Wednesday, June 20, 2018

OTRA - Part 2 Something good & something not so much...

The car attendant on the train from DC to Chicago referred to me using the dreaded S-word.  But in fairness, he may well have had access to my personal information on a preprinted manifest.  So no harm, no foul.   Several passengers referred to me as female.  That’s fine with me!

In discussion during the trip, the car attendant mentioned that he was getting a new job and that this trip was his last one.  So his replacement (temporary OR permanent) will see wifey and I together only on our return trip.  With the possibility of serving 40-plus customers per trip, his (or her) having only seen us together once makes it more likely that they won’t associate the face and the name for my planned mid-to-late August trip (which is still being worked on.)   That’s the good news.

The bad news is:  one of the Amtrak workers at Union Station in DC, with whom we both deal on many of our trips, remembers me AND my wife.  She now associates my wife and I as being a couple.  That’s a good indication I must take much more care regarding femininity there!  

With the exception of the dining car, where I was addressed as “Ma’am” the train staff on the San Antonio train generally avoided any gender-specific greetings for me (us).  However, on many occasions, other passengers interpreted me as female…

Though we’ve ridden a train over this route several times in years past, it’s always good to notice new sights.  Especially because the railroad parallels historic and legendary US Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif for part of its route in Illinois. (Rt. 66 is called The Mother Road, as described by its fans)  Much of it is in the country, but there are sections in small town rural America.   Below is a picture of a well-kept gas station along what was called The Mother Road…

And also a picture of the Palamar Motel, a historic property in the 50’s style, somewhere along the way.   One can also see occasional disconnected portions of the very old  original concrete roadway, all cracked and weed-grown.  But they still remain very much a part of the landscape there.

Next is a view of the St. Louis Arch – the gateway to the West – from the train on the railroad bridge over the Mississippi River, at sunset.    That’s a viewpoint you don’t get to see unless you’re on the train.

And lastly, a selfie of my typical attire for this excursion, taken alongside the train during a smoke stop at the Dallas train station.   Before we left, I asked wifey if I should bring a pair of stirrup pants in case dressing up might be appropriate.  She said "No, I'd rather you bring capris with pantyhose instead.  They'll be dressy enough for anything we might do - women like them because they look less casual than shorts.  And remember, you look nice in them. "  So that's what I brought, and will have to wear if we need to dress up.  

In case you wondered, that object rising like a huge tree trunk with holes in it behind and above the train is Dallas's  Reunion Tower.

The rest of the train travel to San Antonio was unremarkable....but on a train, it's always fun!

More to follow... 


Sunday, June 17, 2018

On The Road Again, Part 1

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…

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A quickie...

Today I was out walking in the town where Mom's nursing home is located.  My attire was simple...a ladies' pastel blue polo (untucked), tan pocketless (and rather short) shorts with a 3" inseam, taupe pantyhose, my brown clogs, with no makeup, jewelry or purse, simply carrying my phone and car keys.

From the archives, these shorts, with different shoes and blouse, and no purse:

A lady and her male friend were walking behind me in a nearby park (I could hear their footsteps as they approached at a slightly faster speed).  But it's a decent no safety worries.   As they drew up alongside me, the lady looked over and said "excuse me, Ma'am, but are those dance tights you're wearing?"

Wow, here I am, with no way to escape having a legitimate discussion with a lady about my pantyhose, and her boyfriend/husband/significant other is right there beside her.  I put my voice up a few octaves, hoping it wouldn't crack.  "Thanks for the compliment, hon, but no, they're just sheer pantyhose."  "As good as those look on you, I need to start wearing them when I exercise...are they comfortable?"  "Yes, Ma'am, very comfortable - they fit like a dream."  "Where did you get them, if I might ask?"  "They're 'Just My Style' day sheers, and you can find them at  Maybe other places on line, too.  I hope when you get them, you enjoy wearing them as much as I do."  "I'm sure I will - your legs look wonderful.  Thanks, for the info, Ma'am."  "Thank you for the kind words, Ma'am."

The male with her just kept on walking straight ahead...and didn't so much as look to either side.  You could almost hear him thinking:  "OMG - women and their girl talk...I really don't care where they buy their pantyhose."

While there haven't been many Mandy moments lately, this one really made my day...or week...or maybe month.  Can't wait for the next moment!