Well, after a trip to the mall to do some shopping, life intervened and I did not have an opportunity to express myself for quite some time. Two weeks in fact went by in a whirlwind of intercity travel, meetings and frantic proposal writing. But finally, last Friday I had a morning to myself. Well sort of…
We were in the midst of a heatwave. Temperatures were in the low to mid-thirties in degrees centigrade (which, for the Americans out there, is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit). We had a guest from Nigeria in one of our apartments and he was feeling hot. Uncomfortably hot. Clearly West Africans aren’t used to the heat. So, we decided to get him an air conditioner as quickly as we could. We did not want to wait for an installer to come and install a ‘proper’ fixed unit as we had an immediate need, so we decided to go and get a small ‘portable’ unit instead.
This meant a trip to the mall… Poor me.
I got up and started the task of getting myself presentable enough to face the wide world. I also had to decided what to wear. I couldn’t be too glam, but I was tired of wearing jeans, plus as it was so hot, I wanted to wear a dress! I decided to go with the orange bare shoulder dress. The thought if walking around with my shoulders bare was very appealing (given the heat). I accessorised with a brown handbag some not too heavy jewellery and my trusty (and comfy) sandals.
Once we were ready, we headed out to the mall.
First stop was the sportswear shop as we needed to get some gym shorts for our eldest daughter. They had what we needed (even in the preferred colour: green), so we were able to acquire the necessary apparel quickly and easily. and we then went off to the department store to get the air conditioner/fan.
Oh my word. The selection available was huge. There were desk top fans, fan that sprayed a fine mist of water, large fans, small fans ceiling fans, large air conditioners and smaller air coolers. Making a selection was complicated by the fact that the store’s own air conditioner was running at full tilt so it was hard to tell whether any of these were making a difference or not. Nor could we be sure which ones were more effective than the others.
Eventually we decided on a small to medium sized air cooler that made use of a fan as well as water and ice to cool the air. It seemed to offer the best compromise between price, value and size. The room we needed to cool is only 16 m2 and we also need to be sure that we do not overcrowd the room. The guest was very happy with it so it seems we made the right choice.
The sales staff were all very polite and friendly and I am happy to say that I was not misgendered… Having acquired the air cooler we wondered what to do next?
I had been to a local cafe for a business breakfast earlier in the week and had been introduced to a new range of rather interesting fruit juices so we decided to go and try them out before returning home for lunch. I had a pineapple, elderberry and ginger juice and my spouse had a beetroot, cherry and apple juice. They were lovely and refreshing on a very hot day. The waiter was good if a little on the slow side when bringing the bill but he gendered me correctly throughout and I enjoyed the experience immensely.
We returned home, made a sandwich for lunch and I got in a few hours of solid work for the rest of the afternoon. So, whilst it wasn’t quite a ‘ladies who lunch day, it was a pretty good substitute. We got some work done, we met our guest’s needs and we had some yummy juices as well. I will take that over a day in the office any day! Every time I venture out into the world, I am simultaneously reminded of the need to be safe and yet struck by how well I am accepted by so many people as I go about my ordinary day’s activities. I hope that I can inspire more of my trans brothers and sisters to get out there. Take precautions. Be safe. Make sure you are comfortable with what you are doing but please don’t spend your life hiding in dear. There is a whole wide world out there that needs you in it. Please come out and live your life as it was meant to be lived.