv and watch the few seconds of myself at the game over and over. Eventually I grow numb from that and I let the video keep playing and I end up watching the rest of the game.

When the game was over the announcers said it was one of the best regular season games in the last 35 years—it went to double overtime, and my Mavs lost it in the last few seconds.
It was a thrilling game and all I could do was think ‘that bastard is sitting in my seat’.

--Ashlyn

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ashlyn--Busy girl

Even a waitress can have a hard week at work. Sure, there are busy nights, but a busy week is rare. The problem was a little more than half of the wait staff caught the stomach flu that has been going around. Suddenly I was picking up everybody’s shift. Oh well, I like to be busy.

I think my being busy has been harder on Matt than it has been on me—he’s just about called me every day. We’ve gone out twice more since Valentine’s Day and we kind of did a repeat performance of Valentine’s night. I wonder if it’s normal for a woman to enjoy sex and be frustrated at the same time? What’s really annoying is he keeps telling me “you were amazing” and seems totally oblivious whenever I don’t have an orgasm. When we had lunch together, I kidded Art about Stewart being “selfish in bed”—maybe it’s me who is sleeping with someone selfish.

Or maybe I’m not doing something right—I’m still figuring out how to be a member of the pink team after all.

And speaking of figuring out how to be a woman…

I like taking the T. (That’s the subway, for anyone reading this and has never been to Boston) Where I am from, Dallas, they are still in the early stages of getting public transportation—so nobody uses it yet. But here in Boston, just about everyone rides the T at some point. With the exception of walking in the cold to and from the station, the T is very convenient. I have learned I can’t take the T during “rush hour” hours. When everyone is trying to get home and the subway cars get so full that people are standing shoulder to shoulder—I find guys get very handsy. I tend to dress not so conservatively, so I am used to getting stared at. That’s looking and not touching, and as a former guy I can appreciate the need to give an attractive woman a once over. The groping however, is not so cool. It bothers me so much that if a subway car is too full I’ll just wait for the next one—which is crazy when you think about it. It’s the year 2007 and a woman has to wait an extra twenty to thirty minutes sometimes because perverts can’t keep their hands to themselves in public places.
Hmph. I spoke to Jessica about the scooter I received from my secret admirer, and she recommended not keeping it—but if it keeps some strangers hands off my ass, I may consider keeping it and using it.

BTW—Jessica is coming to visit around St. Patrick’s Day. I told her she could sleep on our couch and we could hang (and discuss the Trading Post Inn and my secret admirer) whenever I wasn’t working—which will be a lot. The radio station I do promotion work for time to time has hired me to be a part of their St. Patrick Day festivities. Apparently my red hair, green eyes and fair skin screams St. Patty’s day.

--More later,

Ashlyn

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Arthur - Jobs

I want to quit.

I want to quit being Elizabeth Lee. I'm sick of having periods and taking birth control and not being able to reach something on a cupboard's top shelf without standing on a goddamn step-stool. Every once in a while, somebody tries to talk to me in Korean; yesterday afternoon it was the woman at the dry cleaners. I had to be rude, saying that I was sorry but I didn't have a lot of time to chat. She's probably a nice lady who has been asking about Liz's and Ray's work and family for years, but this just hammers home that I'm an impostor, and I hate that.

I'm almost jealous of Jake/Ashlyn sometimes. She doesn't have to watch her step twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If she does something, and someone who knew the real Ashlyn looks at her strange, she can just keep doing it. If that person thinks it's strange, well, tough, that's just the way "Ashlyn" is going to be from now on. I can't wait to have that kind of freedom again. Just another two and a half months, and I'll be myself again. I wish I could just hide in a corner until that day came.

But I can't, because I've got these other jobs. The hardest one, right now, is being Raymond Kim's girlfriend. Personally, I've always thought that when a relationship starts to become a job, then it's time to get out. That's not an option, though, so I have to try to make things better with him.

It's not easy. I don't think I've ever really had to try to make something work before. Either it did, or it didn't, and when it didn't, we broke up. Sometimes I was the jerk, sometimes she was. Sometimes we both were and sometimes we both knew it wasn't going to work out that way and remained friends. But we'd just do what came naturally. It's crazy to have to think of what you're trying to accomplish with each thing you do. I know there are people who do - people who go about seduction deliberately and obsess about details once they get beyond the initial fear of approaching someone.

Like, yesterday, I brought Ray lunch. It was a totally deliberate, manufactured thing - I spent like a half hour on make-up and hair, went downtown, did a little shopping to justify being across the river, then stopped in Bull Run for a couple steak tip subs and specialty-label sodas so that I could drop by his office and eat lunch at his desk with him.

And it works. Doing that shows that you're thinking of him even when you're just going about your own business, that you remember things he likes. That sort of thing is great when it's real, but when it's an effect created deliberately via a contrived set-up... Eating that delicious sandwich feels dirtier than anything we do in bed.

Scratch that. The sandwich isn't quite as bad as slipping into bed after an evening's work, pulling my body close and draping my arm over his body to rest on his chest. I can practically feel him smile at that, even when he's fast asleep. That's almost playing dirty - anything you do while he's awake, he can at least recognize as an attempt at manipulation. This is screwing with his subconscious.

Of course, he's giving a little, too. As much as the deep freeze is mostly over, I can't help notice that when he picked me up from work the other night, he made it a point to kiss me where everyone could see and thus be in a position to mention it to Stewart, should the topic come up. I'd kind of like to quit that little game, too.

And, I suspect, that once Stewart gets wind of what's going on, I'll want to quit Liz's job, too.

-Art

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