Saturday, January 2, 2010

High Heels and Snow

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This week I was off to Longmont Colorado to install a mass spectrometer and to train the customer in it’s operation. Colorado is an absolutely beautiful state and I do tend to enjoy my trips there, but this time it was a bit colder than I like, and with more than a little snow.
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It seems that there are so many TG’s flying these days that no one even bats an eye at me in the airports anymore. I consider that to be a mixed blessing sort of thing, because on some level I guess I had been enjoying the reactions that I used to get. It had amused me to see people do a double take, re-evaluate their preconceptions, and then step up to the plate and treat me like a human being. Not these days though – it’s just business as usual with everyone involved, with me being treated no better or worse than anyone else

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My flight was a direct one from Austin to Denver and so I arrived fairly early in the day. As this was just a travel day, it gave me most of the afternoon to have fun, and so I did! I started by plotting out the Goodwill stores between the airport and Longmont and found two that I headed out for. The first was on Colfax avenue in Denver / Aurora, and if you have ever spent any time in the area, you probably know that Colfax is not one of the safest or nicest areas to visit. My wife and I had lived only a couple of miles from there when I was attending a year long course on Lowery AFB many years ago, and so I knew this, but still I didn’t let it intimidate me. The first thing I noticed as I stepped out of the car in the parking lot was that high heels were less than ideal on snow and ice. I just reminded myself that if I took small and careful steps, I would probably avoid making a complete ass out of myself by ending up on my face or backside.
As I closed the car door, I noticed two African American women approaching me in the parking lot, also headed for the Goodwill entrance. To be honest, they looked just a bit on the rough side, with both of them looking tired and disheveled. As I locked the car door and started to make my way to the store, I glanced at them both and gave them a smile, and then one of them spoke to me.
“Girl, don’t you look pretty!” she said while returning my smile.
“Well thank you! I try anyway.” I replied. While we were speaking, the other lady was looking at my shoes, something I have come to recognize as sort of a greeting ritual with women.
“Sweetheart, you better be careful on the snow and ice in those heels.” She said, with kind of a “tsk tsk” attitude. I just grinned at her.
“Oh hell, I have a lot of practice in these things!” I told her. About that time I had reached the door and held it open for both of them.
“Well thank you!” they both told me almost in unison and both with genuine smiles.
“It seems fair to me. You two gave me a smile after all.” I told them with a wink.
I did my shopping and found lots of baby clothes for my son. Goodwill rocks for this sort of thing because lets face it, babies do not wear out their clothing. They grow far too fast to be wearing an outfit long enough to do any damage to it, and so you can buy these cute little PJ’s that are like new for only a dollar each. I also found a cute little (and I do mean little) multicolored skirt. That one’s gonna get put away until it gets a lot warmer!
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I hit up one more thrift store on the way to Longmont but found nothing of interest there. What did amuse me a little was that as I approached the door, there was young man coming out of it. At first he paused to hold the door for me, then you could see the light in his head go off as he “read” me, and he just let the door go while giving me a mean hearted look. I just smiled at him and expect that this probably irritated him more than anything else I could have done.
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When I checked in at the Holiday Inn Express in Longmont, the lady behind the counter was a real doll. Very friendly, very professional, and clearly a really nice person. We chatted about this and that as she checked me in. At one point she let out a small whistle and commented that she had never seen anyone with as many points as I have with their chain.


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The following day was uneventful, starting off with my spending most of it with my customer. A very nice guy, originally from China, and when I took him to lunch we had an enjoyable discussion trading stories about the places we had seen and been to. After work, I drove to Loveland to meet with my half brother and his wife. I had never met her before and so was looking forward to it.
The evening was full of mixed feelings. Pleasure at seeing him again and in meeting his lovely wife, and some small sorrow as we discussed our younger lives and some of the low and high moments in them. He went through a bunch of old photos that he had acquired when our father had died and found and offered me a few that included my mother. I tried not to tear up as I looked at the pictures of this young, skinny, and beautiful woman that had given me life and love and who was now gone. So, an evening catching up on things and with lots of mixed emotions and feelings.
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The next morning I woke to the sight of a light snow fall through the window. Very pretty to look at as long as I didn’t have to be out in it. As I entered the dinning area of the hotel for a cup of coffee and some oatmeal, I couldn’t noticing that every single one of the half dozen women in the room were drop dead gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous. The lady at the counter was a 20 something brunette with adorable hair and glittering eyes. The lady running the breakfast was a tall blond girl, with flawless skin and piercing blue eyes. The two ladies sitting at a table eating and talking business, clearly planning their work day, were also exceptionally pretty. In the midst of all of this beauty was me, a tired old guy with crooked and yellow teeth, and no hair. Feeing old and unattractive, I once again headed out of the hotel to my customer’s facility to continue the training.
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Fortunately my customer was exceptionally sharp, and we were done at around 11AM, and so he escorted me to the exit. As we approached the door, you could see a very heavy snowfall through the windows, with the world out there being a more or less solid white. As I got in to the car, I noticed that my shoes had a heavy coating of snow and ice on them, and so I had to re-open the door and kick it off. As I was doing so, it occurred to me that the only female shoes I have are pumps, and that they weren’t gonna be a lot of fun in thick snow and ice. On the drive to the hotel, I seriously considered my options for what was feasible to do for the rest of the afternoon. Did I really want to be walking through foot deep snow wearing pumps? Would I freeze? Would I damage my shoes? ‘Maybe I should just stay drab or stay in the hotel . . .’ I thought to myself.
“Nah, not only no, but hell no! I’m gonna go shopping for boots!” I decided, and so I did!

I kept glancing out of the window as I was getting cleaned up and ready, and it was pretty much just a white haze of heavy snowfall. I tried to take a few photographs that would do the snowfall justice, but I’m afraid they failed to capture the essence and wonder of the thing.

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As I made it to my rental car, I discovered that in the short time it had been parked, it was already covered in snow, and with a nice layer of ice over the windows. Joy of joys – it is now that I find out that Avis had not provided me with a ice scrapper, so I just let the car and defroster run long enough to clear most of the windshield and then headed out.
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The first place I hit up on my search for boots was Kohls, but I didn’t find any boots there that I liked. As long as I was there though, I decided to continue to browse the other areas of the store. As I was looking through their trinkets, bracelets, and necklaces, I noticed a blond woman, very well dressed and quite pretty, and it was with a shock that I realized that she was almost certainly a TG! I wasn’t positive, and so I kept glancing at her trying to make up my mind and maybe hoping to catch her eye to start a conversation. At one point she and I were on opposite sides of the same rack, and still she had never looked my way, so I took the plunge.
“Hey, you didn’t swipe all the cute stuff before I got here did you?” I asked her with a grin. She looked up at me and laughed.
“No, I left lots of stuff!” she told me. If she was TG, she had a flawless voice, because after hearing her speak I now put the odds at only about 50%. Utterly unsure if she was or was not TG, I took the conversation no further and we went our separate ways.
The snow had of course continued to fall while I was shopping, and nothing had been done to clear the parking lot, and so off I went, traipsing through a foot of snow in my pumps. Just as I got near my car, I became acquainted with a hazard in doing this. Under the snow was a rough pile of frozen material that you couldn’t see and I had stepped squarely on top of it. I went sliding, arms waving and flailing about, trying to keep my balance and to avoid ending up on my caboose. At last, I came to a stop, just barely keeping my balance, and glanced around to see if any one had seen my performance. Sure enough, sitting in the idling car next to mine was someone keeping warm, and he was looking at me with a huge grin. I gave him an “Oops!” look and got into my car.
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Next, I tried JC Penny, and this time I found boots I liked . . . but not in my size. They only came as large as a 9 and I need 10’s, so off I went again.  My next stop was Sears and Dillards in a mall across the street. The mall was clearly a victim of the economy and a lot of its shops were closed and vacant, so that was a bit of a bummer. As I entered Sears, I saw the tool section and went looking for a cheap ice scrapper for my rental car. I decided I’d rather spend two or three of my own dollars to buy a scrapper than try and improvise to get my windows clear tomorrow morning when it came time to head for the airport. As I was looking through the tool section, a fairly gruff looking SA looked at me a couple of times and at last gave a half hearted offer of help.
“Can I help you?” he asks in a tone making it clear his offer is not in the least bit sincere.
“Yes please. I need a window scrapper for my rental car.” I told him.
“You mean for automotive?” he asks in a bored tone. Of course I’m thinking to myself that ‘Yes, wanting it for my rental car did sort of imply automotive’ but I wasn’t gonna take the risk of being a smart ass with this guy.
“Yes,” I repeated, “For my car.”  He looked at me for a second and then pointed a bit further down the store,
“Automotive is that way. Ask one of those guys.” He says dismissively and then walks away.
“Thanks so much!” I told his back with a smile, while thinking ‘what an asshole’ to myself. Ice scrapper in hand, I headed to their shoe section where I again found no boots that met my apparently unusual desires. I want black leather, knee high, two and a half to three inch heels, and with a rounded toe. Why is that so damned hard to find? I HATE the pointed toe boots because I think they are ugly, make my feet look huge, and remind me of the wicked witch’s shoes.
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After I paid for my ice scrapper, I headed out of Sears and entered the mall to make my way to Dillards, but on my way to Dillards I came across a “Famous Footwear” store and entered it. As I walked in, there was a short and petite young man wearing a name tag who glanced up at me.
“You look gorgeous!” he said in a very enthusiastic and effeminate demeanor. He paused and took a look at my pumps.
“I love those shoes, and in plaid too!” he said.
“Thank you so much!” I told him, blushing at the unexpected warmth of his greeting.
“Now all I need is a set of boots so I have something a bit more appropriate for your weather here.” 
“Let me know if I can help you.” He said with a smile, while waving his hand in the generally direction of the boots. I browsed through them and found a pair that I liked, but they also only had size nines on the shelf. I knew it was probably pointless, but still I went to ask the SA if they might have them in a larger size in stock. As I approached him, he was speaking with another 20 something year old male and I could hear little bits as I approach.
“Honey, I’ve never owned that kind of heel. I like these!” one is saying to the other. Clearly I am not the only male in the store that wears high heels. Oh well, as I had suspected, they did not have the boots I liked in a larger size, and so once again I had struck out. I continued on to Dillards where I was well treated, but again failed to find any that I liked.
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Giving up on the search for boots for the day, I headed off to the movie theater I had passed in the same mall. As I made my way through the almost empty mall, I passed two or three groups of teenagers, and none paid me the least bit of attention.
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I watched the new “Twilight” movie, about a young lady that falls in love with a vampire, and then manages to seriously complicate things by latter falling in love with a werewolf – the mortal enemy of vampires. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and found it oddly touching, but I can’t say much more with out being a spoiler. I couldn’t help but grin as I heard at least a dozen women and girls in the theater gasp at the last line at the end of the movie.
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After the movie I slowly made my way to the hotel, more than a little surprised that there didn’t seem to be much effort to clear the streets in a place that gets so much snow. That’s OK though, I had lived in Denver for a year, and in Bavaria Germany for three, and so I have fairly decent skills for driving in snow. As I entered the hotel lobby, the clerk behind the counter gives me a smile as I stomp the snow off of my pumps. I just shook my head as I spoke to her.
“Important note to self – high heels and ice . . . “ I paused, and then we both finished the sentence together.
“ . . . do not mix”, I said.
“. . . are a bad idea!” she said at the same time with a laugh.

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