Sunday, May 1, 2011

Well this is strange

I'm in a strange place, I've been on the other side of that door my whole life, but I've never seen it from this side.  Quite odd, the rules here are all new and different.  Here I sit in a strange place struggling to understand all these new customs and ways, and not be pegged as a strange foreigner in a foreign land. 

Some of the customs here are just strange; smile and say hi, wow how very odd, never in my 40 some years was that done before.  Some rules apply just to me; don't be nervous people can spot nervous a mile away and that just raises alarms.  The sights here are all familiar, and yet totally different.  It's like someone changed just enough of the details to throw me off and make me pause.  Things are cleaner, lined up better, there's no strange smell, some pieces are missing and some things I've never send before, the people here are friendly and on their best behavior.

Some of the new rules just make sense, always sit NEVER stand.  The locals here don't have to think about all these rules.  They've been here their entire lives.  Me, it's just all so new.
I travel a lot and I go to extreme lengths not to be here, but I'm stranded in O'Hare and I've drunken to much of the free wine at the admirals club and now I've just got to pee. 

Yup, my first time in the woman's room.  To say it's odd is an understatement.  When I travel I go to extreme lengths to avoid this very situation.  At my home airport I know where every family restroom in the entire airport is, a lifesaver for all TGs.  I set an alarm on my phone to go off just before landing which reminds me to take advantage of the safety of the plane's restroom before I land.  But I'm stuck in O'Hare, been here a full day waiting for the weather in the deep south to clear up so I can head off on the second leg of my journey. And yeah, I've got to pee.  There's no alternative to the Woman's room, I'm never going to get away with the Men's room.  Yeah, that'd be bad, the hair's too long, the heels are too high and the blouse to colorful.  Nope that option is gone. That only leaves the Woman's room. 

You'd think it'd be easy.  In, out and you're done with no one the wiser.  But I'm sitting here like a kid in front of the shoe store waiting for all the customers to leave so he can go in and buy his first pair of heels.  But just like then, it's never empty and I'm just going to have to do it.  I really should have no problems here, I've been full-time for days now without a single sir, Rick, or even a double take.  The waitress says ma'am, the men hold the doors open for me, you'd think I could just walk in.  But 40 years of programming says to stay out, no trespassing, no men allowed. 

But, I'm not a man anymore, I've left that behind.  Those rules don't apply to me anymore. And here's the rub, I'm not a woman either.  I don't know the new rules, the new customs, the ways and means of being a woman.  Every thing here is new and strange. 

So what happened? Well I bite my lip, go in the woman's room, sit down and pee, head to the mirror and fix my makeup.  A nice woman smiles and says hi and I'm on my way.  That's it, no drama, no issues, all very much normal.  Like I've done a thousand times before, but completely different. 

So here I stand in a strange place.  It all looks so familiar but yet it's completely different.  I'm lost and when I ask for directions no one knows what I'm asking for.  They understand the language I'm speaking but the questions just don't make sense to them.  I try to explain all the new sights and sounds of this place but they just stare at me with strange looks and say that's how it's always been here. 

For them it has always been, for me it's where I've always wanted to be.