02 September 2010

Freedom In Anonymnity

Young people sat on the cinderblock benches, leaned on the edges of some kind of concrete sculpture and stretched, nudged and nuzzled each other, and sauntered all over the ground in between.  Some were eating slices of pizza from paper plates, French fries from boat-shaped paper trays and fried chicken and burgers from styrofoam plates.  The refulgent late-summer sun engulfed the radiance--and heat--of their youthful bodies and faces in anber rays refracted off tan and yellow bricks of the surrounding buildings.

It was late afternoon.  I sat among them, sipping an iced tea.  My class had just finished at my new part-time gig.  Today marked the third time I met that class; the students in it are--along with a few faculty members and the office staff of the English Department--the only people on campus who know even my name. 

Oddly--or not?--I don't feel lonely, much less isolated or alienated, when I am there.  The students on the terracce outside the school cafeteria seemed not to notice me at all.   That is, I think, as it should be:  They were talking with and nudging each other.  Some were with boyfriends or girlfriends; others were looking to find one or ther other.  So they didn't notice me, and I didn't mind one bit. 

The only person I've met so far who knew me is an adjunct instructor who was also an adjunct in two other schools in which I worked.  As a result, he knows about my transition. But we ceased to talk about it after a while.  It wasn't that he was hostile; rather, we simply started to talk about other things.  And that's how things stand now:  We talk about our jobs, the places where we live and such.  I may tell him that I've had my operation, should a conversation warrant it.  If I do, it probably wouldn't make any difference to him, although he may feel happy for me for finally getting what  I craved for so long.

But no one else there knows my history--at least, as far as I know.  And nobody's asked.  That's nice, actually.  I really don't want to talk about my views of gender.  In fact, today I submitted my syllabus for the class.  I broke up the readings into thtree different topics.  Gender wasn't one of them.  If students start to talk about gender roles and such during one of our discussions, I won't sidestep it.  But if I can help it, I won't talk about my own exprience or inject talk of gender into a discussion of literature.  

To be honest, I still don't have any interest in teaching or taking a gender studies class.  And I certainly don't want to be pigeonholed into a field that is evanescent or to be known only for my surgery and what preceded it.

You might say that I want to continue the honeymoon in my new surroundings.  I get the feeling it will last for as long as I can remain anonymous, at least most of the time.


Corinna Cohn said...

nice blog, I've added you to my blogroll at pellucidation.blogspot.com


Justine Valinotti said...

Thank you, Corinna!