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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Feel like a good cry?

-- Author Unknown

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 AM, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie. By her side was a small nylon suit case. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets and there were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. "Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness."It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated". "Oh, you're such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?" "It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly."Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice". I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw that her eyes were glistening.

"... I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long ..."

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now." We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair."How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse ...

"... Nothing," I said ...

"... You have to make a living," she answered. "There are other passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you." I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware -- wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said; but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Friday, April 22, 2005

My apologies for not being better about responding promptly to email and IM's recently- I've had a few things I've had to deal with the last week+ that have kept me busier than usual. Again, my apologies, and I'll catch up soon. Thanks!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

A few thoughts on a beautiful Sunday evening...

Budweiser Select. I can understand the various other permutations of Budweiser (and most beers:) Bud, Bud Light, Bud Ice (do they still make that?) Bud Dry (ditto) even B E, all for folks who are looking for different things in/from their beer. But Budweiser Select? What does that say about people who don't buy Bud Select? And what does that say about regular, original Bud? "Nah, don't give me Select, I'm not worthy, just give me non-Select!" And just how exactly does Select differ from original Bud? Will this be Anheuser-Busch's equivalent of New Coke?

Did you ever read something and as a result remember, or have brought back to your memory, an incident or event seemingly long-forgotten? I recently finished reading "Best American Crime Writing, 2004 Edition" (a fascinating read if you're into that genre- I am.) One story was quite disturbing, and somewhat familiar, on several levels, Robert Draper's "Night Of The Bullies," as it reminded me of a long-ago, and long-forgotten, incident I was witness to.

I'm convinced the two most common words in rock lyrics are "yeah" and "woo!"

The new "Kojak" on USA Network. Starring Ving Rhames in the Theo Kojak role made famous by Telly Savalas. Now, I'm as accepting of diversity as the next person, but c'mon, a black guy playing the role of the Greek-American NYPD detective?! What's up with that?! Using this "logic," David Caruso- or Conan O'Brien!- should've been cast in the lead role of the remake of Shaft! It would have been just as absurd, just as much a departure from the original, as having the thoroughly African-American Mr. Rhames playing Theo Kojak. Why not just tweak the character lines just a little bit, make it just slightly different, slightly more original, and give Ving Rhames a character to make his own? Just a thought...

"I said yeah, yeah, yeah- woo!"

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Time for a few small repairs...

I have to move forward with all of "this." I've been doing some relatively minor things, I've been growing my hair out for awhile now (hafta get a decent cut pretty soon!) I've been growing and taking much better care of my nails (I'll probably NEVER have really long nails; working out is too difficult on 'em, but I have grown 'em a bit longer and have kept 'em better cared for) and taking on a more active, more intense skin-care regimen, trying to keep those "fine" lines (nuthin' "fine" about 'em!) and such at bay and making my face softer and smoother, as well as the things I've done for years now (eyebrows tweezed, legs always shaved and smooth, etc...) It's weird- sometimes I look in the mirror and see a quite feminine image looking back at me, even when I'm not particularly trying to. But I feel I need to do more, and do more more often. I need to make/create/find time for some social life again. I need to- ugh- drop a good 10 lbs, and maybe even a bit more, if I wanna get really lean. I need to look into and as possible begin laser hair reduction/removal on my face and neck. I'd like to make a change career-wise, ideally something where I could work at the very least androgynously if not as a woman. And a lil longer-term, perhaps this fall, begin HRT.

I get frustrated. I see sooooooo many folks moving forward with all of this, and I seem stuck, or I make myself stuck, whether it's my paralysis of analysis, whether it's fear, or whether it's simply laziness. Lately (as many of my recent posts sadly attest!) I've been growing moody, irritable, b*tchy, disappointed in myself and angry at disappointing others due primarily to my stagnation. It's odd- by nature, I am a happy, optimistic, positive person, yet for awhile now I've beaten myself down, or let myself be beaten down, by various circumstances and such without taking much in the way of pro-active action to change them. I SO admire people who "go for it," whatever going for it means to and for them. I used to be more that way myself. "Going for it" for me, right now, where my life stands, means moving forward in my transgenderism, determining where and how far I need to take it to feel more at peace with myself, and doing it, actively, positively doing it. I have to snap myself out of my immediate funk (the one that has lasted for close to two months now, dammit!) and make a significant leap forward in many aspects of my life. I don't know why I let myself get so snug in a comfort zone that- really- isn't all that comfortable, but instead is tolerable, it's "not too bad," it "could be worse." Well, yeah, but those also imply that things could be a lot better!

As I've indicated throughout the life of this blog, I frequently struggle with balancing my own happiness, what I want and need out of life, with what I believe I "owe" others, be it responsibility, loyalty, dependability, etc...not wanting to disappoint others. To me, that-disappointing others- has seemed worse than disappointing myself. But more and more lately, perhaps in part due to this "funk" I've found myself in, I'm finding that the considerable irritability, the shortness of temper and patience, the frustration and such that I've been feeling, and that at times I foist upon others (NONE of which I feel good about) are causing as much distress to others- and to myself- as "disappointing" them by following my own bliss as it were a bit more, may.

I had, and have, some other thoughts, but it's getting late, and the Sox are playing the Yankees in a couple!

"Count the years you always knew it/Strike a match, go on and do it..."

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Rest In Peace- John Paul II.