Friday, September 15, 2006

shake hands with the new, slower me

Two recent events have forced me to reconsider my relationship with my automobile and the roads I travel. Previously, I had a penchant for hurtling my trusty silver one ton Prism down any country byway around here at unsafe, and to some of my passengers - upsetting, speeds. I figured this was allayed at least a little by the ear-piercing volumes of my stereo as it blasted out the varied melodies of the masters of metal, punk, blues and indie as well as the minutes I often shaved off drive times, although I may have miscalculated in that slightly, I'm not sure. I mean, I had shed any vestiges of true road rage when I left Baltimore years ago, but the need for speed stayed with me.

By the way, I should probably preface this by saying that one of my nicknames in high school and college was "A.J." - after the race car driver, A.J. Foyt (I don't know a lick about who he is beyond that I just looked him up in Wikipedia and that states "considered by many as the greatest American race care driver of all time"). My other nickname was "crazy legs" but that is a topic for another day. The AJ moniker was applied to me due to the fact that despite being stone sober, I managed to do all the following in about 5 seconds:
  • flip and total my parents car
  • land upside down
  • with my girlfriend in the passenger seat
  • both of us not wearing seatbelts but neither of us got a scratch
  • not destroy the stereo (Rush's "2112" was still playing on the tape deck as we staggered out through the still functional doors - man it's hard opening a car door when you're upside down!)
  • all on the way to the prom
  • and me without a license (I only had a drivers permit at the time).

Needless to say, that formative introduction to the world of the automobile (as well as proms) scarred me for years to come and I drove like a 90 year old in a cadillac with cataracts for a while after that. It took me a full decade and a couple years of urban driving to overcome that timidity and achieve the kind of reckless speed freak abandon that stuck with me until just a week ago.

But anyways, I usually tried to keep things within 15 miles of the posted limit to be safe but had retained my city-bred impatience with drivers who actually take the time to slow down considerably before making a turn and who are going slow enough to eschew the need to cut the corner of the oncoming lane to do so.

So at this point we come back to almost the present - a week ago. My car had been progressively making louder and more alarming sounds for a couple weeks (loud enough even to be heard above the din of music that always envelops the interior) and I finally was taking it to my mechanic for a look see. Well, for once, I was in no hurry and was not driving particularly fast, about 10 above the 55 limit. However, I was in the process of changing cd's in my stereo and I must have hit the accelerator a little. Just at that moment a state trooper happens to be approaching me from the other direction. He passes and quickly u-turns and pulls me over. How the hell he radared me from the opposite direction, I'll never know (I'm sure it's possible, but perhaps he didn't, just said he did!). Anyways, he said he had me doing 70 and took all my documents back to his vehicle after I explained that the name on the registration was indeed me, just reflected my pre-legal change name. Well I got lucky folks. He must have taken pity on me and he came back and said he would just cite me for an obscured license plate. He left with a stern warning to "slow the fuck down!" WHEW - dodged a big goddamn bullet there!!!

That incident alone may not have been enough to convince me to change my ways, but my mechanic then informed me I needed 4 new tires and that at least my right side wheel bearings needed to be replaced. Even though he said it was just normal wear and tear, I suspect that my driving habits may have played a part in hastening that wear. About $700 later I decided I need to dry out - navigation-wise.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think I have the capacity to turn into that agonizingly laggard grandpa with the golfer's beanie and the feather foot, but I will slow down to more reasonable speeds and hopefully live a little longer and save my passengers a little stress. Who says people can't change, right? :-)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

new name, new perspective

I decided on sort of a whim to rename this blog. No real reason beyond a slowly growing desire to move away from having the TG label define who I am. To paraphrase and expand on the dorky but sometimes wise Gabbie from the excellent Sundance documentary series, "Transgeneration" (

Being labelled "trans" or TG or transsexual does not in any way encompass who I am - that is just an aspect of the whole me, no more or less important than that I am lesbian or atheist or of Polish-Irish ancestry or the hundreds of other slices that make up this pie called Dana. I do not shy from the TG part of me, but at the same time I refuse to let people define who I am by that single, and usually misunderstood part.


transition update

This summer has been hectic (and fun), so I haven't had many opportunities to write in this blog. Hopefully I can keep creating entries going forward. Here's a little progress report on my transition plans:

  1. Had my consult with Dr. Brassard in Montreal last month - very informative and solidified my decision to go to him. I will be able to actually schedule a date for surgery next week after I send them my first letter of recommendation. YAY!
  2. Will have my first and second letters of recommendation in hand next week! Hope to schedule the date for late January 2007.
  3. My struggles with my eating habits continues, although I think I am making some prgress with the help of my awesome girlfriend who is a dietitian and a vegetarian. I gave up red meats and pork (still eat chicken and fish) and try to eat less junk food now.
  4. My laser sessions finished a few months ago and I love the result, although after surgery I will need to get some electrolysis to get rid of a few straggler hairs...
  5. My breast development while still ongoing, seems to have slowed down and I fear I may not achieve my goal of a B cup (I am fully an A cup now). I can live with this though, especially since it often gives me the option of forgoing a bra!

On a related, general life issues note:

  • I interviewed for a job in NYC and was offered the job, but declined it as it wasn't the kind of work I wanted to do. But just knowing that I can go out there and perform and get a job helps my confidence immensly.
  • I also recently got a raise at work, so things are looking up. I put in a request to be transferred to our NYC center and my immediate boss approves of it, but we need to get permission from her bosses so I'm not toally confident this will go through just yet.
  • My girlfriend and I have been going out for 7 months now and things couldn't be better - I have never, ever felt this strongly about someone!
  • Got to see my niece and her family (my brother and sister-in-law) and lots of other relatives for a whole week last month. Was fantastic - she has grown so much (1 year old now) and her smile lights up the room.
  • I also had a little mini melt-down at the end of being cooped up with all these relatives in our cramped summer camp in the Adirondacks. The constant misuse of pronouns and my name (everyone tried, but since most only see me occassionally, they were not used to it) and feeling sort of relegated to the side of the whole extended family interaction thing got to me on the last day and I freaked out a little. I told everyone I was sick and just sat moping for a half-day until I came out of it. I think I need to find a way to approach my family with these issues without seeming like an overly-sensitive crybaby - it cuts deeply when the prejudice comes so subtley and unconsciously and from family. This was made abundantly clear to me once the photos of the week were distributed. There were about 150 pics and I was in a total of 2 of them, including one of the whole family! Hell there are even several pics of my cousin's girlfriend (a very, very nice person) holding my niece and yet none of me, despite the fact that I sat with her and played with her and watched her many times over the course of the week. And while just about everyone else was asked to pose with the baby, I was not. In the grand scheme of things, it's a minor slight, but hurts nevertheless...
  • Have had to put expensive, major repairs into my car lately and the costs are eating into my surgery savings - arggghhhh!!!