Highlander Diaries: Body swapping

What do some of our Highlander writers have to say about living as an object or animal for one day?

As human beings who were born with vocal cords that enable our voices to be heard and cerebrums complex enough to process speech, we are privileged to be able to communicate our thoughts and feelings. Whether it be telling the teacher that you don’t think getting marked 10 points off for not single-spacing is unfair or letting your significant other know that it detests you when they burp out loud, being heard not only in a physical sense but in a symbolic realm is a crucial aspect of the social, industrialized and structured human experience.

But what happens when you wake up without the ability to verbally defend yourself and the privilege of interaction? Is it possible that we can still learn about the human condition as animals without the capabilities of language or as inanimate objects who cannot speak at all? Let’s see what a few of our Highlanders-turned-rock-fruit fly-and-armchair have to say about the possible educational benefits behind morphing based on their unexpected and unorthodox body-swapping experiences.


Author: Fruit fly

Human form: Martha Delgado, CW

Title: Gotta fly before time flies

30 March 2017

Dear Diary,

Yesterday morning, when I jumped out of bed, I looked down to realize I was starting to float atop of my room. I flew to the mirror on the side of my bathroom door but couldn’t find my body reflected until I crashed into it. Even though I had shaven my legs the night before, all the hairs grew back overnight. But my eyes were more highly dimensional than usual. They were red too. Shoot, red and burgundy don’t match so now I can’t wear my burgundy sweater. But aside from that, I was small — smaller than a size 0!   

I was a fruit fly! I was a fruit fly in my bedroom!

I needed to get out before my roommate would find me and smash me with her toothbrush. The window in the bathroom was open, so I zoomed through it hoping to get out. But I immediately crashed against the fly catcher. I tried to shimmy through the very small holes, but my body was too big. I gave up trying to pass through the fly catcher when the sun rose, and I realized I was an hour old already. I wasn’t sure how long flies live, but I knew it wasn’t more than a few days.

I wandered into the kitchen where I found a couple of flies sitting on the countertop. I tried to speak but only buzzes came out of my mouth. Similarly, only buzzes came out of the other flies. I called the fly across from me Fly 3. Fly 2 was the fly that landed next to me seconds later.

An acid smell caught my nose, or what I think was my nose, that came from the back of the room. Fly 2 started to fly toward the back of room. I recognized the smell as the fly trapper my roommate set up last quarter. I tried to buzz to warn Fly 2, but it kept flying toward the smell. Once Fly 2 got to the back, I never saw them again … I think … they all look alike so it may have been some other fly that flew into the trap.

A minute later, another fly landed on the counter. I think Fly 3 and Fly 4 got along too well. Thirty minutes into sitting and chill, Fly 3 and Fly 4 already got married. Three seconds later, their 200 children were born. And me? Well I was still hanging onto the wall wondering what I was doing with my life at four hours old.

And when I woke up the next morning as a 19-year-old human, I still didn’t know what I was doing.

Feeling buzzed and perplexed,

Martha


Author: A rock

Human form: Jasmine Yamanaka, SSW

Title: A rocky love story

31 March, 2017

Dear Diary,

This morning I woke up as the lowest of the low, a morsel of the dirt-filled coating of the Earth’s crust, a fragment of the mundane and monotone of the general area humans simply refer to as “the ground.” I don’t know how it happened or why it did, but I woke up this morning as a rock.

Not The Rock like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Not Rock with the first name “Chris” nor Kid Rock, the rock-country-blues rapper.

All of those people have accomplished something substantial in this world … with the exception of the latter because I’m not quite sure what he does. I just got that description from a Wikipedia article I looked up back when I had human hands.

I — as I can now confidently and accurately describe myself as having reached rock bottom — am equivalent to nothing. No one wants to get to know me. I am constantly being stepped on to the point where I can guess how much someone weighs simply by comparing what they look like to how hard I sink into the ground when they step on me. I am used as a reference to stupidity (“Is your brain a rock?”) and dullness (“You’re more boring than a pile of rocks”). I am lower than trash because at least they were once used for something. I am zero. Perhaps exchange me for some food in a Micronesian island like Palau where rai stones were used as currency. But that was thousands of years ago and even those rocks were distinguishable with their circular, disk-like shape and distinctive donut hole interior. I’m the kind of rock which is uniformly grey with numerous rough spots like acne and a diameter no larger than a piece of crap.

I’m just a rock. Perhaps I have a type. Maybe I have a name. But everyone else around here looks just like me. At least those darn rai stones could be as tall as an evergreen tree and also as small as a baby’s hand.

I met a rock named Red Eye the other day. Of course they weren’t actually named that. I couldn’t even talk to them. I just named them that in my rocky, hollow metaconscious because they happened to be blessed with some sort of distinguishing peculiarity, which was a bright red dot on the upper right corner of their face as far as I could see from where they were once sitting and from where I am still sitting as I “speak.” I couldn’t ask Red Eye what the dot was or how they got it and who knows if Red Eye ever acknowledged my existence. I’ve just given them the benefit of the doubt that they were a nice person, had they been a person, just because they were lovely to look at after seeing nothing but a million or two rocks just like myself.

Then at around the 10th hour of the day, some kid ran up and threw Red Eye into the pond. I could have cried enough tears to fill that whole pond but I couldn’t because I’m a rock. I felt so much for Red Eye because they were the scorching red sun spot to my grey gravel world. They were different. They switched things up for me.

Point here is … I became a rock, I still am a rock and perhaps I will always be a rock for as long as I exist in this ecosystem of more fortunate beings. It sucks and I hate it just like everyone else around here.

But everything is relative in life. I can no longer say that I’m not happy because I am no longer human. Human problems are no longer mine and I have proven to myself that I can still be happy like how I was with Red Eye. Red Eye was a rock. But I am a rock too. I would have overlooked them any day of the week back when I was a human. But they were my Red Eye and they were special to me in the most strange and unexpected of ways. And I guess … that’s really all it takes for someone or something to rock your whole entire existence, no matter how tiny or insignificant it may be.

Yours truly and perpetually,

A rock


Author: An armchair

Human form: Edward Dave, SW

Title: A butt’s best friend

1 April, 2017

Dear Diary,

My goodness. I never knew how painstaking it would be to deal with people’s butts all day. Literally. I woke up as the living room armchair, and every hour I’ve had my stuffing sunken in by a myriad of people. My dad is a 300-pound man. Imagine trying to sustain yourself as you’re fighting for dear life under a man weighing a ton. The moment he had to leave for work may have possibly been one of my most treasured moments. Not too long after that, my grandma sat down and let her skinny butt muscles relax. The weight wasn’t as bad, but her prickly bones nearly ruptured all of my stuffing. It would have been a ghastly sight. Had she continued sitting for any second longer, I wouldn’t be able to share my grim story.

Oh wait, there’s more. When my younger brother came back from band practice around 5 p.m., I thought God had rang me through the wasteland long enough. “Not enough,” he must have recited from the heavenly clouds. My brother is an A1 punk. He has also been cursed with the most vile of gases to ever exit a human being. Each fart that flapped out of his buttocks was tantamount to a toxin that nearly melted the cushion. What do they feed kids at elementary school these days? I don’t want to live the rest of my life nestling butts! If people knew the agony I have to endure, perhaps they’d be a little more meticulous with how they prop their butts onto furniture. Chairs are tougher than humans. Yeah, I said it. And, we don’t complain. We’re silent fighters.

I just wish people wouldn’t take chairs for granted. They not only allow you to unload but are also one of the only things in the world that stay sturdy. People can learn a lot from the durability of a well-made chair. Chairs have more stability than most humans do. That’s definitely something to be admired. Chairs are made to last. Don’t be the person who disrespects chairs. If there were no chairs in the world, how would someone sit down in a classroom without fatigue? Honor your chairs, and they’ll be faithful back.

Tired of being sat on,

An armchair

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