Being trans is boring.
It’s 4:30 in the afternoon and raining here. I hear the tick of the clock on the wall, the trickle of water in the downspout outside the window, and the rain pattering on the roof. The kids have a friend over and they’re filming a movie with their friend’s iPad, but I can’t hear them because they’re in the back yard.
Besides rousing, feeding, and getting the kids to school this morning, most of my day was spent struggling to salvage a post I started but never finished two years ago about passing and its intersection with cultural expectations. After taking the original 500-odd words and gluing on another 150, an electrician I contacted about quoting a small project texted me they were available and was it okay if they came over? I closed the file with the relief only a solid excuse to abandon it could provide, and went to do my makeup before they showed up.
On the mornings I have my kids, I’ve taken to not putting on my makeup and just throw on a shirt, jeans, earrings, and my rings to drive them to school. Boldly, I’ve even run a few errands this way. The stores aren’t very populated in the morning and most of the clientele is a mix of retirees and stay at home moms, neither of which I worry about too much because they’re too focused on shopping to notice a transsexual in their midst.
Last night I discovered the caulk I replaced in the kid’s bathroom must have frozen in the garage this past winter because it didn’t skin up and was still liquid-y. So, this morning after dropping the kids at school I went to the hardware store to get a fresh tube, but Ace didn’t open until 8am, and I didn’t want to wait around for them to open, so I drove to the builder’s supply down the road instead.
While I’ve never had a problem there, I have felt uncomfortable at times. All the cashiers are men and their old-school attitude often shines through, eyeing me with suspicion when I buy things they don’t seem to expect a woman to buy, like metal roofing screws, flashing, and joist hangers instead of painting and gardening supplies. Bathroom caulk falls into the painting supplies bucket, so the cashier smiled at me this morning.
I finished my makeup realizing the garage wasn’t ready to be quoted with a bunch of stuff in front of the electrical panel and no markings for where I wanted the outlets installed. I’d install them myself, but I need a couple of 220v outlets for some shop tools I inherited from my uncle, and I don’t feel comfortable wiring those circuits. Plus, the thought of climbing up into the attic and drilling holes for and stringing the wire doesn’t sound like fun to me anymore.
The electrician seemed a little surprised when he saw me, but then I’ve been told and accept the fact that being an almost six-foot-tall blonde makes me striking, so there are many times when I can’t tell if I’ve been clocked or people are reacting to my size. He also seemed surprised I had marked where I wanted the outlets and referred to them as duplexes and the circuit breaker box as the panel, the industry jargon for them. He took my specifications down and said I should get a quote from the office early next week.
Not having the desire or will to return to working on my post, I went for a run.
I felt silly running in makeup, but it also made me feel less concerned about getting clocked. Even with the pink running shoes and shorts and the light teal rain jacket, when I wear a beanie like I did I look square instead of round and there’s no way to change the biomechanics of my running body movement without fucking up my hips. It was a nice run in the rain and I didn’t encounter anyone.
Wednesday marked ten weeks of the four to six weeks the website said it would take for an updated birth certificate, and four weeks after my first call when they said it would take six to eight weeks, and two weeks after my second call when they said it would take eight to ten weeks and to call again if it didn’t show up at ten weeks because everything looked on track.
Before getting in the shower after my run, I called right around 1:30pm and let it ring for six minutes with no answer before hanging up. I guess everyone goes home at 4:30 on a Friday on the east coast. At least I didn’t have to out myself again.
After my shower and a re-application of my makeup, it was time to pick up my youngest from school. As usual, they ran around out front with their friends while I chatted with the dad of my kid’s best friend. I’m sure he knows I’m trans but he always treats me with respect and introduces me as Heather to other parents, whose names I often forget because I’m bad with names.
Forgetting names is now something I feel guilty about. The last six years, and especially the last two, have been filled with the tumult of transition, divorce, and job changes, and it’s only been the last few months things have quieted down enough to allow me the mental breathing room to see I should be remembering my kid’s friend’s parent’s names more.
And then here I sit and consider how lucky I am to be bored and experience passing privilege most of the time. Being white and having had a tech income are the main differentiators in enabling those two luxuries. Living in a very liberal and tolerant area is the icing on the cake.
I’m still working on that other post about passing, and maybe I’ll finish it, maybe I won’t.
While my experiences when I don’t pass are similar to others, (verbal harassment, discrimination, threat of physical violence, etc.), I experience them with much reduced probability, frequency, and magnitude. I’m not yet convinced I can add much to the conversation.
I think it would be like writing about the emotional impact of tsunami preparation and aftermath while living in Denver. Intellectually it’s possible, and I can get close to it by anticipating and preparing for a flood, but unless I’m on vacation at the beach when a tsunami rolls in, my lived experience is by definition limited.
For now, I’ll take the luck of being bored over the alternative while I search for the best way to help other trans people lead boring lives.