Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Train of Thought

Another meeting in London today. Easter week means rail maintenance, and an extra hour and a quarter each way, stopping at some of the England’s dullest stations on the way. Over 5 1/2 hours traveling for barely an hours worth of toss arguing with management! Anyway I don't really mind enduring train journeys as long as I have plenty of distractions. I usually rely on a mix of PSP games, listening to my MP3 player and pretending to read a broadsheet newspaper. For me the trick is to avoid too much thinking time., which is definitely bad, for what passes for my psyche This day I failed.

It was the usual spark that set me off. The receptionist referred to me as he. My companion for the day corrected him but the damage was done. It played around at the back of my mind all day. So it was journey home time and I set about occupying my mind. I started by listening to Fish's “Thirteenth Star” album through my PDA. Angst ridden lyrics of a love found and lost was hardly going to cheer me up. As we passed through Harrow & Whealden my mind drifted back to my He/She problem. The man at reception obviously didn’t mean to upset me, and he may well have had some equalities training. I honestly believe that the root of the problem is in how I present myself as a woman. If I was 5 foot 8, slimmer and a more feminine build, it must surely be easier for people to get it right. Being 6'2 and as broad as a wardrobe, however well I'm dressed and made up, some people’s brains just do not register me as a woman. I have been 2 1/2 years living full time as Jen and on 18 months worth of hormones and yet this problem is not diminishing. I think it is time for a reality check. I may never get to the point of fully passing up close. However unpalatable this is, I must learn acceptance of this fact. Just as I need people to accept me and say the right things. I need to accept that people will at times refer to me in male terms without meaning to. To rip off that Stonewall advertising campaign and relate it to me "Some People Are Confused. Get Over It".

Relief from this mental self flagellation, came passing through Watford, when the Ticket Inspector Called. I became engrossed in an exchange between the official and a guy in his early twenties. He was a thin, pleasantly scruffy and tired looking studenty type, with a laid back demeanor. He had committed the heinous crime of jumping on an earlier train than he should. His complicated Advance, Cheap Day, One Way, Super Saver (read all the small print) ticket was henceforth invalid. As the poor guy attempted to explain that as a Student he didn’t have any spare money let alone the £ 115 they wanted, the official gave him a choice. Get off at Coventry or ...well just get off. It was going to cost him another £25 to get home from Coventry. In an attempt to make me feel better about myself I handed him a Tenner towards the fair. I remember being a student and this mess was something I could have easily have found myself in. He was really sweet and said for me to give him my address to post the money back. I declined. 10 quid was a cheap price for a bit of self esteem. It was essentially a self serving act on my behalf, and it took my mind off feeling sorry for myself. It also gave me a reason to chat to him for a while about this and that. I discovered he was studying Geography, so I guess he should have been able to find his way back to Manchester. Sadly I wasn’t able to resist a Sent to Coventry joke.
Coventry and student were soon left behind so I turned to bloging on my PDA, while listening to Les Miserables, to keep me occupied. (This is post modern posting at its best! Bloging about bloging. I am in danger of disappearing in a puff of self importance!) Funnily enough, listening to the musical based on the Students struggle at the barricades in pre revolutionary France, cheered me up. For a moment, I felt the nominal fiscal support for my student friend, gave me some sort of fraternal bond with Marius et al. Then I realized that this sort of thinking, just makes me a deluded twonk!
Passing through Stafford then Stone, I finished my bloging (to be clear, this is not it) so I turned to The Fizz to give me an end of journey boost. A good dose of “Making your Mind up” and “Land of Make Believe” left me smiling at my own cheesiness, as we pulled into Stoke. As we disembarked, the polite train announcer reminded us "When you leave, make sure you have everything"
...Sadly after all this musing, the one thing I didn’t have was any real answer.


brad said...

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong.

brad said...

You did a good deed and made him and yourself happy :-)

Jenny Harvey said...

Those are poingnant sentiments Brad

There was a time when Jen was a man
And the world was wrong
And the wrong was righted.

or something like that.

Debs said...

you are our Jenbo and always will be we love you babes xxx

The little one x

Jenny Harvey said...

Well do for figuring how to comment.
Cheers hun.
Love you too xxxxx

LucyTolliday said...

And I thought my train fair was pricey. I also agree with Brad :-) A great posting.