Sunday, December 11, 2022

Traveling by air en femme!

 On Thanksgiving Day, I flew east to see my parents. Hoping to have some time to bring Mom out and give her some time out of the house.  The plan was set, airfare purchased, car rented... Go!

I get there and things aren't great health-wise for the family.  More on that later.

I've said before that I had hoped to fly en femme on my next trip.  I did it!

I chose a faux suede skirt, a matching turtleneck, knee highs and my Clark's shoes that I've been wearing to work daily. 

Here's a rundown of my experience:

I think I had anxiety while packing for this trip. Packing and choosing what to put in which bag was too emotional for me.  My spouse suggested that it may be a result of knowing that I'd be doing something that is causing stress.  In the end, I didn't really wear all of the clothing I'd packed.

Getting ready Thursday morning, no big deal. Smooth and stress free.  Took a couple tries to get the suitcases finished but far less drama than before.  Got dressed and loaded the car without incident.

At the airport, unloaded suitcases and went to check-in kiosk and only issue was not getting the "checked bag" tag printed, had an interaction with the curbside agent who printed my checked bag tag and took the case.  

I proceed to the security checkpoint. They x-ray my carry-on items and ask about my new pill dispenser. It was funny, they asked what the round thing was and I was clueless. I'd never used it and totally spaced what it was.  The TSA rep didn't press the issue and said to head to my gate.  I basically breezed through security at Harry Reid Las Vegas airport.

I wasn't sure how my wig would fare while flying. I worried that it would move/shift/twist inflight. It didn't do any of those things!

I think I slept most of the way to Nashville, waking about 45 minutes before we landed. I didn't have the window shade raised and had no idea that we were about to touch down. Bam!!! We landed hard. It totally startled me.

I had about 90 minutes to wait for my next flight. It was late morning there, I'd never been to the airport there. The place had the aroma of a smokehouse. I didn't get barbecue for a number of reasons, mostly I didn't want to be messy.  I got a Caesar chicken and spinach wrap where usually I get some kind of generic fast food.

I board the next plane and fly to Bradley Airport.  Basically uneventful, I'm awake for the entire flight. Collect my checked bag and proceed to the wrong rental car counter which has no line, I take the elevator down one floor to the Budget counter finding that I'm about twelfth in line. However much later, I finally get to the front and get checked in.  Go to the doorway, a porter comes over and offers assistance, he brings my minivan to the door for me.  He loads my bags into the van and I graciously offer a tip. 

The van reminds me why I think there needs to be more standardization in the operational controls of vehicles.  Headlight switches, windshield wipers, horn buttons, emergency brake operation.

Driving to my childhood home I'm chatting with my spouse about whether I am going to change my clothes before arriving.  I decided not to. I make a phone call to Mom, letting her know I'm about 10 minutes away, she puts a pizza into the oven.  I get to the house.  Lights come on inside and outside the house. I'm gathering my stuff in the front seat and trying to open the driver's door and for some reason am unable to do so.  My Dad comes outside (he's 83 and it's raining lightly). I finally open the window and open the door using the outside handle. I step out in my skirt and turtleneck and say "hello, I look a bit different."  Dad asks if he can carry anything.  I only grab my carry-on items leaving the larger suitcase in the van and proceed into the house.  Mom sees me and I say the same thing, "I look a bit different." I don't think she was really okay with it.  They asked what was behind my dressing in woman's clothing, I said that I'd wanted to try it after successfully doing Halloween so many times. I told the story of breezing through security and not having to wear a belt (I hate wearing a belt on a plane!) and that's the end of the conversation until after we ate.  After arriving, I didn't change from my traveling clothes.  At some point, Mom looks and says "oh, your ears are pierced too? I replied, "Yup, and I'm just as sensitive as you are to non-pure metals." Mom has to wear Sterling silver or really good grade gold because her skin reacts to the nickel in lower grade jewelry and mine does too.

Mom's not been well, she went to bed early.  Dad and I are sitting around the table, he says to me that my look is "very becoming."  I think Dad approves.

Friday morning, we get up. Dad's up first. Mom's miserable. A couple hours later, Mom asks me to bring her to the ER. Oh boy, this isn't what I'd envisioned for my vacation. I load everyone into the van and bring Mom to the ER, grab a wheelchair, roll her to the admission desk.  (She's home now and recovering). That's the last time I saw her.  The ER parking lot is non-existent. There is no place to park to unload two elderly people, check one of them in and keep the other under control.  I park the van in the general parking area and walk back, I'm told that only one person can remain in the waiting area. I'm not kicking my Dad outside so I go to the cold, covered patio area and ask to be notified if they take Mom anywhere. I text my sister, she tells me that Mom's just been tested as COVID positive. I go back to the admission desk, ask to have my info registered with Mom so that I'm the person to be contacted for any and all communication since my sister went out of town.  (In my ten days, I never heard from the hospital.) I collect Dad, we walk back to the van and drive home.  My sister texts me and tells me that she went to CVS and bought COVID tests. She also tested positive but her husband tested negative and now I'm concerned.  We have two test kits in the house.  I also go to CVS and buy 5 more tests. I test Dad and myself.  Dad is also positive but luckily I'm negative.  Fortunately, everyone who tested positive had minimal symptoms from COVID.  Mom's hospitalization was more related to some intestinal mass and ongoing kidney failure.  Mom returned home on Wednesday. She's doing much better. 

While at CVS, the clerk compliments me about my silver nails. I believe the clerk would identify as non-binary.  I tell them how I had achieved my look... Three layers, Revlon 215, silver and then a clear with glitter.  It almost looked 3D and textured.

Sister and her husband eventually come back to town. We had some business to attend to  and they had planned on doing yardwork at the parent's house: leaves, cleaning the gutters, removing downed limbs from the trees, etc.  We do that on Thursday. Brother in law is concerned because he's recently been diagnosed with something that can compromise his health so he stays outside when my sister and I are inside.

The only recreational thing I did when I was there was drive Dad around so he could be out of the house. We didn't go far.  Dad doesn't remember well, I think there are factors involved with this which haven't been diagnosed. He's also not real good at cleanliness.  That I managed to stay healthy was a miracle.  I told him repeatedly about his positive COVID tests but he forgets things within a few minutes. While I was there, Dad commented positively about my silver painted nails.  While I was in the house, I wore a pair of black leggings, clingy shirt over my bra and fairly large breast forms.  Dad never commented on my breast size varying from arrival to departure.  I retested myself and Dad  through the course of the week, I remained negative. Dad's positive results took longer to show on the test kit.  He remained positive until the Tuesday after I'd left. Sister also tested negative at that time.

Saturday was my return flight. I gather my stuff and pack up.  I didn't choose to wear the skirt but I did wear the turtleneck and large breastforms when I left the house. I found an empty parking lot to change into the skirt, gassed up the van and drove back to the rental agency.  Went to check my bag and proceeded to the security checkpoint where ID check person was having a bad day.  He was admonishing everyone that they "only need their ID, nothing else." I get to the scanner and the tech asks how I "want to be scanned." I replied, "huh? What do you mean?  He just replies get on the footprints and spread my legs more..." Once again, my carry-on needed scrutiny. The item set aside for inspection ahead of mine was a box filled with many smaller boxes.  It took forever foir the agent to get through the many boxes.  Te reason this time was I'd left a pair of fake boobs and the pill case in my carry-on.  I told the agent as he opened the case, if it's the round thing it's a pill dispenser and there might be some fake boobs, too.  All good, he opened the case, confirmed what I'd said and told me to have a good day.  I told him I was plenty early and thanked him for doing his job..

Time to wait for my flight, I decided to eat. McDonalds provided a Filet O Fish Combo for the small sum of $13. Ouch!!  The food was okay but not worth $13 in my opinion.  Off to the gate to wait... No drama, no hassle, no nothin' to speak of. The flight to Denver was mostly full but somehow I had the luxury of not having a person in the middle seat.  This also happened on the flight from Denver to Las Vegas.  I napped a bit on both legs of the trip.  The rest of the trip was nothing to speak of, arriving at about 11:30 p,m.  I collect my stuff and head out to meet my wife in our car.

I guess the bottom line is that for the most part, nobody will really pay attention to you if you're just doing your thing.  All my interactions were okay. I felt great with my choice, having a skirt instead of pants was a good decision.  TSA in Vegas probably sees "everything" so ol' Heather won't even be al blip on the radar.  TSA in Windsor Locks doesn't have the traffic/population/diversity/anything goes attitude that Vegas has.  I remember a departing flight from Bradley, maybe three years ago, the TSA poked my breast to see if I was smugging something. I was wearing a tee shirt over a sports bra and cotton breast pads.  I almost felt violated by that.  I understand that they're doing their job...  

If you're thinking about doing something, do it. You aren't getting any younger. You'll be fine.  I am.  I'm happy.  Since "coming out" at work, I haven't worn pants to the office.  I haven't had a negative or derogatory comment made to my face.  My coworkers have been much more supportive than I could have ever expected considering how politically opposite they are to me.

Ok, that's all there is for now. This meandering post has taken far too many days to complete.