Posts Tagged ‘Connecticut’

Going Home, Days 6-7, 8/18-19/12: Deliverance

November 30, 2012

A former Econo Lodge, now closed, in Austintown, Ohio, where we spent a lovely final afternoon of our trip home.

Nov. 14, 2012

Here we go — the last installment of the epic Going Home saga, where Alexis and I and our yellow Penske beast left western Ohio Saturday morning with the goal of getting home to Connecticut by the end of the night. And as we found out, the road to good intentions is paved with hell.

For Going Home, the Prequel: Loose Ends, click here.

For Going Home, Day 1, 8/13/12: Leaving Fresno. Not., click here.

For Going Home, Day 2, 8/14/12: Sharing Needles, or Not Even out of California Yet, click here.

For Going Home, Day 3, 8/15/12: The Wrong Toins at Albuquoique, click here.

For Going Home, Day 4, 8/16/12: Amarillo by Lunchtime, But Let’s Wait ’til Oklahoma, click here.

For Going Home, Day 5, 8/15/12: The Big Push, click here.

For the entire Going Home series, click here.

The last day of the trip — or so we hoped and thought — began maybe a little more than an hour after the previous one ended, in that rest area on I-70 in western Ohio. The Saturday light was just starting to bleed into the darkness, black slowly dissolving into deep blue.

I descended the steps of the truck again to hit the women’s room, and I realized something: I needed a shave. I felt the stubble on my face, nearly a day’s growth — not nearly as much as in my boy days, but I could feel the slight coarseness of the stubble — and realized that I needed to do something about it, to be able to pass, especially in case of emergency. And I couldn’t shave in the women’s room, as anyone could walk in on me. Total pain in the ass. Electrolysis is near the top of my wish list once I get hired again and get working again. IF I ever work again at this point …

So, on to Plan B. Rough it. I opened the trunk of the Camry, took the razor and shaving cream from the well-worn Target bag I was using for my meds and toiletries, grabbed some napkins, climbed back in the cab, removed the makeup from my face, poured some bottled water into my hand and started splashing my face. I then lathered, shaved and cleaned up, alternating between handfuls of water and swipes of paper towel. A little messy, but it did the trick.

Then I reapplied my face — nothing too fancy, just enough where no one would read me — and then we were back on the road.

And one last time … showtime!

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Going Home, The Prequel: Loose ends

October 16, 2012

One of Fresno’s best-known landmarks, at the south end of Van Ness Avenue. At one time, before freeways. it welcomed visitors from the south.

Oct. 15, 2012

Note: It’s been two months since I, with a lot of help, loaded up a rental truck, attached my car to the back and began the journey into the next chapter of my life: the move home to Connecticut from Fresno after eight years of transition in ways I never could have imagined. Well, after a huge bout of self-doubt, regaining confidence, losing my religion and finally convincing myself again that I might actually be a real writer — well, here goes. Strap in:

I had long envisioned — hoped for — the Hollywood ending to what I’ve been through the last nearly five years, between the gender transition that started in January 2008 and the joblessness hell that began in March 2009. I imagined that, after all I’ve been through, there would finally be a great job waiting for me at the end of the rainbow — that I would be able to return East the conquering heroine to a great job, and then everything else would fall into place like so many dominoes.

Well, we all know that Hollywood is bullshit. And that life comes at you whether you’re ready or not.

And instead of coming home to hosannas and a wonderful new life, riding a atop a figurative white charger, I’d be driving across the country in the hottest time of the year in a yellow Penske rental truck, my rickety ’96 Camry attached to the back, with no job, lots of uncertainty and just as much blind faith.

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The Month of George Bailey

August 10, 2012

It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t something I usually mention, let alone ponder, in early August. (At least wait ’til the department stores start putting up their Christmas stuff, in late August.)

My view of Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart’s 1946 masterpiece (and you have to give Stewart co-billing here, because, like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, it wouldn’t have have resonated this long and loudly without him) is colored by how I’m feeling about life that particular holiday season. If I’m happy and perhaps prosperous — and maybe, on those rare occasions, even in love — then I sit there and soak in the glow of a tale of a man who has done great deeds, none of which have seemed to have gone unpunished, pushed to the brink of suicide on Christmas Eve, dragged back by a bedraggled guardian angel second-class who died in the 18th century, shown what the world would be like had he never been born, and ultimately rewarded in a most wonderful way.

But as often as not — and especially last Christmas, living in a miserable, passive-aggressively hostile rental situation, the hours of my on-call copy-editing about to be slashed to nothing just 3 1/2 months after I returned to the work world after 2 1/2 years out of work — I felt more like this:

Years like last, I avoid the film, grumbling about how much of a crock of shit it is — how George Bailey is only a fictitious character, and that this shit doesn’t happen in real life.

(In fact, last year, I watched not one Christmas special, and Jeff Day and I didn’t even do our annual radio run-through of Rudolph on WPKN. And my back was turned to the TVs in the newsroom as I worked the copy desk Christmas Eve night, as one showed It’s a Wonderful Life and the other showed A Christmas Story. And on Christmas Day proper, I sat in my miserable room at the Happy House watching a documentary on a renowned and brilliant atheist — American: The Bill Hicks Story.)

It’s been a month now since I discovered that my work hours at The Fresno Bee were going bye-bye — and unlike the previous two occurrences this year (after Christmas and Easter), when I regained some hours eventually, this felt permanent. (And that was hammered home two evenings ago, Aug. 7, when I learned two more of my ex-colleagues, one on the copy desk, were laid off.).

When Kris, my boss, told me the news, I just knew it was time. A brief moment of “Not yet — I can’t afford this!” followed by a huge sense of calm. I had reached the end. It was time to go home. This time, the voice of reason wasn’t the loud whisper that told me, “Okay — it’s Fresno” the day the Bee’s then-features editor emailed me in October 2003, asking if I’d be interested in the assistant features editor position. Or the out-of-body experience I felt at the moment of my gender epiphany inĀ  January 2008, the voice asking me quite clearly from someplace to my left, “Can you do this?” This was a slight sag of the shoulders, the slow letting-out of air, and me saying, out loud to Kris, “It’s time.”

But how was I gonna do this?

I wasn’t ready for what followed. It’s been one part It’s a Wonderful Life, one part learning experience. Kind of having to learn to redefine the concepts of success and failure.

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Well, here comes my next step, ready or not — help!

July 2, 2012

The exit off 84 in Waterbury that will get me home.

This is something I just posted on my Facebook wall …

Monday, July 2, 2012, 3:30 a.m. PDT

Well, friends, friendly faces and kinfolk …

I don’t know how I’m gonna do this, but just past halftime of 2012 — this year of great change — great change is finally hitting me. And, ready or not, I have no choice.

I’ve pondered this the last two days — told my mother and a handful of friends — and up until this past evening, I wasn’t 100 percent sure. And even now, as I polish and finish this letter I started two days ago, it feels somewhat surreal. But after recording my lead vocals last night for “Out of Step” with The Backstabbers for the forthcoming Reducers tribute album, I feel I’ve done the last thing I’ve needed to finish here in Fresno.

Drazzle drazzle, drazzle drone — time for this one to come home.

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