Friday, May 11, 2012

Lots and lots of practice!

Saw this in Minneapolis and thought it was cute!

As y’all probably know if you have been reading my blogs, I’m not traveling pretty from home as often these days so that I can spend a little more time with my wife. Don’t know if she has noticed or not, but hey . . . So, I flew to Detroit the old fashioned and boring way – as a dud . . . err . . . I mean a dude.

Despite the fact that I got into Detroit late and was gonna have to get up early, I took my fat rear end down to the hotels gym and got in about a 45 minute workout. Ya see, I’ve been gaining weight lately and I’m more than a little unhappy about it, so it’s time to pull my head outta my butt and do something about it. I just have to remind myself of the gown that I bought for SCC and what a shame it would be if it didn’t fit, and that tends to motivate me a bit!

I put in a long day with my customer, working on four instruments in one day. A few of my larger customers have come to realize that if they wait until multiple instruments need work to call me out, they can save a lot of money in travel charges. The problem with this (from my perspective) is that it leaves me trying to carry enough spares to work on so many instruments, and then having to try and work faster than I like to get them done in a reasonable time. This time I was kind of under the gun for time because I had to fly directly from Detroit to my next service call in Minneapolis, and it would cost a fortune and inconvenience my customer if I had to reschedule the next service call.

When the following morning came around, and it was time for me to get ready to fly to Minneapolis, I was having a major confidence crisis. Looking back on it in hindsight, given my low confidence level, I probably shouldn’t have picked this day to take fashion risks, but there you have it. Quite a long time ago my daughter in law gave me some dark green eye shadow, and given that I was wearing a green skirt and green ear rings, I thought it would be neat to try it. The thing is, it was much darker than I had thought it was going to be, and through the day, I would swear that it turned blue! To make matters worse, as I was applying the dark eye shadow, little flecks of it scattered on to my cheek bones leaving them peppered with dark spots that would not simply brush off. I had to wipe the spots off along with my foundation, and then reapply my foundation. Right then and there I thought about getting a shower and just making the trip as a male, but I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that if I caved in to this lack of confidence, I might not ever get it back. I was afraid that it would just get worse and worse and I would return to the bad old days when I was terrified at the very thought of leaving my hotel room. It really was a close thing, but I did decide to suck it up and drive on. I also chose today to try out a new pair of shoes that were kind of strappy and with a four inch heel. I thought that they were cute, but I wasn’t entirely sure that they really complimented the outfit – I’ll leave that to you to decide.

Detroit 2012 05 09 005

The good news is, despite their looks, they were deceptively comfortable to wear.

As a male employee checked my rental car in at Avis in Detroit, a young female agent walked up and started to speak to me.
“Girl, you always have the neatest shoes!” she said with a huge smile and a laugh in her voice.
“Awe thank you! I’m a firm believer that life is way too short for ugly shoes!” I replied
“I hear that! You know, you’re gonna have to stick around here so that I can steal your shoes from you!”
“Over my dead and bleeding body!” I responded with a laugh “ But I might be convinced to let you borrow them from time to time.”
 As she was still laughing, the Avis bus driver made his way over to us.
“Which airline are you flying today Miss?” he asked in a very professional voice.
“I’m on US Airways this time.”
“Then this will be your bus. I’d be happy to take and load your bags aboard if that is all right with you?”
“I would appreciate it very much, thank you! Your name is Harmon right?” I asked him.
“That’s right. So you’ve ridden my bus before then?”
“I have! I have indeed!” I told him as he was getting my bags into the rack and as I took my seat. Once my bags were in place, he made his way past me to the drivers seat.
“Well then welcome back, and I hope that you have enjoyed your Avis experience!” he said with a smile.
“It was just great thank you. You know, I have actually written to Avis about you sir.” I confided in him as he went to take his seat. He actually stopped mid-way through the process of sitting down to turn and look at me.
“Good I hope?”, he asked with a smile.
“Absolutely! I told them that in more than ten years of traveling for a living, you were by far the most professional and pleasant Avis employee that I have ever met.”
“Well thank you!” he said with kind of a stunned tone of voice.
“You are most welcome, and thank you for taking care of my bags for me.”
(Note to self – write Avis again about him because the guy is just awesome!)

Checking in with US Airways, the lady that took care of me was perfectly cool about it, but the guy standing at the station next to hers looked like he was in shock and kept staring at me. I could see this out of the corner of my eye, but every time I turned to look at him he looked away. Tsk Tsk Tsk . . .

After getting through security, I was sitting at a bench putting my shoes back on when two female TSA agents were strolling by about five feet away from me.
“Pretty shoes!” One of them called out to me with a huge smile on her face. I just grinned and winked at her.
As the plane was making its way to the runway, I noticed that the level of conversation in the plane had just increased noticeably and so I glanced up from my book to see everyone looking out of the windows. Needless to say, I glanced out of my own to find a series of emergency vehicles making their way toward the runway as well. My first thought was “ah shit, someone is having a very bad day!”, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured that it must be some sort of training because I seriously doubted that airplanes would still be moving toward the runway if there was a serious problem out there. I suppose I was right, because we continued to taxi and then take off without issue.


When we arrived in the Philadelphia area where I was to catch my connecting flight, our airplane started to fly in a box-like circle around the airport, and after a few minutes the pilot came over the intercom to tell us that we had been put into a holding pattern due to “congested air space”. The good news is that we only circled for twenty minutes or so. The bad news is that my departing flight was delayed for almost three hours for the same reason, leaving me stuck in the airport for a good four hours. With so much time on my hands, I looked for a seat anywhere near a power outlet so that I could plug my laptop in and do some work, but much to my surprise I only found one, and it was in use. Still, I walked up to the woman that was using it and asked her if I might crowd her a little so that I could use the other plug of the outlet. “Sure! I know that I would hate to be without my PC, so pull up a seat!” she told me with a huge grin. I did just that, and then pulled out my laptop and its power transformer, and plugged it in. Much to my great regret, I did not hear the happy little “beep” sound that my laptop makes when it is plugged in, and so I checked all of my cables. All of them appeared to be well connected so I wiggled the plug at the wall to see if it was making a good connection or not. I never did hear a beep from it, and so I at last concluded that the second plug on this outlet must be bad. Disappointed, I reached behind our seats and pulled the cord out of the socket, and naturally, now that I had given up, I heard the beep of power applied, and then the “blurp” sound as the power was no longer available. She and I both started laughing at this, and I figured that this just proved there was power there and I was just getting a poor connection, and so I kept messing with it for a good five minutes or so. Once again though, I was forced to give up in disgust because I just could not get it to make a good connection no matter how I bent the prongs on my plug. I was rolling up my cables when the lady next to me spoke up.
“You know what? My phone is fully charged, why don’t you go ahead and take the plug?” she offered, and then reached out and unplugged her own transformer.
“Are you sure? I was just gonna do some work while I waited, and I don’t necessarily mind a good excuse to get me out of it!” I told her with a laugh.
“No problem! I’m all charged up and have to leave in a few minutes anyway, so it’s all yours!”
The reason I write about this mundane interaction is just because it was so casual. Here I was, clearly a cross dresser, and she didn’t care in the very least. She was perfectly happy to chat with me, sit next to me, and even go out of her way to be generous with me. Neat huh?

Several hours later it was about time to board the airplane, and so we were all standing near the door and waiting. I had been standing there for maybe five minutes when a man walked up to me. The first thing that I noticed were his eyes, because he had a sparkle in them that just kind of said “this is a nice guy that likes to laugh a lot”. As I was thinking this, he drew along side of me and leaned in to quietly speak to me.
“You’re hair is SO pretty!”
I was so surprised and kind of stunned by his unexpected comment, that I let out a laugh, and in a distinctly male voice blurted out “Well thank you!” He just grinned and continued walking by me as I sat there kicking myself for being startled into replying with such a male tone. It was all good though, because I was still grinning when I boarded the plane a few minutes later.

 The photos don’t do justice to the skirt that I was wearing as it is a very pretty light green, with flowers embroidered all over it, and a few little sparkles sewn into it. It’s really remarkably pretty, but it has a drawback that I later became aware of as I was making my way to baggage claim.
“Miss? Miss?” I heard a voice calling out. I turned to find that a woman pushing a baby carriage was calling to me, and so I stopped to wait for her.
“I thought that you would want to know that your skirt is caught.” I frantically tried to look over my left shoulder, wondering just how bad it was and how badly I had made a fool out of myself.
“No, on your other side.” She said, and then helpfully pointed to my right side. I was probably looking panicked, because she started to laugh.
 “Don’t worry, your underwear isn’t showing or anything like that, but it’s caught higher than I would like if it were me!” Feeling about two inches tall, I discovered that one of the sparkly do-dads on my skirt was caught on the embroidered stitching, resulting in the hem of the skirt being caught about half way up. It wasn’t so much a modesty problem, as that I hated the fact that I must have looked like an idiot, and no one had bothered to say anything through my entire walk to baggage claim until this kind woman had spoken up.
“Thank you SO much!” I blurted, feeling the blood rushing to my cheeks in embarrassment.
 “Your welcome!” She replied with a smile and then headed off. Uggghhhh . . . .

 So in the Minneapolis airport, once you get your baggage, you have to take a series of escalator’s and a tram to get to the rental cars. Yeah, you would think that I might have learned my lesson about taking my bags on escalators but I just hate waiting for elevators. Anyway, I was making my way from the tram to the escalator, pushing my tool box in front of me and pulling my suitcase behind me, when I had to slow down for an older gentleman who was in front of me and moving at a very slow pace. That’s not a problem though, because let’s face it, I’m at the end of a long day and I’m at my destination, so while I might prefer to walk faster, I really had no reason to be in a hurry. I slowed down so as not to rush the man and then pushed my tool box on, stepped on myself, and pulled my suitcase on behind me. I settled in for the ride to the top when the older gentleman slowly turned back to look at me.
“I don’t know how you can do this while wearing those heels” he says while shaking his head.
“Lots of practice sir.” I answered with a laugh.
“So I take it that you get lots of practice at it then?” he asked.
“Oh yeah, lots and lots of practice!”