Philly looks considerably different from what I've seen of it in Rocky and the opening of Fresh Prince. It's a pretty nice city, although not without its slums. I don't begrudge a city its slums. I hate what they represent... I tend to fear the people who live there... but I don't think they ruin cities. Maybe because I grew up in a Toronto suburb that is renowned for its wealth, I have a bit of detachment from the subject. I just think the visual is... appealing, on a certain level. They add character to a city brimming with life.
It's a nice town. Lots of character. A ton of history, obviously. I've spent a lot of this week just kind of floating around, looking like a tourist, trying not to get lost, observing the city. Taking it all in. My temporary home. Probably a lot more impressive than the bland suburban hell Todd described me. He'd never lived in suburbia before.
Naturally I can't compare this city favorably to Toronto. I love that city. I think it's a bit underrated by the world, although maybe somewhat overrated by some of its citizens. I'm not much of a hockey fan but it'll feel very familiar when the season starts up again. Actually, it won't, because Penguin fans are a lot more accustomed to winning than Leafs fans (although they always seem so disappointed. There's nothing like Canadians, I tell you.)
This is going to sound stupid, but I've been making a conscious effort to de-feminize. I don't want to say I'm "embracing" manhood (or at least, stereotypical maleness) at this point as much as being realistic. The transformation didn't immediately alter the way I walk or talk or think. I feel self-conscious behaving like a girl in this thick, hairy body. So I want to act the part a little bit. Be a bit of a slouch. Take big manly steps. Keep my hands in my pockets. Hah! Pockets. Not that I didn't own anything with pockets but my God these pants are roomy. And I can understand why.
I'm swinging some lumber here. Ladies... (jk.)
In seriousness though, the walking around has gotten me a bit acclimated not only to Philadelphia, but being seen in public as Rob. I keep trying to refrain from looking at females too long because they'll probably think I'm checking them out, but I haven't managed to let my reflexes catch up with me in that way just yet. Nobody thinks much of a girl casting glances another girl's way, if she's pretty or well-dressed, but looking like I do, it's creepy and I know it.
I keep trying to get Cliff out, but she's still really bummed. And I understand, to some degree - hey, man, we're all going through some really weird stuff right now - but it's only practical. She's acknowledged she can't hide in her room for a whole year.
Oh yeah, guys, shaving still annoys me. Plus, make one little crack and suddenly people go "Hey what's the big deal?" I've read enough of this blog to see ex-boys complain plenty about stuff I dealt with every day of my life without much of a thought. (Boys feel bad about waking up one morning with boobs? Try waiting for them to slowly, painfully grow in. Moving on.) I don't mean to be a bitch, but can I at least have this one complaint? It's still weird for me, so far.
Anyway, I'm getting all of this exploration out of the way, because my freedom is on a timer. In September I'll have to go do Rob's job, which feels like one of the surprisingly daunting side-effects of this transformation. Doing somebody else's job. It feels like the set-up for a bad reality show. Cliff? Luckily unemployed, albeit underqualified for stuff. Todd, as Anne-Marie was a housewfie, which is a different kind of job. Bry? Got to go to school all day! Me? I've gotta be the teacher. Figures. I always was the responsible one out of us three. (No offense, guys, but you know you would agree.)
Teacher. Surprisingly - and luckily - I'm not teaching Spanish. The Mexican guy is actually allowed to teach other subjects. Rob is teaching English and History. History, particularly American history, I'm not so good at. English? I was an English major. I have my BA in it and I was in the middle of post-grad studies. I've TA'd a few times, I know how to run a class... sort of. Okay sure, the situation is quite different but the idea is the same... right?
Well damn, this isn't the place for self-doubt. I can do this. I've got to.
Well, hopefully I'll believe in myself by the time I have to start inspiring young minds.