from my mom:
1. Describe what happened when you first met the new Amy/Michael: After he called me (saying, "hi Mom, this is Amy" in a very deep voice, we arranged to meet at my house. He arrived at the door -- a tall, skinny red-headed boy, dressed in your hoodie and carrying your striped bag! But he was totally into being Amy, so I played along. It was interesting, if disorienting at first. I was a bit of a weenie, and took him to see "The Fast Runner" in case I didn't know what to say. It wasn't a problem though, as we had plenty to talk about over dinner.
2. Did you know in advance about the exchange, and if so what kind of expectations did you have?
Yes, I knew about the exchange but I expected that his "Amy-ness" would be more superficial and maybe I'd get to know more about the real him. However, Michael was completely committed to being Amy and never let his guard down or his persona slip for a seond--I think I was the one that would go off-track once in awhile, albeit inadvertently. But I didn't goad him or try to force him to talk about "himself".
3. What kind of interactions did you have with Amy/Michael, and in what
Michael and I got along well, but I wondered how much he knew about your real life and how deep and realistic our conversations could be. For example, you had just split up with Frances, and I wasn't sure if I should bring it up or commiserate about it or what. So I felt my way carefully, but soon realized that he was well-briefed. Even then, I was careful. Not sure why.
4. How did this interaction make you feel?
There was a surreaslistic aspect to it, and it was more tiring than I expected, but it wasn't unpleasant.
5. How do you think this interaction made him/her feel?
I think Michael was much more prepared for it than I was.
6. How do you think other people reacted to his/her presence?
It went totally unnoticed by others, as far as I could tell. Nobody noticed that he was wearing your stuff, but it might have been different if you were a girly girl and he'd had to don a dress. The two of us were only in the presence of others once -- when I invited my friends the Palmers to dinner. Interestingly, Karen played along, but her husband Michael invited "Amy" to drop the pretence and tell us about him. I'd be interested to know if this was a gender thing with other men who interacted with Amy/Michael. I know Mark felt awkward and uncomfortable about the situation.
7. How do you think Amy/Michael reacted to his/her exchange, and how do you think this reaction might be indicative of Amy/Michael's 'real' personality, adopted personalities, the environment, or some combination?
Michael seemed very poised and coped well. I can't help but think, however, that the unseasonably cold temperatures and greyness must have been unpleasant for him. Thin California blood, and a hoodie that was no match for freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, Toronto didn't put its best foot forward for Michael, but I hope the friends and family of his alter ego did. As I said before, Michael really held onto his role and didn't let his character slip,. He wasn't really Amy, but I had very little sense of the real him--I assume, however, that he's a trooper.
8. What did the exchange make you think about, either at the time, and/or
now two months later ?
It was an intellectually interesting exercise, but I found it surprisingly more difficult, tiring and disconcerting than I expected. I wonder if Michael found it so as well? As Amy's real mother, it felt very odd to me to be interacting with someone who was so patently not my child -- even though he put on a good game face.
9. What was it like being around Amy/Michael?
I liked Michael and we had a good stab at carrying on as though he were Amy.
10. How did gender play out?
Not an issue.
11. How did trust play out?
Fine most of the time. But as I mentioned, I felt a little reticient to go too deep into our conversations. Part of this is because you and I are able to talk pretty openly about most things, I think, and I found it tough to move onto sensitive ground with a stranger, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that he was really Amy. Not his fault, I might add.
12. Other comments and observations:
This was an interesting , intense, sometimes exasperating experiment--exasperating in that I was the one that would catch myself referring to Amy in the third person, while trying hard to stay on track and in character with Michael/Amy. The only thing I regret was that I didn't get to know the real Michael at all -- but that was never part of the deal.
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