Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bikers, Rings, and an Anniversary

Last Saturday (May 19, 2012 for you completists out there) I went out for the first time since telling my wife. 

As I mentioned in my last Blog entry (here), she was considering going to Washington DC for the weekend.  And she did- Saturday morning.  Along with my mother in law (MIL) and my daughter.  So it was just me and the dog at home. 

It was a busy week for me at work, so I didn't get a chance to pack.  So after work Saturday morning, I went to my storage unit to find one of my standing racks had fallen over.  Sigh.

So I cleaned that up.  Grabbed my outfit and everything I'd need to be Me for the night, including a pair of white sandals I'd never worn.  Then off to the Motel 6.  I'd reserved it a month in advance, as it's graduation time around here for all the Universities and last year my cadre was shut out of the cheaper places. 

So, then I took a couple hours to shave (again), shower, primp, paint, crush my lungs with a corset... then found out the shoes were too small.  And I was all but dressed.  Only brought the one pair.  Sh*t.

Not the end of the world.  Finished last details, grabbed my purse and walked out of that room as Sophie Lynne (loose on the world again!)

Taken before leaving.  Not my best pic.

Back to the storage unit.  It's ten minutes through highway construction from the motel to the storage space.  Remember that, as it has bearing later.  So I went up to my space, past all the recording cameras, and strapped on a different pair of white shoes.  Now I was REALLY ready and I jumped back into the car.

And drove home.

After all, with no one there, someone had to feed the dog and let her out.  I spent ninety minutes at home, taking some pictures and playing with the dog.  I called my wife while dressed.  And she KNEW I was dressed as I told her I would be.  She didn't mention it.

I also went on the computer for a few minutes.  I had time.  I already knew that none of us were doing the usual dinner at Cafe Winberie.  Why?

At Home in my new Red Skirt

Because it was an Anniversary!  The 25th Anniversary of Greater Philadelphia Renaissance!  Wow!  A TG support group that started before the internet!  And special guests were founders Joanne Roberts (who now runs TG Forum where I have a column) and Angela Gardner (of Angela's Laptop Lounge.)  I also learned that Kate Bornstein was another founder (there were five.)

But before I arrived there...

I had to stop at a mini-mart to pick up sodas ("pop" in Pittsburgh).  So I pulled into one next to Valley Forge Park, and as exited my car, two bikers pulled up on their Harleys- one to get gas and the other right next to me.  I was dressed exactly as you see above. 

I didn't blink or stop- I just walked into the store as non-chalantly as any woman would.  And bought the sodas.  And the one biker stood right behind me in line.  Leather jacket.  Tattoos. 

And he didn't say a thing.  Nothing.

I got back into my car and left.  Know what?  I really wasn't that afraid.  I learned long ago that REAL bikers won't mess with you if you don't mess with them.  And I don't.

So, off to Ren!  And more pics!

Angela spoke first as she had to go set up for the party afterwards.  She talked about how they all met and decided to start a group.  Joanne then arrived (fashionably late) and filled in some details- like how there were no TG groups around Philly at the time except in South Jersey, so... they started one!  And they advertised in the local press, in print, radio and on the morning news shows.  They made appearances at Universities and other schools.  They went National.  And 25 years later, they ate cake and talked about it. And I told everyone about the Greater Philly Renaissance Meetup page I started.

I found the whole thing very interesting.  At that time I was in college and deep in denial.  After all, I thought  people like me were hated and on the fringes of society. (Which was true, then.  We're better understood now.)  And I wanted to fit in and have a career in Education.  Transgender and Education did not mix back then (and really kinda doesn't now for that matter.)  Had I known about Renaissance, maybe things would've been different.  Or not. 

But different they were not.  And now there I was, in my new skirt, driving from Ren to the mall for Laptop Lounge. 

Within minutes, I was inside and at the bar, having a drink and talking to Joanne Roberts about the events in the past few weeks.  She offered some sage advice.  Then my "Big Sister" Mel came in... and she brought her son.

See, he's home from college, and I bet him he wouldn't come out to Laptop (He isn't TG in the slightest.) He is very smart guy as well as an athlete, and I admit I pressed a couple buttons to get him to take the bet.  I knew he would come, and I had his payment with me: Six Ginger Ales, all cold. 

That's why I had to stop at the mini-mart.

Had a great time at Laptop.  Stayed later than usual.  Went back to the motel and picked up my stuff.  Drove home as Sophie.

Cleaned up.  Went to bed.

Woke up.  Got out of bed.  Dragged a comb across my head.  Oh wait, where have I heard that before?

Showered.  Took aspirin for my hangover.  Put my Sophie stuff in the car.  Hmmm.  Where is my wedding ring?  And my college class ring?  I remember taking them off before getting dressed at the... oh no.  Wait, maybe I put them in my purse.  Yeah.  Had to.  Purse was in a box in the car.  Ok.  Drove to the storage space and put the boxes in.  Checked purse.

Not there.  SH*T!

Texted Jen (who shared the room with me) to see if she had them.  Drove over to the motel- ten minutes, remember?  It's noon- checkout time.  Got a key to the room.  Already cleaned- no rings.  Asked the guy behind the counter.  he tried calling the cleaning people.  No reply.  He handled the next person in line.  That took 25 minutes.  The line built.  No word from Jen.  No word from cleaning crew. 

If I lost my wedding ring, my wife would kill me.  That's not hubris or a misplaced assumption.  That was a FACT.

Jen called.  She didn't see them.  I'm sweating bullets.  Cleaning person comes to the desk.  Didn't see them.  OH SH*T!

Back to the storage space- another ten minutes on the road.  Searched through all the stuff from the night before.  Nothing. 

Dead woman walking. 

Back to the car.  Now what?  Well, I'd just tell wife when she got back from DC.  Just then, she called me.  She wouldn't be home until after I left for work at 3:30.  So I had some time.

Drove home.  As I pulled into the driveway, I had a thought.  When I was at Keystone, I put my rings in my guy shoes for safekeeping.  And I hadn't touched them since I came home the night before.  Maybe?

I ran inside and grabbed the shoes.  Turned them upside down.


Wait, there's my socks in them.  Pulled them out. 

And out fell the Rings as well.

I was so relieved; I almost fell backwards against the wall. 

I put the rings on. 

And at 3:30 I went to work.  When I got home that night, my wife asked how the day before went.  I told her I had fun, and that all went well.  I didn't mention my little sideshow with the rings.

That bit?  She didn't need to know. 

She hasn't mentioned Sophie since, but she will.  MIL has been around, so she hasn't had the opportunity.

Outside at Renaissance at twilight.

It's so much easier now that she knows.

I'm a very Lucky Woman.


  1. Sophie,
    If I have not said so already let me simply state that you write very well. Clear, concise, interesting writing is becoming somewhat of a lost art in our instant access world.

    It seems like a great weekend for many different reasons.

    Regarding the rings, however, you may consider adding that to your next discussion with your wife. On those rare occasions when I do get out my wife's biggest fear is that someone who knows me will put two and two together. I suspect that this is a concern shared by you and your wife. Women notice rings and a wedding ring in combination with a school ring would be something that anyone who knows you would recognize. As such, in order to help keep your secret identity you wife would likely support your removal of these two rings when in 'Sophie' mode.

    I do not think it would be deemed spinning from your right wing friend if you presented the situation to your wife as a 'Perils of being Sophie' side line. Let her know how important the rings are to you but that you do not wear them while in Sophie mode as a means of making sure that no one picks up on this ID clue. You can tell her that when you took them off you had the good sense to put them in a 'totally safe' place but that you forgot where you put them. After that I would go through the panic attack and the retracing of steps and the emotional and physical energy you spent on the quest for the lost rings.

    I actually think that the 'ring' search part of your post is revealing and endearing and that telling your wife would be a good thing.

    Of course, keep in mind the rule that all lost items are found in the 'last place you look.'


  2. hi Pat!

    that's the whole thing- they WERE off... and in the motel room. Both rings are quite masculine and I wouldn't wear them as Sophie.

    great points and comment though!

    Oh, and of course it's the last place- because then you stop looking! :D