Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wheel Bearings, a Couple U Turns, Mistaken Identity, and Such

Today I left work around noon to go to a neighboring community for a car repair appointment.  It seemed a straight forward task.  Dad stopped by the office to ask if he needed to go with me so I could have a drive home if they needed to keep the car.  I told him if they needed to keep it, I'd call and let him know, then kill time in town until he could arrive.  I really wanted him to along, because mechanics always understand right away that he is not someone to try to cheat.  He knows his way around cars better than most people who work on them for a living.  Still, I didn't want to bother him with it so I went on my own.

When I arrived they took the car in on schedule, but there was one problem.  I intended to eat lunch while they had the car.  The dealership is on a busy stretch of road with a few fast food restaurants.  I forgot though, that the service department was on a completely separate property about a half a mile away on a short seedy looking side road that is generally deserted.

I suppose hunger controlled my decision in the matter.  Despite being a lone, annoyingly androgynous looking pre-operative transexual woman dressed in a mixed assemblage of men's and womens clothes, in a town I'm not terribly familiar with,  I found myself walking the half mile to a Wendy's.  I felt uneasy.  I was alone.  My pepper spray was locked up in my car.  A couple of guys weed eating the first strip of road turned to look at me with unreadable expressions- both were wearing tinted goggles.  In my head I started running through the options available to me if someone found me offensive and started harassing me.  Run? Call 911?

That short road dead ended into another, and I turned right.  From there it is only a short walk to town's main drag.  The road is fairly well traveled, but there are no businesses in the section I was on.  The road was empty.  Then one truck came toward me.  Inside I could see the driver was looking my direction and  the vehicle was clearly slowing.  My heart began to race.  If he could tell what I am and he wanted to hurt me, there would be no witnesses.

He stopped the truck in the middle of the road and shouted something that got lost in the engine's loud idle.  I waved and smiled then continued on, walking much faster, but trying not to look scared.  At first it sounded like the truck was accelerating to leave behind me, but then the engine slowed audibly.  With a toss of my head I stole a quick glance behind me and found the truck was sideways in the road, in the middle of executing a U-Turn.

Both my heart and my stride quickened even more.  As I heard the truck behind me I couldn't think of anything to do except keep walking.  Then it was beside me in the median.  He stopped with his passenger door next to me.  The window was down.  I stopped and faced him with what I'm sure was an uneasy smile.  Either he was to oblivious to realize he was scaring me, or to rude to care.  At that point I got a close look at him for the first time.  Lightly built, darkly tanned.  Brown eyes and greying brown hair.  Something about his facial expression and posture seemed a bit suggestive.

He spoke in a slow, low drawl.  "Lookin' for somethin' to do?"

Odd choice of words.  Was this whole thing a poorly executed pick up attempt rather than a hate crime in progress then?  "something to do..."  Did he think I was a prostitute, or a tramp, or an assassin?  Maybe he had yard work for me?   Errrrr....

At any rate, I really wasn't sure what to think or what he expected.  I was scared and didn't know what to say.  Despite that, I was talking uncontrollably just moments after he finished his question.  It all came out fast and high, and nervous sounding I think. "Actually, my car is being serviced and I'm just trying to get to Wendy's for lunch while I wait."  I blurted out.

"Huh?" he said, clearly confused by my rapid fire explanation.

I started over, trying to answer more comprehensibly, but it came out much the same.

He drove on, executing a second U-turn to get back on track.  As je came back past he waved.

After lunch and the car stuff, I dropped by a store in my home town for a snack.  In line a grandmother held her young grandchild with his head leaned agains her shoulder facing back.  As we waited in line, he kept smiling at me, and eventually said "hi."  Then, he looked at me with the prettiest little blue eyes I have ever seen, and said:


His  grandmother told him I wasn't his Mommy and they were going to see her now, but throughout our wait in line, every now and then he'd reach for me and call me Mommy again. I would have loved to just hold him for a second.  Such an adorable child.

In a similar situation any normal person could have held out a hand for him and told the grandmother how cute he was and talked to him a bit at least.  But this is my home town, and everyone knows I'm genetically male.  I have no idea what his grandmother sees when she looks at me.  Maybe she sees a pathetic confused man, or a dangerous pervert.  Maybe she sees a demon or a 21st century version of Jezebel.  Perhaps she just saw me as a tall, oddly dressed, really quiet girl.

I decided I'd  give them space.  In case she did see me as something threatening, I didn't want to worry her.  I know if I had a baby or grand baby with me and someone approached that I was wary of and I was forced to take it politely, I wouldn't like it.  Plus, there's jsut the awkwardness of knowing how odd it would seem to anyone for a male to ooo and ahhh and coo over a baby who jsut called you Mom.

There are jsut so many variables in any situation when you don't know how other people perceive you.  I just talked to him from a distance, very quietly when he called out or reached toward me.

The good news is that despite the awkwardness caused by my gender presentation situation, the experience still felt really positive.  The bad news is that I doubt I'll ever have anyone to reach out for me and call me Mommy on a regular basis, and that is too bad because it was such a nice feeling.



Leslie Ann said...

Glad you came away with positives, because nothing you said made me think that was where you were going!

I wonder if your highway buddy ever sees any action with his suave come-ons? Somebody must be encouraging him.

Tina said...

I agree with Leslie...didn't think it would end with a smile. But, I'm glad it did. :)

Sounds like a crazy day sister!


Caroline said...

I have always smiled at and chatted to any small creature in situations like that, I was trying to make those who are not easily categorised accepted but clearly the child at it's most critical age for gender recognition saw what we see, a gorgeous girl who needs to be set free to glam up a bit and make us jealous.

You survived out in the wild, congratulations.

Caroline xxx

Marie said...

Shandy, I bet that won't be the last time you'll be referred to as "Mommy", in spite of your doubts.

Glad your day was so positive, in spite of the stalking trucker.


Anonymous said...

Shandy, I think YOU are the only person that perceives any maleness in I understand that you're just not totally sure sometimes, but the rest of us are somewhat bewildered at how anyone could ever see anything but a beautiful, sultry, quiet lady. I can't wait until you are finally able to forget that tiniest shred of maleness you see in yourself. Just about everybody else has. :)Suzi

Two Auntees said...

I am glad to hear that the day went fairly well. I totally agree with Suzi and Marie, children will enjoy being around you and truly, I can't see you as male.

I believe its just how you think of your self with out a mirror at hand. I 'see' myself quite the youngish female, as I am always tempted to splash and play in the puddles, or roll down a hill, or do silly things around children. I don't think of me as the 'old gray haired woman' there is just too much mud and water to play in still out there, just as there are children who will interact with you when you are out and about.

It took some serious adjustment to 'know' that I am seen as female.

Jerica Truax said...

Wow girl! Your experience with the U-turner seems very much like my experience with the stalker guy.

Recently I heard a trans girl say something like "Why does being open about my gender identity and sexuality have to mean that I'm promiscuous or a prostitute?" Yet some people seem to think that's the case.

As for the little boy, oh my goodness, my heart would have been melting! hehehe. I had a similar experience even though it was relayed to me secondhand where a young girl saw my transition video and said something like "mommy, pretty mommy" completely precious.

Well girl I'm glad you're safe, most of all

ms.shandy said...

@Leslie Believe me, I didn't think the day was going anywhere positive either! I really doubt he finds many receptive women if what I saw was his standard pick-up routine.

@Tina Thanks! Guess we have ot take the good with teh bad, right? :P

@Caroline Thanks Caroline. Looking back, I do wish I had the courage to talk to the little boy. He was just so sweet! I kept imagining the grandmother being afraid of me because of my appearance though.

@Marie I so hope you are right. It was just the most amazing feeling.=) =) =)

@Suzi That is so flattering!! I'm still not sure what everyone else sees. There are still visible traits that hint at my male genetics, it just doesn't come out in these low resolution laptop photos. Probably it is all less noticeable than I realize. I try to tell myself that with varying degrees of success from moment to moment.

@Two Aunties That is very insightful! Basically I just have some physical traits that I feel make me look male. And you're right, if I've got a mirror close by, I can usually put it all in perspective and realize I'm not so awful looking.

But when I am around people I imagine all my physical problems being so glaringly obvious.

@Jerica I've never been truly stalked. I've had a few odd experiences in clubs and online, but nothing really like your experience. The little brushes I have had have been scary enough. I can't even imagine what being truly stalked would feel like.

The little boy did melt my heart. Still wish I had talked to him and his granny!