Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Identify as a Woman


It was only a matter of time before I would be able to respond, “Well, I identify as a woman.” I was practiced and ready and knew it would be only a matter of time. The time finally came at the San Leandro BART Station.

Descending the escalator stairs in twos, passing experienced commuters who hugged the right rail, I knew exactly where the bathrooms were located. I had used them frequently, and, despite their atrocious condition, I’d rather brave the grime and perennially wet floors than hold it until I got home. I had to go, I always have to go.

The ability to find public bathrooms was a gift of mine. Built out of necessity, due to my Diet Pepsi habit, it was one of the 2 God given gifts that he bestowed upon me. The other one was the ability to name the location of every 7/11 in San Francisco, past and present. God judiciously doles out these arbitrary gifts.

The lock to the men’s bathroom said “In Use.” I looked to the right and women’s bathroom said “Vacant.” Knowing they both were exactly the same, I opened the door to the women’s bathroom and went in. It wasn’t much of a decision.

As expected, the bathroom floor was flooded and the seat was wet, from either errant water from the sink or a guy had been the last one to use the bathroom.

Before leaving, I cleaned the seat with a paper towel and then put the seat down. I grew up with woman and the majority of my roommates were women, so I was trained in the politics of bathroom etiquette.

I opened the door to a non-descript woman in her mid-30s. She was reading the paper and didn’t look up. As she instinctively took the a few steps toward the bathroom, she looked up and saw me…a man. Her expression changed to one of disbelief and she gave me a look that said, “What the fuck, dude? Can’t you read?” I kept my head low and intently concentrated on adjusting my bag.

She stopped moving forward and turned as I went passed her: “Can’t you read? It says Women’s.” It happened and I was ready.

I pursed my lips and smugly replied, “Yes, I know. I identify as a woman.” I could’ve said “I’m Pr-Op” but that would’ve been pushing it.

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