There is this perception that when you’re on the road for work you’ll have tonnes of time to do other things. My days on the road haven’t been that lucky. I’m usually up at 6am and don’t get to bed until midnight or thereabouts. My work at whatever location I’m at goes from about 8am until about 5-6pm. And contrary to what most might think, being a technical trainer can be quite draining. You have to be emotionally “on” constantly and nearly always have the answer, even if you don’t have the answer. It then means digging for it. It also means keeping control of a variety of personalities. The best class is when all the personalities fit (I’ve had that a handful of times). The reality is that most classes kinda fit. One or two students are either anti-social or have other challenges, whether language, personality or what-have-you. I’ve always been concerned that my very visible transition might translate into an additional difficulty but thus far, hasn’t. It may be due to my ability to present as professional and to make what I teach paramount rather than who I am paramount.
This week was no exception. We lucked out with a great class but with so many students and given that it was new material (I already knew about 85% of the material by heart and just need to bone up on that last 15%) the days were long. To add to it, we weren’t in downtown Chicago but rather in the outskirts (read: middle of nowhere). I’d get back to the hotel by about 6-6:30pm (I picked a hotel that was easily in walking distance of the location) and then hunt for food. By the time dinner was done, it was nearly 8:30pm. Then I tried to relax or get caught up on other things. Most interesting places were downtown or were already closed. That was kind of annoying.
The one huge plus from the week was that practically everyone outside of the class called me “sir”, “dude” or even “Mr. <birthname>”, the last I found particularly interesting. I have a feeling that my ability to pass even more will change with necessary surgery. The name change will be the additional step. My trans individuals I know feel they live two lives and I know exactly what they are referring to. Until one is passing 100% and has had necessary surgeries, name changes and, if necessary/possible, gender marker changes, they will likely straddle these two options. It is my professional life that is giving me a sense of belonging and safety like I’ve never felt before. I have to admit that I’m incredibly lucky to belong to an organization like the corporation I do belong to (it’s a fast growing company that some would say is large but that many employees, particularly those that have been there for 2 or more years, see as small).
Another fun thing being on the road is some of the people I meet outside of my work, like the cabby that took me to O’Hare. For the whole trip he played Deep Purple’s Machine Head (on tape cassette no less). When we got to the airport, he commented on my ring and showed me a golden skull cigar band ring that he got in German. Through his broken english he explained that it 18K. It was a beautiful ring and the design was rather intricate. I don’t think he would have done either if he had clued in that I wasn’t a guy. I love talking to the average person that lives in each of the places that I visit. To me, it shows the true side of Americana: the person that lives to create their own American dream.