15 October 2010

You Never Know Where They'll Find You, Or You'll Find Them

"Small world!," we exclaimed in unison.

"We" being myself and one of my students.

As you probably figured out, we bumped into each other outside the college.  The venue is what made our encounter really interesting:  We met in my doctor's offices.

I'd gone there for a follow-up to my visit of the other day.  I'm getting better, she said, though it will probably be a few more days before my eye infection totally clears up.  I don't know why my studnent was there; I was so shocked upon seeing her that I didn't ask.    She found out about my affliction only because I tipped my sunglasses upward as I was talking to her.  "No wonder you weren't in class!" she gasped.

I suppose that there is at least some chance that an instructor would have the same doctor as one of her students.   In the case of my student, it should not have been a great surprise, I suppose, if for no other reason that she lives literally around the corner from the doctor's office.  

The real surprise of meeting her there is that my doctor is part of the Callen Lorde Community Health Center in Chelsea.  They specialize in care for LGBT people and HIV/AIDS.  I started going to C-L when I had decided to embark upon my gender transition.   At first, I was going there for my transition-related issues, including my hormones.   But I decided to make the doctor I found there my primary-care physician because I figured, correctly, that it would be easier to have a doctor who already knew that about me than to discuss them with some other doctor who may or may not be understanding.

Now, I am going to reveal something about myself that some of you may find unappealing.  I was surprised to meet my student at C-L because, well, I didn't figure her to be part of the LGBT spectrum.  Actually, I didn't notice her actual or possible sexual orientation or gender identity. Usually, when that happens, it means that the person is cisgender and straight, or possibly bisexual-leaning-toward-straight.  I guess I still have what people in gender studies call a hetero-normative view of the world.

Of course, I didn't articulate any of this for my student.  But she probably could sense what I was thinking, as she is very perceptive.  "I come here because the people here are are really good.  And really nice."  I nodded agreement.  "A friend of mine told me about her," she added.

We talked a bit more.  "You want to get back to class, don't you?" she asked.

"Yes.  Being sick drives me crazy.  It wouldn't be so bad if my eyes didn't hurt and I could read--and write--more."

"That must really bother you. "

"It does.  So does not being in class."

"You enjoy it, don't you?"  Again, I nodded.  "And you like us."

"Of course!"  That is the truth, even if the college (It's the one where my main job is.) exasperates, frustrates and infuriates me at times.

"Well, I hope you're back next week,"

"I probably will be."