Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Story Part 18 – Ops… Pardon My Slip

Before I transitions I was living 16 hours a day as Diana five days a week and full time on weekends. There were a number of times that I almost slipped up.

One of the near misses happen when I was on a business trip to our corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania back in the winter of ’06. I went out there with a project engineer to discuss a manufacturing problem with one of our suppliers. The night that were arrived in town, the VP of Engineering invited us out to dinner. Well they were delayed at the office, so the project engineer and I sat at the bar drinking beers. I was rather relaxed (they were two hours late) when the VP and his wife arrived, I went to induce myself to his wife and I said “Hi, I’m Di….[cough].” I almost said I’m Diana instead of Don and I tried to hide the gaffe by coughing, which worked. Whew!!!

What happen was I separated Don from Diana by location in my mind. Work = Don. Non-working hours = Diana. I was relaxing in a non-work setting, I had about three beers already and it was a place that would have associated with Diana, hence the slip up.

Coming back from that trip on the corporate jet there were a couple of VPs on board (us peons can ride in the corporate jet if there are any open seats, otherwise we get bumped to the commercial jets). They were talking about the weather conditions back at Bradley airport and when one of them said there was six inches of snow, I said “Shit!” and the two VPs looked at me. One of them asked I was planning on going out that night (Friday) and I could not very well say that I was going to a fundraiser Drag Show at a local gay bar. So made up a little white lie and I said I had a date and he asked where we were going. After some quick thinking, I said that we were going to the movies, but I will probably now just pick-up a pizza and go over to her apartment. Two close calls in less than a week.

Every October, I went up to Provincetown on Cape Cod to Fantasia Fair for a week and for the whole week, I was Diana. That made it somewhat difficult when I got home (There is even a workshop at the fair that covers this effect, the workshop is called “Lost in the Pink Fog”) and went back to work. The first problem was that I couldn’t talk about my vacation, all I could say was that I had a great time, I was afraid of even saying that I was up in Provincetown because of the reputation P’town has about being a “Gay” town. Anyhow, the other problem was that I was use to answering when somebody said “Diana” and at work that was a problem because we had a Diane who worked with me. One Monday when I had just come back from FF, I was in the copier room and someone said, “Diane, can you make copies of these for me?” and over the noise of the copiers, I thought they said Diana. I was about to turn and say yes, when I heard Diane answer. I had not realized that she was standing behind me and if I answered, it would have been rather hard to say that Don sounded like Diane even with all the noise of the copiers.

Well now all that is behind me, the stress that I had living two lives is gone. I don’t have to hide now and also everyone where I use to work has since found out that I’m trans, so are accepting and others are not.


Justine Valinotti said...

I know how you felt, Diana! I, too, lived in a "pink fog" before I lived full-time as Justine. Fortunately, I didn't have any colleague with a name that sounded even remotely like mine, and my former name is different enough from my current name that I didn't mis-hear people or mis-speak. However, I committed other gaffes: Like the day I showed up in came to work, as I did in those days, in full boy-drag --and nail polish. I spent that day in terror that someone would want to shake hands with me or would simply get a glimpse of one or more of my fingers when I was writing, picking something up or performing some other task. To this day, I'm amazed that no one noticed I had my hands in my pockets for much of the day. Or, at least, no one mentioned it!

Kwizgiver said...

Another great chapter in your story!