A Lesson Learned

Sunday, June 24, 2012

After my session with M, my therapist, this morning (which I'll write about next week), I headed back home, looking forward to a long walk.

It's been quite hot and humid here the past few days, so much so that even a dedicated hoofer like yours truly stayed indoors. (I also had to work late two of three nights, but we shall speak no more of that.) So I badly needed to exercise, partly to stay in shape, but more to burn off excess energy and clear my head after another long week toiling in The Place That Shall Not Be Named.

As soon as I got home I changed into gym clothes and chose which Mariners cap I wanted to wear. I have a growing collection of these hats that I wear whenever I go for one of my power walks, both to express my allegiance to my beloved Ms and to keep the sweat out of my eyes. The order of those two priorities is determined by a) the temperature and b) my current level of despair at the Ms ongoing historic offensive ineptitude. Hey, no one said being a Mariners fan was easy, after all. 

Rooting for the Ms has turned out to be good practice for transitioning, as it turns out. Patience is required, as is a healthy dose of hope for better days to come, with the occasional sign that the promised land is not, in fact, a mirage, but a tangible place after all. Actually, Seattle in the summer - all six weeks of it - *is* pretty close to the promised land. But I digress.

I was more than halfway through when, suddenly, the sky turned dark. Really, really dark. Angry, purple dark. I was more than an hour from home, so I had no choice but to pick up my pace and hope I outran the raindrops.

Alas, it was not to be. Fat raindrops began to splatter the windshields of passing cars, advance warning of what clearly going to be a classic late-afternoon summer thunderstorm.

When I was in high school, I worked in a hospital kitchen. It was not air-conditioned, needless to say, so I would be drenched with sweat by the time I completed my 5:30 AM - 3:30 PM shift. 

Tough as those hours were, my reward awaited me. If the sky was bright and cloudless, it meant jumping into the pool in our backyard almost literally the moment I arrived home. If it was gray and threatening, it meant taking a shower, then sitting on the front porch, Spenser mystery novel in hand (I read the entire series up to that point between my sophomore and junior years), and listening to oddly peaceful sound of rain pounding on the porch roof. My parents chose to close it in a few years later, a decision they still regret. If I ever own my own home, the one non-negotiable feature is a large, covered front porch.

Again, I digress. :c) While the rain is a pleasurable sensation when you're listening and watching from a dry porch, iced coffee at your side, it is much less so when you are out in the midst of the maelstrom with what turns out to be, inevitably, a faulty umbrella.

The sudden, deafening burst of thunder and subsequent scar of lightning arcing through the sky above me mere moments later convinced me I needed to get inside as quickly as possible.

I headed, double-time, for a Dunkin Donuts three blocks away, hoping against hope I arrived before the skies moved past the preliminaries and unleashed their full fury.

I almost made it. I was half a block away when the monsoon commenced. Within seconds I was soaked. I could feel my hair getting wet through my baseball cap - it was *that* kind of heavy rain.

Sneakers squishing, I splashed through the puddles for those final few feet. Glasses fogged, I finally found the door and stumbled inside.

I've been sensitive to the cold since starting HRT; as you can imagine, the disparity between full-on steam bath in which I had been walking in for the preceding two hours and the frigid blast that greeted me inside meant I was shivering almost instantly. I was so cold that I realized I needed something warm to drink.

I was the only person in the shop besides the girl behind the counter. I smiled and said hello; after a split-second delay she smiled politely in return and said hello. 

Squinting at the menu, I finally managed to decipher the various blurs to place my order: a medium toasted almond coffee, half-and-half and no sugar. (I add my own later, lest I slip into diabetic shock with the shovels-full of the stuff they insist on dumping in.) 

As pulled out the wad of soggy bills from my pocket, I noticed she was staring at my chest, quickly looking away when she realized I was looking at her, puzzled. I smiled again, and, turning around, apologized for dripping water everywhere. When I looked back, she was, again, staring at my chest - and, again, she flushed when she realized I had caught her.

After receiving my change, I dropped in a tip and collected my coffee. Once I was seated out of her sight, I looked down to see what had caught her eye.

Whoops. It was instantly apparent. 

Even though I was wearing a not-all-that-tight t-shirt *and* a camisole (courtesy of my sister) underneath it, the combination of skin-drenching rain and sub-Arctic temperatures meant that the girls (such as they are at the moment) were at, um, full attention.

It was my turn to flush with embarrassment. But after a moment, I laughed to myself.

If you had told me this was even remotely possible - physically and otherwise -  as recently as mid-spring 2011, I would never have believed it.

The occasional awkward moment such as this is well-worth it because of what it means in the bigger picture: I'm well on my way to being myself. That is a trade I will happily make any day. Although any suggestions on how to avoid this particular fate again are most welcome - that will help ensure that the title of this post actually make sense! :c)

Now let's just hope the weather gods don't send along a summer cold to help ensure it doesn't slip my mind any time soon!

***

While out on my soggy sojourn, I picked up one of the albums I have been waiting for for seemingly forever. (Yes, I still like to buy actual, physical albums - feel free to snicker if you find it absolutely necessary.) 

I actually saw Fiona Apple shortly after her debut album came out in 1996. She opened for Chris Isaak on another water-logged Saturday back then. In fact, she very nearly missed the show. She had stayed over in the town where they had played the previous night to visit friends, only to be stuck in hellish traffic brought on by historic rainfall - which, of course, the meteorologists has utterly missed. A leisurely four-hour drive became, instead, a twelve hour endurance test.

Chris Issak emerged on stage nearly 30 minutes after her opening set was to begin. He explained that she had called in a panic to say she was stuck in traffic. Ever the gentleman, he had told her not to worry, that he would open for himself and play her set for her. (And that included recreating the notorious video for "Criminal" on-stage with his bandmates, he joked.)

No sooner had the laughter died down then who should emerge from the side of the stage but the woman of the hour. She was clearly shaken, but Isaak hugged her and whispered something in her ear that made her laugh.

She sat down at the piano and launched into a lengthy, mile-a-minute apology/explanation that had even the most ardent fan glancing at their watches. I was neutral, having only heard "Criminal" to that point, but, to be honest, I was marking time until Isaak returned to the stage.

Then she began to sing.

The awkward teenager (she was only 19 at the time) vanished, and a formidable performer took her place, with a voice and stage presence to match. Her brief half-hour set was enough to make me an instant convert.

In the intervening years, she had only put out two other albums, 1999's When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts and 2005's Extraordinary Machine, both of which were accompanied by lengthy delays and all-too-common record label shenanigans. But the albums themselves were worth the wait.

This week finally saw the release of her fourth album, The Idler Wheel. (The actual title is a poem, as was When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts. In the interest of not inducing the need for carpal tunnel surgery, I will simply use the shorthand versions for both.) 

Like its predecessors, her time was well-spent. It is, based on two listens tonight, riveting: raw, stripped down (the only other musician on the album is her guitar player and the producer, who played various percussion instruments), and unnervingly intense in the directness of its lyrical content. She is a true artist.

I plan to see her next week. She has a well-deserved reputation as a peerless live performer. Check out the clip below, recorded at this year's SXSW festival in Austin TX, for proof.


I can only hope this is a promise of what is to come!

2 comments:

Jessica Lyn on June 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM said...

I haven't start hormones, so I don't have that issue just yet, but I would think the that sports bras would hide them enough.

I have tons of these
http://www.hanes.com/clothing/women/bras/sports-bras/hanes-sport-reg%3B-stretchy-cotton-sports-bra-2-pack

but now visiting their site again, I may get some of these
http://www.hanes.com/clothing/women/bras/sports-bras/hanes-comfortflex-fit-layered-cami-racerback-wirefree-bra

I abolsutely love the racerback style.. on pretty much any top actually.

Cassidy on June 27, 2012 at 10:08 PM said...

This is odd. In my original draft, I mentioned that I was wearing a camisole under my t-shirt at the time. But now it's gone. (Blogger was acting up the entire time I worked on this post for some reason.)

Anyway, yes, I wear a sports bra pretty much all the time now. (I still have a few shirts that I can get away without one, but not for much longer.) The camisole was quite thin, so when I got drenched… well, you know the rest. :c)

I've been borrowing from my sister, who has told me to help myself to anything in her closet. Nonetheless, I need to build my own collection. Because I exercise a lot, I go through them quickly. And I'm not all that big, but my sister is a waif, so some of her clothes are a bit too tight. (She calls me "skinny bitch" a lot, which I think she means as a compliment. lol)

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