Thursday, April 23, 2009

Detroit Again

his weeks trip was returning to Detroit again! In some ways I find going to Detroit to be depressing. It makes me consider the once proud US Auto Industry that is now in such decline, and all of the unemployment that goes with it. This was where my proud old lady, my 1967 Mustang was conceived and given birth. Now it’s full of closed and empty buildings and unemployed people, with all of the shattered dreams that go with that.
As usual these days, I flew pretty. Not sure if it was my attitude or what, but it just seemed like a very comfortable day with several friendly people. I took a couple of pics at the airport, one or two with my bags, because the thought of showing you the bags I travel with amused me. Detroit 2009 04 21 005

Detroit 2009 04 21 006
You know, it takes a fairly large bag to carry enough clothes, makeup, and sparklies for two people for a week! Even at that, it occurred to me that this pic doesn’t tell the entire story because I didn’t have my laptop backpack on. So this is what I drag through countless airports and on and off of shuttle buses.
Detroit 2009 04 21 003
I LOVE this skirt for a couple of reasons: First, it’s cute as hell, and second, it just feels sexy. It’s a bit tighter than most I wear and so it sort of hugs you as you walk. Yeah, I know, TMI huh?
If you want women to talk to you and compliment you, you need to get a pair of shoes like the pair I was wearing. I swear I’m not exaggerating, every single time I wear these shoes I have women stop me to comment on them.
As I checked in with US Airways, two of the ladies behind the counter both went out of their way to tell me how cute they thought my shoes were!
“Those are cute!” one of them said to me. The other one peeked around the counter at them and then nodded in agreement.
“And they look comfortable too!” the other lady added.
“Well thank you!” I said “They are one of my very favorite pair and they ARE comfortable – I can wear them all day and be perfectly comfy!” I replied with a smile.
Got to my seat near the back of the plane and sort of people watched as folks boarded. I watch one very gruff looking guy, big beard and mustache, looking like he is one of those frontier men from the 1800’s. He’s looking at his ticket and at the seat next to me, and he doesn’t look happy. The seat next to me was in fact his seat, and there we sat for the next hour or so, with me thinking he was uncomfortable being next to me. Funny thing though, after a small nap the guy woke up and turned into a friendly little chatty Cathy! I had read him completely wrong! Here I was assuming this “he-man” was irritated to sit next to me, and it turns out he was really quite nice and was just tired. That entire hour I had sat there feeling kind of angsty and uncomfortable, fearing he might be intensely uncomfortable to sit near me, and it was for nothing – it was all in my head.
Not sure what it is, but I think there’s a lesson there somewhere for me.
Many hours later, I arrive in Detroit at about 730 PM. Everyone on the air craft is standing in the aisle, grabbing their bags, and waiting to get off of the plane when the flight attendant comes over the PA.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to take your seats and please be sure you keep your bags out of the aisle.” What the hell? Everyone sort of looks at each other, surprise evident in all of their eyes, and they start to get back into their seats, many still holding their bags in their laps. A few moments later a policeman comes striding down the aisle. I looked at the guy that had been sitting next at me and laughed as the policeman approached us.
“Ah hell, what did you do?!” I teased him.
“Uh uh, wasn’t me!” he replied with a grin of his own.
The policeman walked to the back of the plane and then returned shortly, leading a young, sort of rough looking girl out in hand cuffs. There’s another first for me. I’ve never seen that done before.
I got off of the plane, grab my bags, and head for the rental car shuttle bus. I did my best to sort of toss my bag and tool box up onto the bus, but it’s hard to fling 40 and 50 pound bags with one hand, so I only got them to the top step. As I was climbing aboard to grab them, two men both jumped up and helped place them in the racks. I gave them my best smile and the softest “Thank you so much” I could manage, hoping they wouldn’t realize I was a male. While not often, this has happened to me before and it leaves me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s a welcome confirmation that I was perceived as female, but on the other hand, I feel I have abused their generosity and chivalry.
The bus was packed, so I headed to the rear and the only remaining seat, next to a young lady, probably in her late 20’s. Part way through the trip to the rental car lot, the magic shoes strike again.
“Excuse me,” she said “Those shoes are awesome. Where did you get them?”
What did I tell you? The shoes are like compliment magnets!
Got to the Avis lot to find that they had screwed up everyone’s reservation and so everyone from the bus was standing in a line that exited the building and wrapped around the side. I chatted with three or four people around me and not one batted an eye or looked at all uncomfortable.
When you leave the rental car lot, you have to present your contract and drivers license to the gate guard. When I handed it to him he clearly didn’t think it was mine. He looked very uncomfortable and was handing my license back to me while he started hesitantly to speak.
“Ma’am, I need your . . . OH!” he said with a little laugh, as it clicked and he figured out the guy on the drivers license was me. By the time I got to the hotel, it was almost 9PM and I was tired, so I called it a night.
The next day I did my job, and fixed a broken machine. This one had an intermittent fault, which is exceedingly difficult and time consuming to pin down. I’d much rather be faced with an instrument that has flat out failed than one that just operates poorly. Anyway, got it repaired at last and got back to the hotel by around 5. I grabbed m skirt and top out of the closet and then stood there holding them in my hands. ‘How odd’ I thought to myself. ‘I have absolutely no desire to go any where.’ The thought of spending all the time and effort to get ready just to spend a couple of hours out and about just didn’t seem worth it to me. I went and got a nice and fattening mushroom, swiss, and steak burger from Burger Kind, and spent the rest of the night cruising the internet and annoying people online.
Flying back home the next morning, I had some time in the Detroit airport and so I window shopped in a few of the stores they have. I was in one that sold some pricey purses and the sales lady walked up, an African American, about my age, maybe a little younger.
“Can I help you find something sir?” she asked with a pleasant voice.
“Nah, I just had some time to kill and thought I’d look around!” I told her.
“Well, of your looking to buy a bag for someone, we have a very good deal going on! Most are half off and I don’t know any woman that wouldn’t like a Calvin Klein bag!” she said with a smile. I was looking at them but didn’t really see anything I liked much, let alone several hundred dollars worth of “like”.
“You know” I said “To be honest, I just don’t see anything I like that much.”
“Well, maybe she would like one?” She replied “After all, you wont be wearing it and women do love them.” She persisted gently. I didn’t say anything for a second. I’ve never done this before, but for some reason I just had to.
“It’s not as much a given as you might think that I wont be wearing it.” I said to her. She laughed a little, not at all shocked. I think she had suspected as much already.
“Honey, that’s OK with me! I’m all for diversity.” At that point I pulled out my phone and showed her the one “Kim” pic that I carry on it and you should have seen her jaw drop.
Fav Smile
“That’s you??!!” she almost squealed. She kept looking at the ugly old man standing in front of her, then at the pic, at me, the pic . . .
“Oh my God, your beautiful!” she said with this stunned look on her face. I don’t know what I’d expected when I showed her my picture, but there is no question that her surprise and enthusiasm are genuine. I sort of held out my hand to get my phone back from her, but she kept a hold of it, and kept comparing the picture to me, until I started to blush.
“Not too bad for an old man huh?” I asked her.
“You look so cute! I just can’t believe that’s you!” she replied, still with kind of an awed voice.
“I come through this airport quite a bit like that.” I shared with her, adding a wink for emphasis.
“Honey, you have got to stop by here the next time you do. Would you please??!!”
“I dunno, I can’t afford to shop here. I’m afraid I’m sort poor by these standards” I replied. She laughed again.
“Sweet heart, I can’t afford to shop here either!” she said in a mock whisper, acting like two conspirators. “You know this stuff in the airports is always twice as expensive!”
Clearly we had gone beyond customer and sales associate, and were now “girl” friends.
This was a good week, almost entirely pleasant. I’d spoken to many people, and all of them had acted like I was a normal human being. I do not have a feminine voice, so there is no question that even if my appearance might have fooled them, once I started speaking to them, they all knew I was Transgender and it hadn’t mattered to them.
As soon as I landed in Chicago to catch my connection, I got an email from my manager giving me the information for another customer in Detroit that wants a preventative maintenance service call, so looks like I’ll be back here shortly. Next week I’m off to Northern California. On the one hand I’m very pleased to be so busy for my job. On the other hand, I’m not spending much time with my seven months pregnant wife and with my children. It also bothers me to think that I’m this busy because they have laid off half of my company. . .

1 comment:

  1. Survivors guilt. It always happens after layoffs.