20 March 2009

Hormones, Migraines, Laughter and Tears?

Tonight I called Dominick. I caught him as he was having supper with an old friend of his, who was his Spanish teacher in high school. Dominick refers to him as "Dad." I've met him, and I can see why Dominick adopted him as his surrogate father. When he was five years old, his biological father split with his mother and was almost never in his life thereafter.

I am happy that Dominick had a "Dad." Somehow, though, I cannot imagine calling any other man but my own father by that name. He may not have been the most emotionally available person in the world, and there were things on which he didn't or couldn't guide me. And when he tried to steer me, it was toward careers (e.g., the military) that were completely unsuited to me. Still, he was a better father to me than his own father was to him. Much better.

And I have an even harder time imagining myself calling anyone other than my mother "Mom." Millie, at times, has been a sort of mother-figure to me in the six and half years I've known her. I've cried to and laughed with her, and she's asked me into her house to have a cup of tea or something to eat with her, and sometimes with her husband Johnny and her daughters and grandkids. I have a feeling that some time tomorrow I'll be in her kitchen or at her table. Funny, how I've developed that sense about her--or has she developed it toward me?

Anyway, back to Dominick: When I called him, he and "Dad" were eating in a very noisy restaurant. This is one way Dominick is my opposite: He doesn't like crowds, or so he says, yet he seems to favor noisy places. Generally, I don't like a lot of noise around me, especially when I'm trying to have a conversation with someone. I've always felt that way: I've never been good at hearing over background noise, and I get migraines.

My headaches, when I get them, and my sensitivity to noise seem to have intensified since I started taking hormones. It took a while for me to notice it, but I find that these days I can hardly have a conversation with anybody when I'm riding the subway. Combine that with my clumsiness, and you just might be entertained at my expense if you were to take me out for dinner. I guess that's a good deal: You buy me dinner and I provide the entertainment. Dominick doesn't seem to have gotten a laugh out of watching me in those situations. Then again, that's not where his sense of humor lies.

So I don't have to have a migraine to entertain. That's good to know.

Now I wonder: Will I become more sensitive to noise after I have the surgery? Is that the difference between a penis and a clitoris--that one is an antenna? If so, what does that make the other?

Let's see: The hormones make me more sensitive to light and sound. And, I'm told, insults, injuries and empathy. And to all kinds of other emotions. Hey, wait a minute: I'm not supposed to say things like that after reading a few studies and attending lecutres that say women and men have more or less the same abilities in most things. And I'm certainly not supposed to say them while I'm taking a gender studies course. Or am I?

Speaking of the class: I actually did some of reading I need to do for my paper and presentation. I don't know how either will turn out. Once they're done, once that class is over, I won't think about them. A few months, a few years, will pass. Then, I might talk about them to somebody or some group of people. And they'll laugh. That's what seems to happen whenever I talk about long-past experience. On the other hand, when I talk about what I've felt, I've elicited a few tears, from whomever I've told and myself. I don't aim for the sobs or laughter: They just seem to come when I talk about my life. A few nights ago, one of my students wondered aloud whether I was doing stand-up comedy on the weekends. Now there's an idea. Sometimes I think that getting in front of people for the purpose of making them laugh takes more or less the same set of skills as imparting wisdom or knowledge.

I suspect someone is laughing at that last thought. As long as I can hear it over the din...

No comments: