Jan 24, 2009

Cali trip day 1

It's obviously been a while without any updates or posts here for obvious reasons. I had started writing a new response from the plane Tuesday on the way home but there simply wasn't enough room to remain comfortable enough to type. The one thing I need in any creative way is space to be comfortable or my focus just isn't where it needs to be.

As previously posted Diane and I boarded a plane for California Thursday the 15th for the NAMM show, to hang with friends and visit with my brother. I could deem the trip a success with just a few minor bumps in the road. All in all, I got to hang with my friends, talk to the managers at Charvel/Jackson about some things, see some cool equipment and shows and spend quality time with family so even with bumps I guess it's all good.

Dee and I left the house at 4am Thursday morning bound for Manchester airport about 20 minutes from our house. I have to admit having an airport so close to home is spoiling me, I'll always avoid Boston's Logan airport if I can now. This translates into about 3-4 hours of lost time by going to Boston.

One of the things that had worried me about the NH drivers license is that we are not allowed to change our gender marker before surgery. In a lot of states the criteria is the name change and hormone replacement therapy, here it is more stringent. What worries me is having to show my ID with the name Karyn and having attention brought to that god awful "M" down in the right corner because it could lead to discrimination. I am happy to say this doesn't seem to be much of an issue and I'm beginning to think that people in a position of authority do not seem to even look at that part of the ID.

This would be the first official trip taken legally as Karyn so I had no idea what to expect at each turn. I dressed conservatively as I usually tend to do so it isn't as though I draw any attention to myself anyway. From the time we checked in with the airline, through security and so forth no one ever questioned my ID or swayed from addressing me in any manner other than female. It was quite refreshing to realize it was a non-issue as far as the TSA went.

After landing in North Carolina we were directed to the gate for our connecting flight only to find out that the gate number had been changed and we were in the wrong area. Because Dee is such a poor flier and has a lot of anxiety over flying, I try to minimize our time on the ground in between connecting flights so at this point I'd been a little concerned with so little time to get to a gate that we didn't know where it had been. It turned out to be just a little bit down the walkway to the next area.

We would later find out about the crash in NY. Ironically at the time of the crash we were on the same carrier, type of plane and destination (N Caroina) I worked at keeping this from Diane because I didn't want her to be afraid to get on the plane to come home.

When we arrived in Los Angeles we proceeded over to the baggage area and waiting for us was my little brother Rob. It was so nice to be met by family and it was even nicer of him to do that knowing we were going directly to our hotel first. Rob hasn't changed since the last time I was able to see him 5 years ago, he was a sight for sore eyes and it was slightly emotional for me. This was the first time since my changes that Rob would be around me. My little brother handled it better than I could have ever imagined and has easily taken to referring to me as his sister now instead of his brother. I could ask for a better little brother.

When we arrived at the hotel we learned that our room wasn't quite ready but a few of our friends had already checked in. I had received a text telling me that the rooms were nice and that they were full suites which was cool. Of the 3 wives that made this trip every one of them have the same take no shit attitude which is something I love about these women. When it comes to who they are, what they think and what they will open their mouths over they can easily run with the guys in the group. This would come into play a lot on this particular trip starting with check in.

As we were checking in a young African American male came down to the desk demanding toilet paper. We would later find out that he was already supposed to be gone from the hotel but they were having issues getting him to check out. In a foul mouthed manner he told the desk clerk he needed toilet paper and then questioned what the "F" they thought he was supposed to use, his hand?

Diane in an attempt to add levity to the situation replied "Maybe they expect you to use leaves" This turned into a verbal confrontation between said patron and Diane with Dee refusing to back down from him. Over and over she kept telling him, "Dude just walk away" apparently she knew she wasn't . LOL It finally took the front desk clerk to threaten having the guy removed by the police. He apologized to us and explained that this guy had been causing a lot of issues and using racial overtones to perpetuate it.

For the record and probably not a bad thing is the fact that I have non detectable levels of testosterone in my system now and that means no more testosterone rages. While I will always defend Diane the old me probably would have had one of those such surges and escalated the situation to a higher level. I would have been in this guys face for sure.

After checking in and meeting up with 2 of the guys Diane wanted to head up for a long needed shower. Todd and Brad decided to head over to the show early and the girls hadn't arrived yet. At that point it sounded like the guys would go over to the show (it closes early the first day) the girls would check in and after the show the guys would come back, we would head to dinner then party at the Hilton as usual.

Diane I and Rob headed up to my room and Dee hopped into the shower. A short time later our friend Kristi showed up. I had been dying to see Kristi again since the trip to see her and Todd in Chicago. As previously mentioned Kristi was the girl on 20/20 in December and from the time of my transition news has been one of my best supporters. I couldn't ask for a better girlfriend to have than Kristi. After getting our hugs out of the way, introducing her to my brother she stepped out of the room and then the 2nd knock came, Brads wife Sherie!

Sherie darted across the room and gave me an awesome hug as well and hugged Diane. It had been 6 months since we had seen Sherie as well. After some chit chat Kristi had come back and presented Diane and I with a belated Christmas present, a beautiful heart pendant that I absolutely love.

With the girls in the room the conversations started flying and my poor brother at times looked as though he was going to die. This was the first time I had been alone with all three girls without the husbands and I have to say that I felt incredibly included, I finally felt like one of the group and I felt very calm and at ease. All my worries about fitting in had been slipping out the window at that point and for the first time with other women, I finally felt like I belonged.

As time passed and gotten much later the guys hadn't returned yet and after some prodding we found out that they left us in the room and were drinking at the Hilton. ½ of me really didn't care, I was having a nice time and didn't want to let that go but we were all getting really hungry.

I'm not totally sure where all of this went astray and without getting deep into details it led to an argument between two of the girls and it led to Diane and I trying to calm things down. Unfortunately for me it was a tough situation because my friend ended up breaking down in tears with the other back in her room. My heart broke for her as we sat trying to console her. I had only wished we could have prevented the fight in the first place but I didn't feel as though my friend was wrong in the argument.

The day had been wrought with some highs and some lows, by this point being awake so long and through so much I had been pretty worn out. We ended the night with pizza delivery and went to bed.

More to come


Lori D said...

Interesting story. I probably would have still been in his face. I'll probably get to the point where I'm not as confrontational, but then again, it's kind of the nature of my job also.

Glad to see you blogging. I always enjoy your stories.

VĂ©ronique said...

So glad that most things went well on Day 1! Very cool about your brother. I can only dream.

As for the telltale "M," I've crossed the border a few times, both by car and by airplane, with my Canadian passport that has my name, my picture, and "M." They either don't look at it or don't care.

Even more, when I had to rebook a flight and had mistakenly grabbed by old US passport (long story), and I had to fly and go through security with my old name and, much worse, my ugly old photo, still no hassles, and still always "ma'am" (my birth name is gender ambiguous fortunately). In fact, my spouse and I got pulled aside for a random search, and they yelled "female" for me, so I got patted down by a woman. This right after they looked at said ugly passport. Worth getting pulled over just to know how I am perceived.

Looking forward to more of the story!