Friday, January 8, 2010
Damn It! I'm Getting Fat Again!
All the while I was growing up, I was a thin little kid. I never even considered the possibility of getting fat. Then when I became a teenager, I grew a full foot in three years. By the time I graduated from high school, I looked like Washington Irving's, Icabad Crane. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock, perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield. --- Washington Irving
I spent two weeks in the hospital when I was fifteen years old, and in my medical records, I was described by the attending physician, as an emaciated white male. I would eat everything I could get my hands on, but it made no difference. No amount of extra calories would put extra pounds on my bony frame.
Oh, how I long for those days! All of that changed when I entered my twenties. Suddenly all of the calories I had been used to eating, began to pack on the pounds. Its been a constant "battle of the bulge" ever since. The only thing that keeps the pound off now is near daily, vigorous, sweat producing exercise. An hour a day of hard pedaling on my Trek mountain bike, mounted in a magnetic resistance stand, at least five days a week seems to do the trick, but lately I have been slacking off. Over the last couple of months, I've let that slip to just three days, and sometimes only two days a week. That just isn't enough. A couple of months go, I was very comfortable wearing size 18 jeans, and I was working my way down to a size 16. Just a week ago, a size 20 was a comfortable fit! That will never do! So for the last week it's been back to the daily routine again.
I went to my support group meeting tonight, and was able to squeeze back onto the size 18's again, albeit with a bit of a muffin top, hidden of course by a burgundy corduroy tunic. If I couldn't get into the 18's, I was contemplating not going, because I wanted to wear my brown 15" boots, with my pant legs tucked in, and the size 20 jeans were just too baggy in the leg to to look good.
So.....you are probably asking yourself, what is the relevance of a video of Freddie Mercury, singing Radio Ga Ga? Well...........I can't ride my bike for an hour and stare at the wall, so I watch videos as I pedal! I've already gone through the entire 13 CD set of The World At War twice, and the 4 CD set of Victory at Sea twice, not to mention Bob Dylan's 2 CD set of, Don't Look Back, and Bruce Springsteen's 3 CD set of, Born To Run. I needed some new video inspiration, and I found a great one; the 4 CD set of Bob Geldof's 1985 Live Aid. What a golden age of rock'n'roll the late seventies and early eighties were, and Live Aid showcased some of the best: Brian Ferry, U2, Sting, Dire Straights, Phil Collins, David Bowie, The Pretenders, The Who, Elton John & Kiki Dee, George Michael, Madonna, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Paul McCartney, REO Speedwagon, Crosby Stills and Nash, Eric Clapton, Duran Duran, Pattie LaBelle, Hall & Oats, Eddie Kendricks, Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and INXS, just to name a few. But..........the king of them all was Freddie Mercury, and the Live Aid Video shows why he was loved by so many, and will always be missed. God love you Freddie! Great pedaling music, by the way!
I mentioned that I went to my January support group meeting tonight. I've been looking forward to it, but before I went, I wanted to make sure that everything was in proper order with my truck. You all know what a worrywart I am, especially when it comes to driving nearly a hundred miles round trip, on a lonely interstate highway at night. I knew that I needed new wiper blades, and my state inspection was due at the end of the month, so yesterday I drove the two miles down the road to the local auto repair shop. This is the same garage that I went to a couple of weeks ago, to get my oil changed, and have my questionable tire checked out.
When you take a vehicle in for a state inspection here, the very first thing they do is, take a blade and scrape the old inspection sticker off of the windshield. It doesn't make any difference that the sticker may be good until the end of the month. Once the inspection begins, the old sticker must be removed. I knew I needed wiper blades to pass the inspection, but I didn't have time to wait a half a day for them to be delivered if they didn't have them, so I asked the man behind the counter if he had wiper blades to fit my truck? He said he did, so I told him I need an inspection too, and asked if he had time to do it? There was already an adorable young woman sitting on a stool in front of the counter, and he said that she had already been waiting an hour to get her's inspected, so I told him to just put the wiper blades on, and I would bring it back next week for the inspection.
I made my way through the miasma of cigarette smoke that enveloped his waiting room, to his collections of mostly car magazines, and found a wonderful magazine, called Southern Living. I grabbed it and took a seat, in what must have been a fifty year old office desk chair. Choking on the ever enveloping side stream of his constantly burning cigarettes, I began thumbing through the pages, feasting my eyes on stories and pictures of beautiful old and new southern American homes, their furnishings, and the lives of their inhabitants. What a queer he must have thought I was! All those macho car magazines, and there I was, totally engrossed in beautiful displays of interior design! If he did think so, he never let on. Shortly after his mechanic located my wiper blades, he told me they just finished the the car of the girl who was before me, and they could get to my inspection in short order. I was in full boy mode, so feigning my best good ole' boy response, I looked up under the brim of my cap and smiled. "You guys are alright!", I said. Yeah, I know! But after sixty one years, I know just how to talk to these types.
As I thumbed through the magazine and waited for my truck to be inspected, I couldn't help but hear the conversations of the guy behind the counter, and the mechanics who occasionally came in to talk to him. "Did you see the guy getting his tongue pierced, on that show last night?" one guy said, "Then another one had his tongue split like a snake!" The guy behind the counter responded with a comment about getting someone a European purse, referring to an American TV commercial, in which a guy has a shoulder bag, and a store clerk says "Nice purse.", whereupon his wife says, "It's a European shoulder bag. It was a gift." This is such a typical kind of conversation for these types of males. I will never understand why their masculinity is so tied up in denigrating those, they think are strange, or less masculine than themselves.
Tonight at my support group meeting, several post-op members detailed the expenses involved in their transitions. The bottom line was that you will need upwards of $70,000 to $80,000 dollars to transition from male to female, and a lot more to transition from female to male, since that is a far more complicated procedure. It's all very depressing, and clearly explains why 80% of transsexuals never fully transition.
During the meeting, I noticed a diminutive and adorable young female, sitting across the room from me, albeit dressed in jeans, a flannel shirt and ace cap. Turns out, that he was a new female to male member. Just goes to show that looks mean nothing! God love him, as well as the girls who look like guys!
God love all of you too!
As I was leaving our meeting tonight, for the first time I felt an unusual emotional connection to the group, On the way out, I was confronted by Teresa, a mid sixties post-op woman, who is a bulwark of our organization. I truly respect her! I was buttoning up my hooded black Pea Coat in front of her, and noticed that I was awkwardly connecting the buttons up with the wrong button holes! Completely embarrassed, I acknowledged that I was doing it all wrong, and explained that I usual did it in front of a mirror. Very graciously, she gave me instructions to start at the bottom, and work my way up to the top! I completed the task per her instructions, then subsequently gave her a warm hug!
Also our president, who initially had me so intimidated with her assertive presence, came up to me as I was sitting with my legs crossed, grabbed the zipper on my boot, pulled it down a notch or two, then returning it to its original position with a smile, said, "Nice boots!" You have no idea how happy that made me!