15 April 2010

Riding Home

I rode to work again today.  I must be regaining my form, or  something, because men were slowing down their cars as they passed me.  Three different guys complimented my legs.  And a woman in a BMW said she liked my skirt.

All right.  I'm making small steps toward one of my goals:  that of becoming the best and most stylish cyclist in the world. Both are terribly subjective judgments, I know.  But just about everything I do is based on, or evaluated by, subjective judgment.  What would my life be like if more of it were measurable in ways that could be rendered into statistics?

Let's see:  I rode about ten miles to work and another nine to get home--on my 1968 Raleigh Sports women's bike.  It's a 21 inch frame on 26 inch wheels, with three speeds in a Sturmey Archer rear hub.  My skirt--I won't tell you what size it is!  Now I'll be merely factual:  It's a skirt made up of three tiers of a crepe polyester material that's covered with a pretty interloc print in shades of purple/magenta, coral/peach, brown and a shade that's somewhere between cream and gray.  The bottom of each tier is ruffled. When I wear it, as I did today, with my deep pink jewel-neck top and purple overshirt with three-quarter sleeves, people say that I look as if I'd lost weight.    But that's not the only reason I wear that outfit.

I left work at 6:46 this evening.  I took a slightly shorter route than I did in going to work because I wanted to get home before it got dark--or rained.  I did feel a couple of drops as I pedalled from Jackson Heights into Woodside, about a mile from my place.  The drops turned into a sprinkle by the time I crossed underneath the Amtrak line near Northern Bouleard, then stopped just before I crossed underneath the elevated tracks for the "N" and "W" lines.   On the other side of those tracks--on 31st Street and Broadway in Astoria--is Parisi's Bakery, where I bought a small "twist" loaf.   It's only three blocks from my apartment, so I was no longer worried about getting caught in the rain.

The ride home gave me an odd sense of deja vu that had nothing to do with my familiarity with the route.  Rather, I found myself recalling rides in which I'd dodged, or remained one or two steps ahead of, rain. I've done plenty of those in coastal areas in which I've lived, and I've also done them on the multiday (and multiweek) bike trips I've taken in France and other places.

Now I shudder (or, on occasion, laugh) when I recall how much time I spent "playing chicken" with, or simply dodging, one thing or another.  In those days, I was running from, even when I was going home, wherever and whatever happened to me along the way.  

Tonight, at least I made it home, even if I had been finishing something that someone else started on a bike that I didn't have last year.  Even though the fit still isn't perfect, it felt just fine.

It's Not Because You're A ....

I didn't ride my bike yesterday:  I didn't have enough time to get to the doctor after finishing work.  The sad thing is that I almost didn't make the appointment because I almost didn't get out of work at the time I'm supposed to.

And I fully expect that someone went looking for me long after my appointed hours, didn't find me and will make--or has already made--a complaint about me.  Then my department chair, the provost or the legal compliance officer will give me a lecture, if not a dressing-down.  And the fact that I've stayed until nearly midnight on days when my commitments ended at 4 pm will be conveniently forgotten.

Heaven forbid that I should leave workplace when I'm done with whatever work I had to do, whether or not said work was in my job description.

I work all those hours and go well above all expectations explicit and implicit expectations, yet I make less than a bus driver.  And people from whom one normally believe an account of current weather conditions suddenly have more credibility than the Pope once had among Catholics when they make a complaint about me.  The powers-that-be insist that it has nothing to do with my being transgender.  Uh-huh, and Hemingway accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun.

Is it any wonder that I'm always tired, or seem to be?  Wait a minute:  I didn't feel as tired after riding as I do now.  And, after pedalling there and bike, I don't have the kind of anger I've been expressing.  Could it be that I'm having "withdrawal" symptoms--from missing one day of riding after riding two days in a row? 

On the other hand, a lot of other profs and employees at the college feel the way I feel--or so they've told me, without my prompting or asking.   So maybe it really isn't about being trans, after all.  It's great to know that I'm in such an egalitarian place.