27 December 2010

How Do You Do, Ma'am?

This is the third time I have come to Florida to see my parents as Justine.  And it's my first visit since my surgery.

Each of my first two visits lasted a week. This is my third (fourth, if you count my arrival) day of this visit.  And I noticed something that I noticed on each of my previous visits:  Everyone addresses me as, "Hello ma'am,"  "How do you do, ma'am?"  (Are they asking for instructions?  Little do they know...I can give them!)  or "Nice day, isn't it, ma'am?"  Once in a while, someone refers to me as "miss."  But every other time, I am presumed to be a woman of a certain age--which, of course, is what I am.

Now, I am long past the thrill of "passing."  In fact, I am grateful that even during my last visit as Nick--the one in which I "came out" to my parents--I didn't even get a second look, much less a squint or furrowed eyebrow, from anyone who asked how "ma'am" was doing.  You see, I have no idea (and, frankly, don't want to have any idea) of what could happen if anyone had any inkling that I was once a native of Mars, so to speak.

It doesn't matter whether I'm wearing a skirt and makeup, or whether I'm in baggy sweats like the ones I wore today.  I still get the same greetings and responses.  The women are almost invariably cordial, and the men are be polite, chauvinistic or solicitous.  Have I become who I am as deeply as I like to believe I have?  Or are people down here less savvy about these things?

Or am I just a parochial Yankee who still carries, in her mind, stereotypes about people in this part of the world?  If  I am, I apologize!

No comments: