Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tampa Florida

Tampa Florida 002

This weeks trip was to Tampa Florida!
This was one of the very rare times I've been sent someplace where the weather is nicer than Austin's. Usually they send me to hot places like Taiwan in the summer, and cold places like Canada and Detroit in the winter. When I left Austin it was 32(F) and when I arrived in Tampa it was just short of 80(F) - talk about a change of pace!Ugly Old Drag Queen on a plane 016
I did fly pretty again as this has sort of become my preference. It takes a long and boring day and turns it into something reasonably interesting and amusing. And to think I used to hate my time spent in airports and on airplanes! On this trip I had a connection in Cincinnati and took a couple of pretty neat pics of the Ohio river as we were coming in for a landing.

Ohio River from the air 004

Boarding my connection out of Cincinnati to Tampa, you had a Delta CSR scanning everyone's ticket with clockwork precision. She would take each individuals ticket, put it under the barcode reader, it would beep, she would say thank you and hand it back to the passenger.

Ticket, "BEEP", a smile and "Thank you"

Ticket, "BEEP", a smile and "Thank you"

Ticket, "BEEP", a smile and "Thank you"

Until she gets to mine . . . :-)

She took my ticket and gave me a long look. It was the "I'm not sure if I'm looking at a man or a woman" look. She put my ticket under the reader and it obliged her with a loud beep. Instead of handing it back to me as she had all the other passengers, she actually takes the time to read my ticket. Finding my male name printed there confirmed her suspicions, she now knew for sure what she was dealing with and got a huge smile on her face.

"Have a nice flight!" she said with a grin. As I walked down the jet bridge, also with a smile on my face, I hear her return to her routine

Ticket, "BEEP", a smile and "Thank you"

Ticket, "BEEP", a smile and "Thank you"

Ticket, "BEEP", a smile and "Thank you"

As the plane was boarding I couldn't help noticing one of the flight attendants. She had very short bright blond hair, flawless makeup, and when she smiled her whole face lit up. She was so cute my heart skipped a beat or two every time she smiled in my direction. Among some other pics I took, I snapped one of her.

Very Cute Flight Attendant 015

The problem is I did not catch her smiling! :-( I figured, what the heck, I'll just ask her if I can take her pic! That way I'll be sure to get a good shot and a smile! Screwing up my courage (remember I am fairly shy) I asked her as she walked by if she would mind my taking her picture. She blushed, turned bright red, and with an nervous smile asked me why I would want her picture.

"It's for my blog. you know, my big trip to Tampa?" I told her.

"You don't want my picture," she said, still smiling but covering her face with her hands. "I look terrible!"

"Oh PUH-lease!" I replied. "You look gorgeous - your like a poster for Delta!"

She laughed but still didn't agree to let me take one! I don't know if she really was that shy about her pic, or if maybe she just didn't like the idea of some ugly old cross dresser taking it. Oh well . . .
Tampa Florida 034
Well, the next day I get to my customer's to find a combination of problems. The customers problem was that his computer could not talk to our instrument. In an attempt to resolve the issue, some fool in my company had given him a new version of the software to run his system but they had not helped him set it up. Stumbling around on his own, he had customer screwed it up and there was NO chance his system could talk to the PC even if there were no hardware problems. I figured this out fairly quickly and just used my own laptop to start trouble shooting. Pulled out my Oscilloscope to discover that the baggage handlers had broken two of my probes! Grrrrr! That's OK, I'm a firm believer in over kill and carry three! Got a clue which PC board was the probable culprit and started tearing into the hardware. Got a few covers off, had a good laugh, and told the customer I had found his problem.

"Where? Is the board fried?!" He asked, deeply concerned.

"Nope, it's a bit simpler than that," I told him and pointed at a cable that was clearly unplugged. "I'm fairly sure it will work better if all of the cables are actually plugged in!". OK, we laughed, but it wasn't funny. His instrument had just been returned from our service center and so we had made this trip as a warranty. More then 10% of my company has been laid off in the last two months, more layoffs are coming at us like a freight train with it's air horn blasting, and I had just spent three days and around fifteen hundred dollars to come plug in a cable. Not good, not good at all . . .

Got back to the hotel and fought the battle of the bulge by exercising for 40 minutes. The only thing I hate more than exercising is getting old and fat, so I continue to jog and peddle!. I got cleaned up and tried on a new skirt I've just got. It's really cute, hugs you in all the right places, and has this cute little pleating in the back.

Tampa Florida 045

Tampa Florida 041

I did a little shopping but didn't find anything I liked well enough to purchase. Next I headed to
Centro Ybor ( ) where I was to meet Joann for dinner. I had just entered the parking garage when I got a call from her that she was entering it. Still on the phone with her, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw this very hot little sports car entering the garage.
"Your kidding? That's you in the little sports car?!" I asked her. As she assured me it was her I'd swear her car growled at me! Mean looking little beast that one! (Yes, I live mean cars that go fast!). We hugged each other and started walking toward the shopping area. We passed one guy playing 5 gallon buckets like bongo drums and a woman making roses out of some fabric or paper. Joann started telling me that this was a nice area but that you wouldn't want to walk around some of the side streets or dark alleys by yourself. I looked around us and started to laugh.

"So you mean I wouldn't want to make the walk we're making right now by myself?!", I asked. She laughed and told me that was exactly what she meant.

This is a really neat little section of the city, either new or at least in very good condition, but made to have sort of a old style feeling to it. It was pretty much an outdoor shopping area, and even though it was almost seven PM, all of the shops were open. Kewl! If I ever get back to Tampa I will make it a point to go back there. We talked about all sorts of stuff, including how she had just been asked to speak in front of a college class about cross dressing. I thought that was so cool! Each of the people in that class have now seen and spoken to an actual cross dresser and can put a real face and human behind that phrase. Now there are a few ore people in the world that know that cross dressers are pretty much your average, run-of-the-mill people. We are not physco axe murderers, sex addicts, or freaks that the movies and TV make us out to be. Well done Joann, I'm so happy and proud that you did that for us all.

We had a great dinner and asked the waitress to snap a picture for us:

Tampa Florida 049

We walked over to a comedy club in the area laughing about how we'd better not sit in the front or we would become instant targets for any worth while stand up comedian. Turns out they weren't having any shows that night anyway, so it was a moot point. We packed it up and headed to the Seminole Hard Rock casino to donate some of our dollars. Took a couple of pics of each other with the Gold Albums:

Tampa Florida 051

I played my usual Quarter Video poker machines and lost $20 in about 10 minutes. Thinking that sucked, I went looking for Joann who was playing nickel slots. She was just about done herself, but I threw in a $20 bill on the machine next to her and hit the spin button . . . and watched all the pretty little symbols line up along with one for doubling or tripling the win. "Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding . . ." I glanced over at Joann who gave me this real odd look, sort of a combination of "All Right, way to go" mixed in with "I can't believe you had the gall to win so much so fast!" We high fived each other and she advised me to call it quits while I was ahead. Sounded like good advice to me so I did! The pot pretty much means I broke even for the two nights. We went to the little club where they had live music and sat and listened for a few hours before calling it a night.
Tampa Florida 052
If you ever get the chance to hang with Joann, you should take it. A real class act, and very much a lady.

No comments:

Post a Comment