Jo has just reached a pivotal time in her life. Over Christmas she came out as Transgendered to her wife, family and friends. Touch wood, it seems to have gone really well for her, and I am proud and impressed by how she has handled it. Well, today was our first chance to meet, so up with the earliest of larks I headed north into a Shepherd's Warning sky to the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield.
I think we were both a bit nervous about meeting. Nervous because unlike meeting some blind internet date for the first time our friendship is actually important to me, and there is always the danger that my oft misjudged jollity and unavoidable dizziness can grate after, oooooh as long as 5 minutes.
We spent a lovely 3 hours wandering fairly aimlessly around the centre, nattering away, only interrupted by my sudden diversions to impulse buy the Secondary Phase of H2G2 on CD, and other such essentials .
As a veteran Jedi of Transition, I intended (probably arrogantly) to dispense occasional words of wisdom to my young Padawan. To be honest though, I was no Obi Wan to her Luke. Jo looked fabulous with flawless makeup a naturally female presence and a figure to envy, compared to my usual shambling appearance. She is a natural with little to learn from me. It was hard to believe that this was still one of her first daylight outings.
My waterloo came with a visit to the ladies loo (see what I did there!). I strode in with the nonchalance of familiarity, and Jo swiftly followed. When I was done, I waited by the sinks wrongly believing she would be a bit nervous. As I stood there I realised I had left a bag of shopping in my cubicle. The problem was that I couldn't recall exactly which cubicle I had used and they were by now all occupied. As Jo passed me on her way out I mouthed "I've left my stuff in a cubicle". Mind you it could just as easily been lip read as "I've lost my snuff on a barnacle", but I think she got the point. I managed to narrow down the possibilities to 4 loos. So for the next 5 minutes I had to linger outside each candidate until each occupier de-occupied, whence I would dive in to search for my precious Douglas Adams CDs. Of course, it had to be my very last choice that was successful. By the time I had recovered the bag my strange lurkings had garnered a small crowd of sniggering teenagers. Way to go Jen in a demonstration in how not to be read !!
"These are not the droids you are looking for"