Hello, reader. How are you today? This is how I look inside when anyone calls Ming “sir.”
We were at a Thai place we visit often. It’s next to the flower shop. The worker gave Ming the check and called him “sir.” It was yuck.
Ming is not a man. Ming should wear his “he they” pin there. Sometimes I wish the “they” was a bit louder. I think this particular waiter thinks of “sir” as an endearment.
Seeing this cranky Laura-Marie face, I’m reminded of the attitude I had earlier in the day. Angry and in pain, the heaviest day of my period, I was lying in bed mostly naked, resting on a puppy pad, feeling like an animal, not verbal anymore.
Ming told me something, and I was languaged out. I started growling at him.
“Rrrowl!” I said. I grimaced and felt like a cat-dog bitch of suffering.
“Aw, you’re purring!” Ming said.
“GrrrRRRrrr!” I said, louder.
We laughed at Ming’s intentional misunderstanding.
“Nice purring animal,” he said.
Then he went out to run an errand, and when he came home, I was up and showered and wearing clothes effectively, a person after all. Wow–I did it. What a 180.
“Pretty great I could get up and showered and dressed, right?” I asked Ming as we went toward the car. “I was feeling downright feral when you left.”
Are you a sir? Do you call other people sir? Being ma’amed has never sat well with me. It feels like a fake formal way of pushing someone away.
Like a young person working at McDonald’s way of calling me a boomer, as I order breakfast for Ming. The worker asks, “Would you like an extra hash brown with that?”
“How much do they cost?” I ask, skeptical.
“Let me check, ma’am. That would be $1.99.”
I think of the small quantity of potato particles formed into a headstone shape and deep fried into golden danger. It’s painful, the thing that cost twelve cents to make, being charged $2 for. It’s painful to stand in a McDonald’s at all. But the most painful part is being ma’amed.
What parts of culture hurt you? I’m hurt by money, violence all over the damn place, racism, weirdness about sex and queerness, and so many things about gender.
The gender list is very long. I take the list out of my pocket. It’s a scroll that falls to the floor and rolls out and out. It keeps rolling out until it hits the wall on the other side of the room. The paper hitting the wall slightly bounces, and we can tell there’s a lot more paper to unroll.
If I could tell the truth to the McDonald’s worker, I would say, “I’m not a ma’am. I’m not a miss. I’m not a sir. But thank you for doing this horrible job, and for trying to gender me right. Yes, I have these large breasts. But no gender is right for me. Gender is a scam, and I’d rather not play, right now or ever.”
The young person is not getting paid enough to listen to my little speech. So the truth withers inside me like a sad broken branch off the truth tree.
What truths wither inside of you, reader? I want to sing today, to move some stuck energy that’s about health fears and death terror.
It’s been such a long time I’ve been afraid of the same things. I’m a repetitive panic person. I hope you feel more progress and healing than I do this morning. At least I survived into the morning. It’s great to be a daytime person again.