Friday, July 16, 2010

Detroit July 2010

My trip started off with me already falling down exhausted. You see my one year old son screamed and cried all night, and I do mean all night. When the alarm went off at 4AM it came as a relief as it meant an escape from the little critter that I wanted to strangle by that time . . .
My flight didn’t leave until almost noon, but I’ve decided that I really need to be out of the house by 6AM when I’m flying dressed. Any later than that, and the sun will be up, and I’ll be in full view of the neighbors as I’m leaving. As it was, one of my neighbors across the street was pulling out just as I was putting my bags in the truck. He wasn’t there when I exited the house, but as I put my bags in and closed the back door of my truck, he had gotten in his car and backed it in to the street with out my noticing. It was still mostly dark, and so I have no idea if he saw me or not, and don’t really care. In the eight years that we have lived in this house, that particular neighbor has never said a word to me.
Since I was leaving the house six hours before my flight left, I had decided to stop at a Denny’s not far from the airport. As soon as I entered the restaurant, the hostess looked at me and gave me “the” grin. You know, the one that says “How cute! That’s a cross dresser”. Oh well, there are worse things in the world than having someone amused at what you are.
So I sat there in Dennys, and ate a nice omelet, slurped some coffee, and read my book to pass a couple of hours. As I sat there, taking my time for obvious reasons, I saw two women walk in wearing shorts, and giving the distinct impression of a couple of people on vacation. They both looked at me and grinned as they walked by my table, so I smiled back and returned to reading my book and sucking down caffeine. The airport was only a mile or so from the restaurant, and even dragging my feet and taking my time, I was leaving the restaurant at least three hours before my flight, so I decided to look for a pretty place to take a few pics.

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Inspired by how pretty I had felt the last time I wore a dress, I had decided to do it again but I think I made a mistake. Unlike the dress I had worn the last time, this dress was very light and floaty, which accomplished two things –
1 – It made me feel naked all day, and no, I don’t like feeling naked in public.
2 – Every gust of wind tried to lift my dress up around my waist! I spent the entire day holding the thing down when I was outside.

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Still, I did think I looked pretty decent in it!
Oh, while going through the security check point at the airport, I saw none other than the same two women who had grinned at me at Dennys. Once again they gave me a huge smile when we caught each others eyes.

When I got to Detroit and made my way to the Avis lot, I hit a bit of a snag. As he dropped us off, the bus driver told us that our names and parking spaces would be on a board – he lied. There were a dozen people standing in the heat waiting for cars to become available. It seems that they were having a bit of trouble logging cars in, and getting them cleaned and brought around for customers. There I am getting in a long line of angry people and I’m dragging two huge boxes, carrying my back pack, it’s hot as hell out, and I’ve got sweat starting to drip down my nose. Then, just to make things really interesting, every once in a while, the wind gusts up and tries to blow my dress up around my neck. Grrrrr. . . .
After about ten minutes of waiting, I told the woman at the counter that I didn’t care if the car was clean, if it was undamaged and had a full tank of gas, I’d take it! Ten minutes after that she calls me up to the counter.
“Mr Huddle?!” she calls out to all who are waiting. I was sitting on my tool box and winced at the “Mr”, but stood to approach the counter. As I did, a woman speaks up.
“Excuse me, but I was here first.” She calls out arrogantly and loudly. Considering that I’d been on the bus when she entered it at the airport, and that as a courtesy I had let her grab her bags and exit the bus before me so that she didn’t have to wait while I struggled with all of my bags, I wasn’t inclined to fall on my sword for her. Besides, maybe when she starts renting a car or two a week for a decade, they might call her up first too. Anyway, I ignored her, wiped the sweat out of my eyes, and took my keys and contract.

As I entered the Holiday Inn Express in Canton, the girl behind the counter greeted me warmly.
“Hey, welcome back!” she said with a huge smile as I approached the counter.
“Thanks! Boy, y’all are keeping it kind of warm around here these days aren’t ya?” I asked with a laugh.
“Yeah, it’s been hot like this all week now.” She said, shaking her head.
“Well, I’m kind of used to it from living in Austin Texas, but I didn’t expect it here!”

When I got in to my room, I spent a few moments washing up, because I smelled like a goat from my time waiting in the heat at the rental car lot. Next, I grabbed the wedding gown I’d bought last week and spent better than an hour and a half ironing it so I could take some pictures in it.

The gown is amazing , but is unfortunately a bit too short for me. I had to take all of the pictures in bare feet, because if I’d worn heels the dress would have been an inch or so off of the ground. Really, given the way the heat had destroyed my makeup, and made me just feel yucky, I really should have just waited for another day to play with the wedding gown, but I’d been looking forward to it all day and so I plowed ahead. Since the only way I can take self pics with my camera is to use the timer, with about an 8 second delay, I found it just impossible to set the camera, get myself in place, and try and arrange the gown before the flash. I made several attempts and all failed.

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Eventually, I dragged out my laptops video camera and tried to use it. Bad news though, apparently it’s incapable of capturing a good image at a distance. This was the best I could get with it.

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The next day I drove two hours round trip AND worked 12 hours straight. The bad news – it was a damned long day. The good news – it meant I was gonna be free the entire next day! Would you believe that I slept until almost noon the next day? Sigh . . .
I spent three or four hours responding to customers emails and doing my service reports. After all, the jobs gotta come first, because if I don’t do my job, ALL of the fun comes to a screeching halt. Still, fairly early I was heading out to see a movie. It wasn’t really my first choice, but I watched “The Sorcerers Apprentice”. Not a bad movie, but sort of aimed at younger teens I think. It was cute enough, and had a couple of great one liners, but it’s in no danger of making my favorite movie list.

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I returned to my hotel long enough to use the restroom, and then headed to an Italian restaurant called Maria’s in Ferndale. The food there is really very good, the owner almost always comes up to speak to me, and they are very friendly and accepting of alternative life styles, like, oh, say, cross dressers. I was in the parking lot across the street from Maria’s, loading up the parking meter, when Dora the Explorer walked right past me. No, I wasn’t hallucinating or drunk, Dora the Explorer walked by me not more than five feet away. I have no idea what kind of event or show must have been going on in the area, but it was someone about 5 foot tall and in a full costume. Unfortunately she was gone by the time I got my camera out of my bag, so you will just have to take my word for it.

I was going to go to SoHo for karaoke after dinner, but as 9 PM approached I realized that I was exhausted AND had to be up in the morning for my flight home anyway. I stood outside of the restaurant for a minute or so trying to make up my mind, and eventually decided I just didn’t have it in me. In the end I think I made the right call though, because by the time I made the drive back to my hotel, got cleaned up, and got my bags all packed, it was midnight.

On the flight home, I decided to wear pants and my all time favorite top. I love this top, but it really has to be worn with pants. For me to wear a blouse this elaborate with a skirt just doesn’t seem to work – it’s too much. As I exited the Avis shuttle bus at the airport, I approached a huge escalator with my bags. As I’ve done literally hundreds of times, I pulled / flung my tool box around from behind me so that I could push it in front of me up the escalator. Usually the tool box simply slides across the floor smoothly and in a fluid motion, and continues rolling with out interruption. This time things didn’t go quite so smoothly though. Can you just imagine my joy when my tool box opens up wide, slinging all of it’s contents across the floor? It took me five minutes or so to pick it all up and pack it away again, and every moment of it I was blushing in embarrassment.

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My connecting flight was in Chicago and there I had a three hour wait. The thing is, the longer I sat there, the more I felt like people were starring at me, and the more I felt like a freak. This happens only rarely to me these days, but it does still happen. At last, it just got to be more than I could stand and so I made my way to the “Family / Special Needs” bathroom where I started stripping off my clothes and washing up. It takes me about ten or fifteen minutes to get the makeup off and clothes changed, so I was more than a little dismayed to hear a knock on the door just as soon as I started scrubbing my face. I can hear two or three children and their mother outside the door, but I’ve just destroyed my makeup, so I have no choice but to just plow ahead and get changed. I yelled that I would be a minute or two, kind of hoping she might go to another restroom, but apparently she had her heart set on this one, and I hear them laughing and talking right outside the door the entire time I’m scrubbing makeup off and getting my clothes on. At last, I’m back to being Matt and then start stuffing my female outfit in to my back pack. Feeling like a heel with a mother and children outside needing to use the room that I’ve now occupied for almost ten minutes, and I hit a major snag. My purse, heels, breast forms, and outfit don’t fit in my freaking bag! I consider how embarrassing it’s going to be to make the rest of the trip carrying my heels or my purse, but eventually hit on the idea of taking out my paper back books, note books, and a couple of odds and ends to make room for the female things. With my bag stuffed to bursting, and with more than a little effort, I at last get all of the embarrassing things in the bag and get it zipped up. When I exited the bathroom, it was with a bulging backpack and carry an armload of books and notebooks. I looked at the poor mother and offered a lame excuse.
“I’m so sorry, I just needed to clean up rather badly.” I told her. Hey, at least it had the virtue of being the truth! She just kind of looked at me, saying nothing as she herded her children in to the bathroom. I made the remainder of my journey as Matthew, feeling bummed and depressed, and I STILL feel guilty for making that poor mother wait for the bathroom.
Sigh . . .

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