Thursday, May 6, 2010

Detroit Yet Again

Off to Detroit again, and as always I am very pleased to be busy for my company. For me “Busy” = “Job Security”, and with a family to take care of, job security is right at the very top of my priority list.

I was quite impressed by the sun rise, and the way the sun was being occulted by the clouds, so I took a pic or two
Detroit 2009 05 05 004 As is usual these days, I left the house far earlier than really required for catching my flight, but that’s the way it’s gotta be if I’m gonna travel “pretty” and not get busted by my five year old. Gotta be ready and outta the house before that little critter starts to stir.
More or less I have about four hours until my flight leaves, and the drive is only 45 minutes, so I chose to stop someplace reasonably pretty and take some pics!
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As I was getting ready to end my little photo shoot I was struck with the idea that I really should do a “redneck Country Girl” picture, so I dropped the tail gate and flopped my big butt up on to it. If I were wearing jeans and had a cooler of beer next to me, this would have been the perfect picture!
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I guess they have all seen me so many times now, that the airline folks don’t even bat an eye these days when I check in. I’m not sure if I’m happy about that or not, because it was often somewhat amusing to see how people reacted when you threw this particular curve ball at ‘em.
The TSA guard took my ticket and ID (with the female picture) looked at it half a second, then handed it back while softly saying “Have a nice day Matthew”. I dunno, he seemed nice, and didn’t strike me as a jerk, I just thought it odd that he went out of the way to say my name.
There was a male flight attendant greeting the boarding passengers and as soon as he saw me his face just lit up. Given his mannerisms and the way he spoke, I suspect he was gay. Regardless, it clearly tickled him to see a TG boarding.
The guy that sat next to me on the flight to Charlotte where I was to get my connection didn’t have much of a problem with me. He spent half the flight crowding me, sticking his arm well over the arm rest and often touching my arm. He was a fairly tall man so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wasn’t doing it for the thrill.

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The flight attendant on the next leg of my journey was a real sweetheart and a knock out to boot! As I was standing at the aircraft door waiting for the line to move up so I could enter the plane, I could see her standing in the galley area. She was maybe a little older than I am, had LONG blond hair, half of it falling down her back and the other half piled on top in what my wife would call “Fashionable Disarray”. As I was walking by her, I was thinking about how awesome her hair looked, and how I wish I could do that, when she actually reached out and touched my arm. “Honey, I LOVE your hair! That looks so cute.” She tells me.
“Hah! That’s so funny because that’s exactly what I was thinking about yours,” I told her. “And you have the advantage that yours is real!” I added with a wink. She got this odd look on her face.
“You mean yours isn’t? It looks fantastic!” she replied. That made my entire day right there! Several times on the flight, she would stop and give me a huge smile and talk for a just a second, and when the fight ended and I was leaving the plane, she stepped part way in front of me.
“Well thank you for the ride!” I told her.
“Thank YOU for being so nice!” she replied. I wasn’t sure how to take that and figured she was just trying to be nice herself and grabbed for the first thing that came to mind. As I was walking up the ramp and into the airport it occurred to me that I missed the perfect change to be a smart ass. I should have responded with something like “Yeah, normally I get pissed drunk, assault the flight attendants, and get hauled off of the plane in hand cuffs.” Damn shame I only think of these quick come backs when it’s too late. The next thing that struck me was that the magic shoes had not worked this time – not a single woman had gone out of her way to comment on them. Guess what? Only seconds later, while still walking up the ramp and trying to negotiate the obstacle course created by all of the passengers waiting for their carry on luggage to be brought to them, the magic shoes struck! The woman right behind me, also working her way slowly through the crowd, smiled and told me that my shoes were great. Phew! Thought they had lost their magic for a minute there!
I was gonna drop by the shop where I had spoken to the sale associate on my last trip through the Detroit airport, but I was in a different terminal and couldn’t get there with out exiting security. While the thought amused me, it wasn’t worth that kind of effort just to see her smile.
While I was waiting at the baggage carousel for my bag and tool box, I see a tall blond blonde girl in a VERY short white cotton dress also waiting. I checked her out because she was very pretty, and at first I thought she might be TG. She was a big girl. Not “fat” by any stretch of the imagination, but she was large. She was taller than I am, kind of thick around the middle, and had arms bigger than mine. The thought also crossed my mind that the dress she was wearing was WAY too short, and the only girls I’d seen wearing a dress that inappropriate in public were Tgirls. Ultimately I decided she was not transgendered, though I suppose I’ll never really know for sure. In the Detroit airport, once you grab your bags you have to get on an escalator that will take you up a couple of levels to a bridge that crosses over to where the rental car shuttle busses pick you up. As I’m standing on the escalator, I noted a woman in her 50’s standing a dozen steps up and facing away from e. In front of her was a young lady about 20 facing backwards and talking to her. It seemed pretty clear they were probably mother and daughter. They have caught my eye because the mother has leaned forward to whisper something to the girl. Trying to be discreet, the girl waits a moment after the exchange, and then very slowly I see her lift up on her tippy toes so that her eyes can just barely see over Mom’s shoulder, and she is looking straight at me. Sometimes this sort of thing bugs me and some times it amuses me. Today it tickled the hell out of me so I grinned from ear to eat for her. On the walk across the bridge she continued sneaking looks at me. Still irritated with myself for failing to say something some thing amusing to the flight attendant, I decided I was going to say something to this young woman if we crossed paths or ended up waiting for the same bus. I had decided I’d make it short and simple and just wink at her and say “Yes, I am.” with a smile, presumably answering her unspoken question “Is that a guy?!”
The joke was on me though, because by the time I got to the end of the bridge she was in an elevator with the door already closing. Damn! There went my chance to be a smart ass.
As is my usual ritual, the first thing I did when I arrived at the hotel was to unpack my luggage for enough to be sure that I have not forgotten some critical piece of male clothing. You know, like pants or shoes? Satisfied that I wouldn’t have to make any emergency shopping trips, I pulled out my laptop and external hard drive, and prepared to get some work done. Boy was I disappointed when I discovered that my 160GB external hard drive was dead. It has all of my family pictures, all of my Kim pictures, all of my manuals, and the source code for important programs I’d written for my company on it. Gone. All Gone . . .
Spent the rest of the evening researching the hard drive, found it was under warranty, found out that Western Digital will not do anything to help get my data back (no surprise – I suspected that already), and then found a Austin company that has been authorized by Western Digital to do data recovery. That’s gonna be somewhere between $200 to $700. OUCH!
The next day things went very well with my customer and I was done around 1PM. Since I had planned to go to dinner with a couple of local TGirls, I didn’t want to get ready so early that I’d look like hell by dinner, so I stayed drab. I had lots of time to kill though, so I dropped by the Casino where I put $20 in to the quarter video poker machine, bet three credits, and hit four of a kind! My very first hand I had turned my $20 in to $60 – I cashed out right then and there and returned to the hotel and got some exercise.

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When the day started, I had tentative plans to meet with three other Tgirls. One got stuck out of town for her work, and the other canceled for her own reasons. Stephanie, another member of the Vanity Club, very graciously agreed to meet me. It was something of a drive and so I left very early and wound up getting there almost an hour early. As I saw the Italian restaurant next to the club we were to meet at, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, so I stepped in. They didn’t bat an eye at me and treated me very well. A very tall gentleman, that I suspect was the owner, went out of his way to be sociable with me and we chatted a little until I finished my dinner and then I headed next door to “SoHo” where I was to meet Stephanie. I had just got a drink and seated when she walked in.
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She looked awesome of course, but I had seen her pics and expected that. We talked about an hour and a half, long enough to share some bits and pieces of our lives, and for me to decide I like her!

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