Artisan Thinking

It was like that early autumn humid air in London. I wasn’t in London and it’s still summer but it was completely overcast and the odd spot of of rain hit my arms. The grey noise of commuter traffic in the distance. I was having my pre-work morning walk in the village, a long way from the city.

I caught the eye of the older gentleman walking on the other side of the road, red faced that seemed both a bit sun and alcohol induced, a life time of a bit of both rather than of the abusive kind. “Good morning.” I said brightly across the narrow residential dead-end road. It pays to be sociable when working from home given I’m unlikely to see anyone in person for the rest of the day. Most people respond.
“Good morning, love” he replied with a smile.

Sure it was at a distance enough that may be without his glasses, if he wears them, with my ponytail swaying about on my walk and the long running leggings that in combination kind of say what I want to present without too much effort. Even so, it kind of set me up for the day. Feeling recognised the way I wanted to be and I suppose it even staying with me through the working day. It’s not always like this though.

– ♥ –

I stood by the bus stop waiting. A queue of traffic coming from the city centre on a wide tree-lined road with old tall houses along its sides well-kept and standing firmly. A sort of bohemian part of the city. An event must had just finished, it was usually the only time the road would be like this other than commuter time, slow moving headlamps trailing along the asphalt, car windows down, some leaking music and some conversations with friends or asking banal questions to a taxi driver. The one thing the queue would mean is that the last bus of the night was going to be a bit delayed.

A man approached me from behind, a European lager glass dangling drunk from between his fingers, much like he was, with half a beer still somehow managing to stay in the glass.

He looked at me as he came around face to face and said, “You’re a bloke, are you?”

“Yes” I said. Not only was I alone, apart from the traffic and a lonely bus stop post, but he seemed a little more than drunk, which was clarified when later in our conversation while I was waiting for the bus to turn up he said, “You want some coke mate?” He produced a flimsy well used bag full of brown powder.
“No thanks, I’m good.” I said casually as to keep things as cordial as possible. I’d never seen cocaine in the flesh in my life before. The culinary part of me just thought, ‘that looks like soft brown sugar’ even now travelling on the bus I can smell the alcohol that was on his breath in my residual scent memory.

He gave me a waist hug at one point saying things will be ok, this was after he told me everything about “how good Margaret Thatcher was even though she was bad” amongst other rambling that fell on the deaf ears of the paving stones as his head drooped to the floor between the points he was trying to make. Nothing I could say could shift his topic of conversation, that was the one thing he was in control of and lead well.

The bus thankfully turned up while we were still friends and it ended with a fist bump that he insisted on stretching into the entrance of the bus, which I juggled between him and showing my ticket to the driver.

On the way home I considered what he’d said, “You’re a bloke, are you?” Was this a realisation of my physical gender or was he just not sure. I mean this had happened to me before many years ago while I was presenting full-on female back in the Bristol days, but that man wasn’t sure. He’s asked me if I had always been a woman and, at the time, I felt safe enough to play with him and said yes. He had looked at me unsure and couldn’t make him mind up. My friend sat next to me had smiled at this and it was fun. I was disheartened at the time and yet my friend said, think of it this way, he wasn’t sure. So in the end I got a positive from that situation. I was safe there, amongst other people in a bar and with a friend and the confidence of youth. In my bus stop situation I was alone, in the dark, on the edge of the city centre with a drunk stranger, possibly cocaine induced. Don’t get me wrong, he was not nasty at any point in our ten or fifteen minute conversation but it was not a time to play with the truth or more rightly giving my inner truth. My dress code was mixed and I certainly didn’t feel in a place that I could pass.

How I felt about this situation though in retrospect wasn’t that he probably thought I was outwardly female when it was approaching me along the pavement because all he would have seen at first was my rather long hair in a ponytail and a long female over-shirt that I had worn to the artisan courtyard bar earlier that night to socialise with a new friend. When he finally saw me face to face he realised that may be I might not be a woman (in the conventional sense) and that even his drunken eyes would cover up my gender, or reveal my gender identity in the way I wanted.

What it meant to me was that I’m still on most occasions still a mixed bag. Part of me is presentable and part of me isn’t. I can either worry about what doesn’t work or I can celebrate what I do have and work on things. And this is much like the rest of my life. Today I wandered around the home furnishings of a store and realised some of the lovely things I would like to have from the shop and how many things in my home are starting to look a little tired, like the dining table or to some extent my bed– both of which have had more use than their intended life span. Yet at the same time I have some new things around the house that do make me feel the way some of those items in the shop do. Subtle colours of soft hues in cushions, a beautiful gentle plant with feelings of airiness – a dining table that would be worthy of inviting friends over for dinner.

In fact while I was there I even found in the clothes section a lovely pair of denim shorts that would have replaced my failing and ageing denim shorts that while looking more and more fashionable as they thin and split but also have more chance of revealing sights of knicker material; I’m not sure my bravery spans that far. Sadly the new pair were in the petite section and so the search goes on.

The point is that some parts of my life are getting stale, much like the furniture my clothes and my gender and my progress. The positive thoughts that came out of this and sometimes the result of thinking so granularly at my life is that I can still change things if I want to. I can make good of what I have and change things if I need to. I’ve been sat around too long waiting for things to change around me without putting much in. Sure some things have improved or changed but my life still needs a bit of a spring clean. Whether it be dusting the shelves, changing the furniture or may be even moving home as part of reinvigoration. Some of it will most likely require more money than I have now and so I can look at what else I can do in my spare time to make that happen.

Until next time.

Emilia x

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