Bit of a Panic Attack tonight (serious understatement).
My dad took me
out to eat for my birthday this evening. As a premise to this story, he
knows about my status being transgender and has, on occasion, been
witness to see the real me. Generally I present as my guy mode for him
because it's really too much for him at his age to handle. That's my
gift back to him when I come down to visit. So, tonight I wore my blue
jeans, my blue polo shirt and no makeup what-so-ever. In theory, I
sported a very generic non-female-gender look.
I figured I was
pulling off guy mode pretty well as I interacted initially with the
restaurant staff. When the waiter came over to take our orders, he
asked my dad (calling him sir) and then me, much to my surprise - ma'am!
Well, it it all seemed to go over my dad's attention unnoticed, at
least initially and thankfully! Then, J, who is visiting with her mom,
called me on my cellphone just as the waiter returned once more. While I
was chatting with her, I clearly heard from my other phone-free ear,
the waiter ask him what the 'lady' would like for dessert. Oh my
goodness. It was at that point that my dad let loose and started
proclaiming in a tone loud enough for half the restaurant to hear, that
"he is my son!".
What I didn't expect to happen at this point, was the
waiter, assuming my dad was somewhat senile, continue to use the female
pronouns. I've never had anything like this happen before where someone
was passively re-asserting my identity over my father's quite vocal
proclamation and continuing on with miss and ma'am. At one point in
this faux-pas debacle, the waiter just looked at me, still while I was
clutching my phone for dear life like a diversionary tactical pacifier,
and just gave me this look as if my dad was losing it. A tempered panic
attack set in as half the restaurant within earshot took notice at this
point. I simply smiled back at the waiter and gave him a little "wink"
as my dad said "son" one more time.
Truthfully, the waiter's affirming
body language towards me was just the opposite of that displayed towards
my dad. In that very moment, I was completely self aware of the fact
that the waiter was innately impressed that my dad was simply losing his
mental marbles. This seemed to be confirmed as he continued to ma'am
me quietly and more directly for the rest of the time at dinner. I
can't believe the weird stories happening in life... they just seem so
bizarrely surreal as to beg a reality check...... but there they are
just playing out around me as two separate people affirm two opposing
views of my identity while I simply watch and listen like I am a
spectator of my own life. I swear I couldn't make this stuff up even if
I tried... it's too ludicrous to be real.