Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jordan Chang - Urban Anonymity

As insane as the whole deal of having everything about your body changed by a cursed inn is, everybody else seems to make everything much harder on themselves than they have to.  They parachute into jobs they don't know how to do, surround themselves with people who expect them to behave a certain way, and in the name of making sure that things stay the same, either screw things up so much that even if things go back to normal, someone has to put their life back together, or they go so native that getting back to their own life is stranger than staying who they are.

I figure that even if I didn't have an apartment to come back to, I still would have come to New York or a place like it after the Inn changed me.  Nobody in my building batted an eye when they saw a white girl going in and out of an apartment formerly occupied by Chinese and Hindu guys, and the turnover in this neighborhood is so constant that they probably assumed I'd come in with someone else's moving van.  If I go to the Chinese place on the corner and order in Mandarin, it's maybe not something that the guy behind the counter sees all the time, but it's not something he hasn't seen before, either.  And I don't have to come up with some explanation when some nosy son of a bitch is all "hey, Deirdre, when did you learn Chinese?" that also has to take into account that she won't know it when she gets her own face back.

That said, I was still a little nervous about this afternoon.  I've spent most of the week in the apartment, working on my contract and then eating takeout and watching Netflix or doing stuff online, but eventually I got frustrated with skipping comic book message board threads out of fear of spoilers.  I pondered going to Comixology to get what I'd missed and catch up right then, but I looked across the room at the long boxes stacked up against the wall and decided that there was no fucking way I was going to let this body change my habits, and resolved to pick the two weeks of comics is missed the next day.

It was a little nerve-wracking; I spent a little more time in the shower than usual and stated at my reflection in the bathroom mirror even longer.  Looking for what, I don't know.  Having someone else's skin gives you this weird feeling that you're going to get caught even when you're not trying to hide.  I wound up deciding my face was clean, putting on a Hulk T-shirt and the only pair of cargo shorts if been able to find in my size on Sunday, and walled to the subway.

There are plenty of decent comic shops in the Bronx and the north end of Manhattan, but I've been going to the same one near Chinatown since I was a kid, and that's where everything  in my subscription had been pulled.  It meant taking the subway quite a ways, which itself was kind of a weird experience - I'm usually able to steady myself pretty well, but even if I've got nothing up top, I've also got skinny legs now, and I'm too damn short to lean in and grab a bar or a strap if someone's in the seat in front of me.  When the car went around a turn, I would have fallen straight to the floor if there weren't people to fall into.  The woman I landed on started to chew me out and I was about to be all "excuse me, bitch" when the guy is been standing in front of stood up and offered me his seat.  He kept looking at me after I sat down, and I thought he was going to try and get my phone number or something, but we were passing through Harlem, and when a woman got on showing more tit than I have (and high heels hallway to my knees), I was forgotten.

Eventually we got to Lower Manhattan, and I went with the crowd that was going my direction.  Being so short made it seem to take longer, but I eventually got there.  The crowd was probably about average for a Saturday afternoon - I'm usually a Wednesday night guy myself - and though I wasn't the only girl in the store, I got some looks.  Nobody went so far as to approach me as I got my stuff out of my folder, at least.  Two weeks' worth was a fair amount for these short arms, though, and somehow corners kept poking my left boob as I looked around the racks for anything I might have missed.  There were one or two.

I was a little nervous as I brought my stuff to the counter; the guy there didn't usually work Wednesday nights, but I'd seen him often enough to remember his name.  I was therefore a little nervous when he asked me the name on the sub and I answered "Jordan Chang", but he just entered it into the system and have me my discount.  I figured he must have thought I was picking it up for "me" or something, but he didn't blink when I handed him a debit card with that name.  He barely looked at it, giving more attention to my chest - weird, because he was on a platform and my T-shirt showed no cleavage, so he was looking straight down at nothing - so I don't know whether the incongruity between my name and appearance made any impression.

It was kind of a relief as I walked out of the shop and read my first couple issues over an ice cream from a nearby place, but it started to kind of piss me off a bit on the subway.  I could think of two or three reasons why someone who looks like I do now might be named Jordan Chang, but those only apply when you don't recognize the name.  Shouldn't he have found something weird about it?

Fuck it.  Time to read Batman.


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