A train trip my wife and I had been planning for some time to San Antonio, Texas came together recently. And naturally, it required a drive across the Bay Bridge (toward Baltimore) to catch the train. There have been several traffic jams recently on or at the bridge…and we fortunately have not been involved. But we wanted to avoid any traffic issues which could cause us to miss our train on departure day.
Thus, we drove over the bridge the previous day, and stayed at a motel near the train station. What a treat that was… When I checked in, wearing women’s tan shorts, a women’s polo top, bare legs and women’s white sneakers, with my purse, pink nails and long hair, the twentysomething desk clerk addressed me as “Miss Mandy” (of course, using my now-female real given name.” This was in spite of having had my male ID for check-in. Fabulous! But I was actually happy that my wife had remained in the car for that check-in, as I had no idea where this fun at the beginning of our expedition might lead. (Not that I had any choice in attire, hair or nail styles, or having to carry a purse.)
Once settled in at the motel, we headed for a restaurant in the area which has really good crab cakes (more crab meat, not too much seasoning, and less filler than others use.) And though the host didn’t use any female forms of address for us, he didn’t use any male terms for me, either. That didn’t begin till the “seater” escorted us to our table. “Will this be OK, ladies?” My response: “Yes, thanks.” And when the twentysomething female server arrived, “ladies” and “Ma’am” became the norm. I couldn’t do much with my voice, so “it is what it is.” And as we left, a rain shower (no, actually a deluge - the sky was falling) began. We waited in the covered walkway for it to let up…and several passers-by used “ladies” to refer to us.
The next day, we headed for the station. Remember, as background: my wife’s bags were much lighter and smaller than mine, as usual. Thus she didn’t need help. I still pack like the girl of the family. She obviously doesn’t.
When our train to DC finally pulled in, we were among the last to board. I held both tickets, thus I announced to the conductor that “she’s with me and I have her ticket.” No issue. When we found seats (separately but near each other as the train was quite full) I started lifting my bags into the overhead racks, and a gentleman jumped right up: “here, let me help you Ma’am.” And he hoisted both bags up for me. Since my wife wasn’t right there with me (she already had taken a seat), I spoke in softer, more girly tones and said to the man “Oh my, thanks Sir. But I'll need help to get them down, too! “ His response – with a smile -“No problem, Ma’am.” And when the time came, he did! My wife didn’t say anything – I’m really not sure how much of the exchange she overheard.
The conductor helped me lift my bags off the train in DC, and once inside the station, another gentleman helped me move them up a short set of steps, in full view of my wife. "Thank you soooo much, Sir!"
This could be an interesting trip…