I’ve got this overwhelming feeling lately that I’m getting too old to be happy cross dressing and that my “run” may well be nearing it’s end. I’ve gotta tell you that the very thought depresses the hell outta me. It’s hard to describe the feeling that I’ve always had when I crossdress, and probably close to impossible for anyone that doesn’t share it to understand it. Most of my life I have felt ugly, both inside and outside, but when I crossdress I feel beautiful. My favorite analogy is that I go from looking and feeling like a caterpillar to looking (I hope) and feeling like a butterfly. What’s left when I no longer have that option – when all I see in the mirror looking back at me is someone who is old and ugly all of the time? Anyway, fearing that the end is approaching for my crossdressing adventure, I’ve started to look for new or interesting things to do and wear lately – things that I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to. One of those things is womens suits and so I’ve picked up a couple of them lately when I found really good deals on them.
With the suit I wore this day, I wore a long black blouse that is kind of a contradiction. In most ways it is exceedingly prim and proper with long sleeves, a high neck, and a pleated front. Very modest and lady-like. At least that’s the way it looks at first glance – right up until you notice that the entire breast area is nothing but see-through lace. So – the blouse is a little good girl AND a little bad girl.
This time I was flying US Airways to Greensville NC where a mining company in the area was using several of our Infrared mass spectrometers. When I checked in at the counter, it was a male attendant that took care of me and he made no attempt at all to hide the fact that he flat out didn’t like me. Despite his less than friendly attitude, I thanked him when he handed me my tickets and baggage claim stubs, and he literally just stared at me and said nothing at all. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to push the girl that makes my travel arrangements a little harder to put me on Delta airlines from now on. . . That’s what I was thinking up until I handed the lady at the gate my ticket to board the plane anyway.
“You ALWAYS wear the cutest shoes!” she said with an honest smile.
“Thank you! I do have kind of a thing for pretty shoes don’t I?” I replied with a grin.
On the flight to Charlotte and then on to Greensville, no one paid the slightest bit of attention to me. At least they paid me no attention until the flight landed in one of the smallest airports I can recall being in. I think they had two gates and only one baggage belt, so there we were in a tiny airport of a small town, and people had nothing better to do but check out the other folks standing around. I caught at least a dozen people staring at me, all of whom quickly looked away when I glanced their direction. I knew then and there that I was not going to fly out of Greensville dressed as even I don’t have the confidence to sit there and be stared at for hours.
When I got to the Avis rental car counter, there was a huge man behind the counter. When I say huge, I don’t mean fat, I mean that this guy was built like a quarterback, with huge arms, a neck wider than my thigh, and close cropped hair. With my confidence kind of low, which seems more and more common these days, I really wasn’t looking forward to interacting with what was obviously a pretty macho guy, especially knowing that I was gonna have to hand him my male drivers license and remove any doubts that he might have about my real gender. Imagine my pleasant surprise when he turned out to be the nicest person that I had spoken to the entire day. Even after reviewing my drivers license the man was honestly friendly and a pleasure to talk to. Just goes to show that I shouldn’t jump to conclusions about someone based on how they look. You know – I should extend the same courtesy to others that I hope to get myself.
Once I arrived at the hotel, I glanced at myself in the rearview mirror and was horrified at what I found there. Despite being synthetic, and supposedly not terribly sensitive to humidity, my hair was flat, drab, and entirely unattractive. I wasted a moment or two trying and failing to fluff it up and make it presentable, and then I made my way to the hotel check-in counter through a light rain.
“Wow! It just started pouring rain about ten minutes ago!” said the lady behind the counter.
“Yeah, that figures! Just in time to get me wet getting in here from the car! You know, when I left Texas this morning I had country girl big hair!” I told her with a wink and was pleased to hear her laugh at my lame joke.
The next day, I was in the hotel eating breakfast before heading out to my customers location, and three guys took the table next to me and started talking about their options for breakfast.
“Well, they have bananas up there if you want one.” One of them said to the other. The guy he was talking to got this embarrassed look on his face.
“Uh, no, I don’t think so. I’m not really a banana kind of guy.” He replied with serious tone of distaste, giving the impression that he thought they were for sissies or for girls. I almost choked when I heard this, and then glanced at the two bananas I had sitting on the table in front of me.
‘Oh my God!’ I thought to myself. ‘All of these years and I never realized that it was the bananas doing it to me!”
When I got to my customers to do my job, they tried to kill me . . .
My first warning should have been when one of our first stops was a little office where they handed me a small canister attached to a plastic bag by a rubber hose.
“All right. Check the condition of the hose and the bag, and check that the gage is in the green. In the event of a leak, turn it on and put the bag over your head. This will keep you alive for about five minutes if you walk. Do NOT run. This will not provide enough oxygen to keep you alive if you run. Do you have any questions?” he asked me with a serious look on his face.
“Nope, I think I’ve got it. Turn it on, bag on head, don’t run or I die. I’ve changed my mind about working here and I’m going home now.” I joked with them. I guess my joke worried them because as we walked from that office to where the work was to be done, one of the two guys working with me gave me a considering look.
“Are you sure your OK with this?” he asked.
“I used to work on a nuclear missile – you guys are gonna have to work a lot harder than that to scare me.” I replied with a grin.
The Mass Spec that I work on will analyze gasses that you put through it and tell you exactly what that gas is composed of and in what quantities. In this case they were putting in a gas called silicone Tetrafloride (STF) and then taking the output to someplace where it could be destroyed safely. The gas is definitely toxic and “not nice”. Having no idea how to operate the complex gas panel that they were using to control this gas and the nitrogen gas that is used to purge and flush our instrument, I had to rely on my customer to make sure that things were safe.
“All right, I’ve got to pull all of your plumbing off to take the instrument apart. Did you guys flush this thing out well with Nitrogen?” I asked.
“Yeah, it’s been flushing for a couple of days now and should be fine.” I was told.
“OK, then it’s safe to take the plumbing off? I’d hate to kill someone, especially me ya know.”
“Yep, your good to go!” he told me but then hesitated. “Just in case, do you know what STF smells like?”
“I haven’t a clue” I replied.
“Well it’s kind of acrid and it will burn your throat a bit if you breath it in.”
“Sounds like wonderful stuff” I kidded with him as I opened my tool box, grabbed a wrench, and started removing the plumbing from our instruments outlet. I was moving on to the inlet fitting when I saw both of the guys with me rapidly back up about ten feet towards the door and start waving at me to join them. My brain was still trying to reason out what they were doing that for when my nose started to burn. Needless to say, I decided to join them by the door.
“Well, now you know what STF smells like!” one of them grinned at me as he turned on the fan to the overhead exhaust hood.
“Awesome, just awesome . . .” I answered.
We gave the fan five or ten minutes to remove the gas from the room and then I stepped back up and continued taking the instrument apart. There is an interior component that is supposed to be purged with Nitrogen at all times and is never supposed to be exposed to any gas that you are sampling. It therefore caught me completely by surprise when I opened this component and got another face full of STF for my trouble. Once again we stepped out of the area and while we waited I called one of our Chemistry PHD’s at my company and described what had happened and asked just how worried I should be.
“Well, I had the same thing happen to me when I was in China, and by the time I hit the parking lot I was in full respiratory distress.” She told me.
“Oh that’s just wonderful! So I’m guessing this was not a good thing for someone with Asthma to be breathing?” I joked. “So – any suggestions?”
“Well, all I can tell you is that you should go to the hospital if you stop breathing.” She said. I waited for the punch line but there wasn’t one. She was serious – I was supposed to get myself to the hospital if I stopped breathing. I couldn’t help myself, I laughed so hard at this absurd advice that I almost did stop breathing then and there. . .
P.S. – I’m just fine. No distress, no hospitals, and definitely still breathing.