18 May 2011

Reading At The Doctor's Office

Today I went to my doctor for a follow-up.  His office is across the street from a high school.  

I'm thinking now of one of the first times I went there.  I had not yet begun to take hormones or to live full-time as a woman, though I was wearing a skirt and heels that day.  Well, I left the doctor's office around 2:30 on a Friday afternoon--which was, of course, when the students were leaving school for the weekend. Ok, i thought, here comes my first real-life test.

A throng of teenagers was walking toward me.  I simply walked straight ahead, without agression although with some trepidation.  The advancing wall of kids parted in front of me like the Red Sea did for Charlton Heston/Moses in The Ten Commandments.  I felt myself relax and my body motions becoming more fluid.  Some of the kids said "hello;" a couple even said "good afternoon."  I nodded with a smile and waved.

"Who is she?" one of the kids asked.

"I think she teaches here."

"Really?  What?"

"I think she's English."

He meant, of course, that I teach, not am, English.  His reply amazed me, and scared me a bit:  I wondered whether I had a sign on me that I didn't know about.  

And there I was, worried about being "read" as a man.  Well, I guess they read me as something.  I can only hope they read their books so well.