Thursday, September 23, 2010

What a snob!

It’s been kind of a busy week this week! I wrote a few months ago about how my wifes aunt and uncle from San Antonio had told us that my mother-in-law had told them, and everyone else in my wifes family, that I was a cross dresser. I still have absolutely no idea how the mother-in-law knew anything about it, but I suppose that is a moot point and not really relevant to this. Anyway, the aunt and uncle had kept commenting on it every time we saw them, they eventually point blank asked me, and I told them the truth, That turned out well as they are pretty open minded about it, so I don’t have a lot of regrets on that score. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that their adult children had probably heard the same things about me. One of their sons, Josh, is married, has several children, also lives in San Antonio, and in the last few months my son and my future daughter-in-law, Becca, have become pretty close with them. They are all around the same age, don’t live too far from each other, and so have started to spend a lot of time together. A couple of weeks ago Becca came home from a visit and with a huge grin told me “Oh yeah, they know all about you!” In fact, it turns out that they have several TG friends and even prefer to hang out at one of the gay bars for dancing and karaoke. It seems they feel a lot more comfortable there, and apparently have just decided that the crowd there is more fun to hang out with. Becca repeatedly invited me to join and go out with all of them to celebrate her twenty first birthday, but my wife hated the idea, and I was worried that I would take away from her special birthday if I chose that time to come out to them. You only get one twenty first birthday and it would have been pretty shitty for me to risk taking attention away from her. Now on her twenty second birthday on the other hand  . . .

I got a bit of a reality check and a slap upside the head this morning. Someone had made a comment that I had blown them off and looked down my nose at them when they introduced themselves to me last year at the Southern Comfort Conference. Since I’ve never looked down my nose at anyone in my life, I had thought that they were kidding and just teasing, and so I had replied with something flippant and sarcastic. Well this morning I received a message from them making it quite clear that they were not kidding or teasing, and quite honestly felt that I had acted like a snob. What a concept! Me, the dirt poor, trailer park trash, desert rat being a snob. I sat there in the airport gate area reading this message and my heart kind of sank at the thought that I had actually hurt someone. That was their first time out, they had tried to talk to me, and I had apparently blown them off and in some way implied that they were not worthy of my time.
I had literally had a hundred or more people stop me to talk to me and so would have to be honest that I don’t recall this meeting. Actually that would be my one and only excuse for my behavior – I was fairly overwhelmed while I was there. As a result of my forum posts about traveling, my blog, and the hundreds of people that I have met in my travels, I literally had dozens of people stopping me every few feet.
“Hey, I know you . . .”
“I read your blog . . . “
“Aren’t you Kim from Texas?”
“We are on the same forum . . .  “
“Don’t you recognize me? I’m one of your facebook friends . . . “
Anyone that knows me will tell you that I have an exceptionally bad memory, but I’m pretty sure that even those with the best of memories can’t recall close to a thousand facebook and Myspace friends, and several thousand active forum members. I guess that I did reach the point where I just smiled and said “Hi, glad to meet you”, and then returned to what ever I was doing or who ever I was talking to. Looking back on it, I would have to agree that I was probably thoughtless and inconsiderate, perhaps even to the point of being unintentionally rude. If YOU were one of the people that I apparently snubbed when I grew overwhelmed, I really am so sorry, and I’m not trying to be sarcastic this time. Having said that, and if it’s all the same to you, if you wanna slam me, would you mind calling me a thoughtless and rude bitch rather than a snob? I HATE snobs . . . 
Now watch, the next time I go to SCC, everyone will avoid me like the plague. After all, we wouldn’t want to overwhelm the arrogant and snobby bitch, would we?!

I thought I was going to have at least a week in my office, but at around lunch time yesterday I got a call from a good customer of ours in Detroit. They have a lot of our Infrared Mass Specs, and a few months ago they put three of them in an environment that was much too hot for them, and the thermal expansion shifted the alignment of some of the optics. These things can be very temperamental when the alignment is not perfect and they are now running in to problems. I’ve made it clear that they really need to be returned to the factory where they can be aligned properly, but they are desperate to get at least one of them running in a hurry, and so off I go!
Detroit 2010 09 21 003

It’s funny the way that different people react to people like me. On the flight from Austin to Chicago, the two flight attendants were pushing the beverage cart down the isle. The tall blonde took one look at me and frowned like she had just sucked on a lemon. The other flight attendant grinned from ear to ear and chatted with me off and on through out the flight. The flight was half empty so she had time on her hands. She told me how much she liked my new butterfly bracelet and so I told her I got it at the Austin airport for only $15. Then she showed me a crochet key chain she was making. It seems that crocheting is her diet plan, as she said it was either that or eating. Then in the Chicago airport I stopped for a peanut smoothie and the guy behind the counter was falling all over himself, grinning from ear to ear, and offering me samples. Clearly he was tickled to death for some reason.

Arrrrrggghhhh . . . I can’t stop dwelling on the fact that someone thinks that I am a snob! Now I have to wonder if I am and just don’t know it? After all, it seems likely that a snob would be the last person to know that they’re a snob, now doesn’t it?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Right this way miss . . . "

Albany NY 2010 09 14 003

This week I went to Albany New York, but I really didn’t do anything much to talk about. As is usual, I had to get up at 4 AM to get ready and to get out of the house before everyone else is up and running. Since my flight didn’t leave until late morning I went ahead and went do Denny’s for breakfast again.

The waitress was fine, don’t get me wrong, but she way over did the “miss” thing.
“Right this way miss”
“Are you ready to order miss?”
“Do you want cream with the coffee miss?”
“Are you ready to order miss?”
“Is everything OK miss?”
She literally didn’t say a single thing to me with out tossing in the word “miss”. While her heart was in the right place, I think I’d rather have a grumpy old waitress that treated me exactly like she treats everyone else. You know, the type that walks up and asks “Yeah, what the hell do you wanna eat today?!”

Sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for my connecting flight, I was watching people exiting the airplane that I would soon be boarding. One of them was an older African American woman wearing a royal blue skirt suite and the biggest and most elaborate hat I have ever seen. She was walking tall and proud and I just couldn’t help smiling as she walked by, thinking that here is a woman that knows how to make a fashion statement. As I watched her walk by, I noticed a young African American man sitting across from me. He is grinning at me as I was grinning at her.  I’m not sure if he was tickled by my reaction to the woman, or if he had “made” me. Either way, we both ended up grinning at each other. Funny – not a word was spoken but I felt like we had shared a conversation.

On the flight from Atlanta to Albany, I sat next to an older guy with a cane. He surprised me when he laughed and then pointed at the book I was reading: “The War After Armageddon”
“Is that written by Ralph Peters?” he asked. I had no idea who the author was and so closed it to see.
“I guess it is.” I told him with a smile, but still having no idea why he found that amusing.
“The Ralph Peters that was in the Army?” he asked. Again, I had no idea, and so turned to the back of the novel to see if it had an “about the author” page. It did, and he had indeed retired from the US Army.
“Yep, it looks like he’s your guy.” I told him.
“We were room mates and I knew him well. Good man but a little full of himself. He had a nasty habit of telling generals that he thought they were doing it all wrong.”
“By the time they achieve the rank of “General”, I think they’re pretty sure they have a clue and so sort of frown on that kind of thing.” I replied with a laugh. “I’ve got to tell you though, It really IS a good book!”
“I don’t doubt it. He started writing professionally even before he retired.” He replied. We talked a bit more, and it turns out that he had also retired from the Army but still worked in defense.
Later in the flight I had to ask him to let me up so that I could use the bathroom, and he moved slowly and awkwardly. When he finally got up, he looked at me apologetically.
“Sorry about that, but my leg is almost entirely titanium and so I’m a bit slow these days.”
“Nothing to apologize for sir. I feel guilty for asking you to stand up at all, but I’m kind of clumsy didn’t want to risk stepping on your foot.”
When I returned to my seat, he stayed seated and I worked my way around him. Once settled, I pointed at his bum leg.
“If you don’t mind my asking, is that the reason you retired?”
“Yes it is.” He said with a smile. “One day I stepped in the wrong place and found a land mine. You might say I was having kind of a bad day.” He said with a grin. He was trying to make light of it, so I grinned back at him.
“Yeah, I guess that would qualify as a pretty bad day at that, wouldn’t it.”
When the plane had landed and we were gathering our things, I stopped to talk to him again.
“For what little it may be worth to you, thank you for serving our country.”
I don’t recall him replying, but I couldn’t help noticing that cane and all, the man was making better time up the ramp than I was. After so many years in the Army, I tend to walk faster than most people, and so for some reason that really impressed me.

I have no idea why, but I spent the entire rest of my trip depressed and in a funk, so I didn’t bother getting pretty after work nor for the flight home. Of course that probably worked in my favor as my first flight was delayed, thus causing me to miss my second flight. By the time today is over, it will be another 20 hour day.

Oh, just got word that my soon to be daughter-in-law was in an accident and the van my son got just before he left for basic training is wrecked. At least now I have a good reason to be depressed . . .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wanna Play Mario Brothers?

A week or so ago, my (almost) seven year old daughter once again asked me about all of the pretty clothes and shoes in my closet and I just couldn't take it anymore, so I sat down for a little bit of a talk with her.
"Tell me the truth, why do you think that I have pretty things in my closet?" I asked her.
"Ummm . . . because you like to admire them?" she said, clearly very serious and not joking. I thought that was kind of an odd phrase for a seven year old and wondered if that might be what her mother told her, but you never know with it comes to a critter that age.
My daughter has asked me over and over about the clothes in my closet lately and clearly doesn’t intend to drop it. So this leaves me with a choice – lie to my daughter or tell her the truth. I can’t stand the thought of lying to her, especially when it’s just a question of time until she knows I’ve lied to her, but I’m pretty sure my wife doesn’t want me to tell her. I felt trapped and in the end, I decided to do what I thought was the right thing – I told her the truth.

 "Would it bother you if daddy likes to wear pretty things once in a while?" I asked her.
She sat there quiet and looking embarrassed for a second.
"Well, I think you would look pretty silly. You would look like a boy!" she said.

'Well, if it comes down to looks, this ought to set her back a step!' I thought to myself as I pulled my all time favorite pic out of my wallet and showed it to her.
"This is daddy." I told her as I handed it to her. Her eyes got big as plates as she looked at it and then looked at me.
"I'm very surprised! You look very pretty Daddy!" she said and then handed it back to me.
"Do you have any other pictures?" she asked. I had one fairly recent pic on my cell phone and showed that to her also.
"I'm very surprised. You look very nice daddy!" she said again, still looking at the picture.
"Thank you baby!" I told her and gave her a hug.
"Now you have to be very careful not to tell your friends or teachers at school." I told her.
"Because they would be mean to me?" she asked.
"I'm afraid that they might be sweetheart. A lot of people really wouldn't like daddy if they knew I liked to wear pretty things sometimes and they might be mean to you because of it. Oh, and I wouldn't say anything to grandpa either." I told her.
"Because he doesn't know?" She asked.
"Right, he doesn't know and he wouldn't like it."
"Does Mommy know?"
"Yes dear, mommy knows all about it." I told her.
"OK." she said. "Wanna go play Mario Brothers?"
Just like that, it was over. Almost over anyway, because I still have to screw up the courage to tell my wife.

This weeks service call was back to what is becoming my home away from home – Detroit MI. I couldn’t fly pretty because my flights didn’t leave until almost noon and I have to be out of the house before 6AM if I don’t want the neighbors seeing me. Sometimes it’s worth it to me even if I have to get up so early and waste so much time before a flight, but the very thought of getting up at 4AM for a flight that doesn’t leave until noon was just depressing the hell outta me. Instead, I got up with my wife and daughter and helped get her ready for school, and then walked her through a torrential down pour the one block to her school. As is typical these days, one of my flights was delayed and I didn’t get in to my hotel until 8PM.

I’ve noticed lately that I sometimes have my priorities in the wrong place and am trying to get a handle on that. Too often lately I am placing a higher priority on my cross dressing than on my job or time with my family. I had two customer to visit on this trip to Detroit, and this time instead of taking the rest of the day off to cross dress when I finished with the first, I called the next customer to see if they wanted to start today instead of tomorrow. They were delighted and quickly agreed and so I went directly from the one customer to the other, where I worked another five hours. At the end of a ten hour day, I wasn’t about to go anywhere, and so just called it a night.

The next day I had originally scheduled for the customer that I had already taken care of yesterday. To be honest, I would have normally just taken the free day to go play, but instead decided to contact a couple of other local customers to see if they wanted or needed any help. If anyone had any issues, I could help them out and do something on behalf of my company. If no one needed any help, I could take the day off with a clear conscience.
I called one of my very favorite customers first, who works for one the oldest and largest car manufacturers in the world. I would tell you the company name, but there is this little voice in the back of my head that says it may be inappropriate and might have the potential to get me in trouble if my company ever did find my blog. Anyway, this customer has been working with Infrared Mass Spectrometers since long before I’d ever heard of them, and so she really knows what she is doing. Since she has a clue, that means that I never get calls from her over silly things that they should know or silly things they have done. Anyway, she started to laugh as soon as she picked up the phone.
”Oh my God, you must have ESP! How in the world did you know I needed help?” she asked.
Long story short, I spent four hours working with her and THEN I took the rest of the day off to play!

My son’s fiancĂ© has been living with my wife and I for a few months now. I guess her home life wasn’t all that you might hope for. My wife and I sure know what that feels like from personal experience, so when my son asked if she could stay with us, we had no hesitation.
Early on, my wife and I encouraged my son to let her know about me, because we thought it was the right thing to do. She has a baby and we figured the chances of her needing to come down stairs early some morning while I was getting dressed were just far too large to risk. Much like my son himself, it didn’t phase her in the least, and she easily and comfortably chats with me about makeup and clothes, and we have even gone shopping for makeup together.
Well, lately she has started to give me hell for sticking with only one look and not experimenting at all with my makeup. I can’t argue with her, because there is no question it is true. I know how to make one look, using the very same colors, and I never, ever, deviate from it. For my birthday, she gave me a little pallet of eye shadow and pointed out that there were instructions right on the back as to how to get the best look from it. When I went to get ready, I sat there looking at the eye shadow she had given me. To try or not to try, to go with the tried and true or to experiment? I figured ‘what the hell, I have the time and no one is waiting for me, so let’s give it a shot!”

You know, I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot the whole time I was playing with it? It’s been a long time since I felt that way and I can’t help wondering if that’s why I’ve been feeling so “blah” about cross dressing lately – it’s become a rut with nothing new or exciting to it. So the moral of the story is, maybe I need to shake things up a bit and try more new things.

First of all I went to the Motor City Casino to donate some of my hard earned cash. I started with $20, got it up to almost $40, then down to less than $5. When it again climbed up to the $20 I had started with two hours later, I called it quites. More or less, I had two hours of entertainment for nothing.

Next I went to the movies.There was nothing playing that I was really dying to see, but “Machete” was about to start so I went for it. Talk about campy . . .
Clearly these folks are hoping it will become some sort of cult hit but I hope that they aren’t holding their breath while they wait. Much like “The Expendables”, this was full of very graphic blood and guts. About the only things I liked about it though was that it had some VERY hot women in it, and parts of it were apparently filmed in Austin! On the down side, it came off as pure propaganda for those that disagree with the stance Arizona is taking against illegals crossing the border from Mexico into the US. I seriously considered walking out of the movie, but I had nothing better to do and so stayed.

On the way back to my hotel I passed a mall, and the siren call of JC Penny and Macy’s just couldn’t be resisted. The first thing I saw as I entered JC Pennys was the shoe section and so I stopped to see if there was anything to die for there that I could afford. As I’m browsing, I see a group of three women about my own age, and it becomes clear that two of them are helping the third to pick out a set of heels.

“I look ridiculous!” the woman protested to the others, while looking down at her three inch wedged heels.
“You do not!” the other two assured her. “You look great!”
“This makes me way too tall! I’ll tower over all of the men.” She complained.
“Don’t be silly, you wont be too tall.”
“Yes I will! Just look around, I’m taller than all of the guys here.” She said, and all three women started looking around for a man to compare her height against.
“Damn it! There aren’t any men here!” the one said with a laugh.
“Yeah, but your no taller than she is!” the other one said and nodded in my direction.
‘Oh shit, just what I need – people paying attention and comparing themselves to me!” I thought as I turned away from them.
“In fact she’s taller than you are and she’s still wearing heels!”
I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation because that’s when I chose to get out of there before they decided to actually draw me in to the conversation.
I browsed through the 70% and 80% off racks and didn’t find a single thing I wanted, and so I headed to Macy’s to look at their sales racks there.
I was making my way through the dresses when a sales associate walked up to me.
“Do you need any help dear?” she asked me with grandmotherly smile.
“No thank you! I’m just looking for anything I can’t live without and that I can afford!” I told her with a laugh.
“Well then your at the right place.” She said, waving a hand at the sales rack in front of me. Right about then she got a look at my shoes.
“Your shoes are adorable!” she said. “We had those on a display manikin a while back and everyone just loved them.”
“I believe it, because I often get comments on them. Now that you mention it, I think I did get them at Macy’s!”

I could have flown home pretty, but the more I thought about it, the more it just didn’t seem to be worth the effort. As is typical when I fly boy mode these days, I spent the entire trip obsessing every time I saw a pretty woman in a cute outfit. Sometimes I wish I were “normal” . . .