a.k.a. Profile Glitch is a story about three women, Marty, Maeve and Johanna, who form an unlikely but close friendship while living together at an intentional community in Freeville, New York.
Johanna, a thirty-two year old attorney, born into a family with aristocratic lineage grew up in a mansion in Northwest Germany. She always dreamt of being an organic farmer, but because of familial and societal pressures, she pursued a career in law. Her parents' conservative values and the pressure placed on her to find a suitable husband has left Johanna feeling sexually stifled. Looking for an opportunity to break free, Johanna moves to the United States and becomes a member of a rural intentional community.
Maeve is a thirty year-old fashion design student at the Art Institute of Chicago. She grew up in Far Rockaway Queens, NY and studied physics at City College in part to be like her mother, a high school chemistry teacher. Although a good student and naturally talented in science, she became distracted by the art scene and the nightlife. She's always had difficulty making friends and deals with this by alienating herself further – with her abrasiveness, her style (she dressed goth in high school) and by leading a self-destructive lifestyle. She is a disappointment to her family for leaving her community and pursuing an artistic and materialistic career, and she feels guilty about this decision. She has an affair with one of her professors in Chicago and when the rumors, the drama, and the professor's possessiveness become too much, she escapes to the commune.
Marty, perhaps the most troubled character of the three, is a twenty-eight-year-old aspiring writer who recently dropped out of graduate school because she plagiarized part of her thesis. She moves home with her dad, returns to her high-school job and continues to write at night. Marty is oblivious of her appearance and wears clothes that do not fit correctly. "Comfort over fashion" is her motto, but it is really because of laziness that she is so unkempt. Marty's hair is greasy; she picks at herself constantly and she has a dark mustache growing in. Marty moves to the commune because she views it as a retreat where she will have time to finish her novel. She is sorely disappointed when she realizes how demanding communal life is.
Marty is the first of the three to arrive at the community and quickly discovers how much she hates doing chores. She bargains to get out of doing any actual physical labor and when Maeve and Johanna arrive, Marty offers to show them around in exchange for a day off of laundry duty. She gives the new-comers a tour of the garden, the tofu cooking area, the communal kitchen, and finally, how to use and clean the composting toilet. The three women soon become friends.
Their different socio/economic backgrounds do not matter in the commune and their personality flaws oddly balance one another. Marty starts to become self-aware in relationship to others. The small microcosm of the commune and her bond with her new friends gives her a sense of confidence, both in her writing and in her ability to deal with life challenges. She begins to adjust her physical appearance to a more "socially acceptable" feminine role, which is terribly ironic in this liberal and open community. Although her attempts to change are forced and at times a little extreme, Marty begins to realize she has an impact on the people around her.
Johanna begins to let go of her refined exterior and becomes more relaxed both in her physical appearance as well as in her attitudes towards sex. The commune provides a safe social environment for her to explore her identity apart from her aristocratic family circles. She has her first love affair and is inspired by Marty to start writing.
Maeve has a harder time adjusting to the commune. She enjoys working with her hands, the countryside, the organic food and the lack of authoritarian structure. She and Marty become friends very quickly and over time she develops an affinity for Johanna, but the other members are not like she imagined. They seem hypocritical, manipulative and mean spirited underneath their fake enlightened exteriors. After a few months she leaves the community and returns to Chicago.
Over the course of several months, Marty develops a bad blister on her toe. She doesn't tell anyone and it grows more and more infected. Eventually she has to leave the commune because she develops a staph infection.
Johanna is the last to leave. She knows she eventually must return to Germany to deal with her responsibilities but she is scared to face her parents and her circles of high-society friends. She seeks refuge at her brother's place in Hamburg and starts working at his furniture store.
Back at home with her dad, Marty struggles to find the motivation to finish her novel and decides it would be easier to start an on-line Blog recounting her experiences at the commune. She contacts Maeve and Johanna through an on-line social network, thinking they might write some of the content for her, but to her surprise, they are unhappy with her use of their lives as material. Through a series of web-video exchanges Maeve and Johanna attempt to intervene and shut down Marty's on-line writing experiment.