To all my readers who celebrate Easter, may you have a safe, happy and healthy holiday!
Recently I was making some repairs to a piece of furniture, using our antique staple gun to reattach a loose back. And wouldn’t you know, the stapler ran out of staples. Couldn’t find any around the house. So, off to the local hardware store…in my everyday women’s stirrup pants outfit and ballet flats, carrying my purse. I asked the young lady at the checkout counter where to find them. She told me, and said “I’ll have someone meet you in aisle 10, Ma’am.” “Thank you so much, Miss.”
As I stood there, blankly staring at the old staple gun and trying to figure out how to open it, a 20-something young man approached. (Bear in mind that the staple gun was probably 30 years older than the clerk, and did not have any staple info on it.) “May I help you, Ma’am?”
So I asked him if he could find some staples that will work. And after having struggled to get it open, I couldn’t resist saying I couldn’t get it to open either, but didn’t want to break a nail. Which got a laugh out of him as he worked. It took trying about 10-12 different sizes of staples, before finding one which fit. That consumed almost 15 minutes…but I was so happy to have them, it didn’t really matter! New staple guns cost about 3 to 5 times what the pack of staples did.
At the checkout counter, the clerk omitted gender-specific terms. No problem with that approach: the good news is that it was another day during which I didn’t hear the dreaded “S” word!
Had a (rare) occasion to visit a big box store during our visit to the kids' place in TN before Christmas, in my everyday attire – stirrup pants, turtleneck tunic, flats with trouser socks, and of course, long hair and nails, purse, a mask, and a women’s heavy hoodie due to the cold. Didn’t notice any questioning glances from passers-by. But when I stopped to ask a nearby twentysomething female stock clerk where to find the product I needed, it prompted a strange reaction.
“Pardon me, Miss, where will I find ________?” She looked up at me from her duties, stared like she’d seen a ghost, and stuttered out something like “Oh sorry Miss - ummm Ma’am - ummm Sir, I don’t know, but I’ll get someone who does.” She called a different clerk on her communicator to help me there in aisle 24, and then said “Excuse me now.” And she skedaddled for parts unknown.
She didn’t have her name tag on, so without a "lineup," identification would be difficult, and I desperately wanted to make my purchase so I could get out of there as soon as possible. With the virus running rampant these days, and being in the heart of the bible belt, the issue simply wasn’t worth pursuing, for my own physical well-being. There's a rotten apple in every barrel, and at the end of the day, that rotten apple eventually gets discarded. (Like that pharmacy clerk who was fired for his actions against me a while back.) Thankfully the male clerk who showed up was able to help, without any gender references (a professional response) and he took it in stride.
I wonder if perhaps the girl was a seasonal hire without sufficient diversity training, very religious and thus not wanting to associate in any way with, or even speak to, “one of those tranny sinners,” or just plain out-and-out bigoted. I’ll never know, but for the time we’ve spent in the south, it’s likely the first bad reaction I’ve noted.
And at the gas station where I picked up a snack right afterward, I was addressed as female, by a 20something female.
As it should be…
Recently I had a physical therapy appointment.
That day, the only two staff members present who had seen me previously seen me were the female receptionist (out front), and a new 20-something male staff member who has only seen me a couple times. (He has not previously used any gender-specific forms of address for me, though when I started going to that office, there was confusion.) This 50something female therapist was new to me, and was obviously a substitute, since my "regular" male therapist was absent. Naturally, I once again precipitated some confusion... (It wasn't the first time, and it probably won't be the last!)
My "outfit du jour" was: tan stirrup pants with ballet flats, and a short sleeve long tunic top (untucked.) I was wearing a womens' sweater, and carrying my purse. Accoutrements were my now-long (I need a manicure) pinkish fingernails and long hair. No makeup or jewelry.
The session started off normally, with regular warm-up exercises "alone." Then the therapist came in and began the session. As she worked, she noticed my fingernails, and complimented them, with the usual "girl talk" about our nails and keeping them up. Then came additional typical "girl talk" about kids and grandkids. So far, so good, and the conversation stayed generic. She loved my long hair, and that (as well as hair color) became another topic for a short discussion.
Eventually the "my spouse" discussion surfaced, as did discussion about kids' and grandkids' names as well. What tipped me off about the direction the discussion was heading: it included origins of the names and their history in families. Case in point - my given name - which does have a family history. You may remember my mentioning that it used to be a predominantly male name (Dad and Granddad), and which over the past 40 years has been given mostly to newborn females.
We continued our discussion, and it apparently solidified her inkling that "all is not what it seems to be." I didn't sense any problem or concern with it, but when she inquired how I wished to be addressed, that made "what was on her mind" obvious. Since this office was rather close to home, and people in town talk, I indicated that because of my preference for long hair and pretty nails, comfortable clothes, and the convenience of carrying a purse, it's easier to simply respond to either form of address.
As the session ended, there was no issue whatsoever, all was well, and she addressed me in the manner plainly shown on their records - as a guy. "Follow the records" is always the safe course. Unlike the clerk at the pharmacy from a while back (who got fired as a result of his extreme antagonism toward me), this was truly a case of: "no harm, no foul."
And "as a guy" is the same way my regular therapist refers to me anyway...LOL!
So now, on to the next adventure...
Steam’s days were numbered by this time…
Dad and Mom were on a trip to Florida by train back in 1951, headed east on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s great Broad Way…the 4-track east-west main line through the Appalachian Mountains.
One of the obstacles in building this stretch of railroad was a heavy grade. So the railroad’s designers devised a route through the mountains which involved a horseshoe-shaped route to make it over the hill with a les-severe gradient.
Dad liked photography, thus these pictures came to be. Yes, I wish they were sharper, but what can you expect from a standard lens camera and slow (ASA 25) film? At least he made the effort to take them!
Notice those spiffy new E-units on the point of Dad's train, all shiny in their tuscan red? Steam was on the way out... And now, 70 years later, passenger trains are almost gone, too!
Thanks, Dad - for leaving these reminders of the way things used to be!