CHEAP EATS I wear a jean jacket with Chief Wahoo, the not exactly politically sensitive Cleveland Indians’ logo, embroidered on the back. Not sure what people behind me think of this, but here’s what I’m thinking from inside the jacket: warmth. And meaningfulness, because I embroidered this jacket myself when I was a kid. I was into sports, and I was into embroidery (and needlepoint and macramé). And warmth.
I gave the jacket to my nephew and best bud Tom the Bomb when he grew into it, and then he grew out of it too, and my sister gave it back to me after he died. I put the jacket in my closet, like ashes in an urn, and started losing weight. When I got down to 135, 140, I tried the jacket on and it fit me again, only girlishly! So I wear it and it means some things to me, and probably something else entirely to the people behind me.
Do I care?
Last week I wrote about my voice, and there’s an even bigger challenge looming for me, which doesn’t have anything to do with writing my name in the snow, really, although it kind of does too. It has to do with public restrooms, maybe the bloodiest of all the battlefields where transpeoplepersons conduct business. My therapist wants me to conduct my business in ladies’ rooms, because he’s afraid I’ll get beat up in the men’s room. But I’m afraid I’m just as likely to get beat up in the women’s room, and I’m not so sure which would hurt worse.
So, like a quarterback stepping to the line of scrimmage, I make my read, depending on how I feel, how good I think I’m looking, the likelihood of a blitz, where the hell in the world I am…. Sometimes I go in one, sometimes the other, and sometimes, of course, I hold it in.
So it’s not a question of being uncomfortable. It’s a question of how and where I choose to be uncomfortable. Comfort’s not an option. Unless … and you hate to even hope it out loud, it’s so hopeless, but some places do have unisex bathrooms, the symbol for which — Mr. and Mrs. Public Restroom Figure side-by-side on the same placard on or over the same door — has become as welcome and wonderful to me as the smell of bacon.
So the other day I’m gassing up my pickup truck at a place out on 19th Avenue, and the guy gassing up the pickup truck behind mine, I notice, is wearing a jacket with this exact logo on the back. The man and the woman. The anyone-pees-here logo, one at a time, please. You know the logo, right?
The association, for me — well, immediately it puts me in a happy mood. I’m thinking: I should talk to him if he turns around. Maybe he’s cute. I’m thinking: I wonder what I have in my truck that I could offer to trade this guy for his unisex-bathroom jacket. I would like to wear it when I’m not wearing my Chief Wahoo jean jacket, and this one too will have meaning for me. Beyond warmth.
As I’m getting back in my truck, watching him, the guy does turn around, and the front of his cool jacket says, “Straight Pride.”
My mood changes. What an asshole, I think. With his big fat truck and not exactly politically sensitive jacket. Jerk! And as I put my car in gear and lurch forward there’s a knock on the window. It’s Straight Pride guy, pointing to my roof and smiling and, you know, being kind and all-around human, saying, “Gas cap! Gas cap!” Oops. I get out, thank him profusely, love him again — because why shouldn’t straight people be proud? — and drive away bewildered and confused, like I like to be.
My nephew the Gun, speaking of bewildered and confused, no longer wants to be a stuntman for a living. This is the Bomb’s older brother, and maybe the most sensitive, and therefore smartest, of all my millions of nephews. He’s so sensitive that waitresspeople can’t even see him. Predictably, the Gun now aspires to be an assassin. You see what happens? Ohio + North Carolina = this, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to have him out here again for at least a year this time, working for my phenomenal bro, living with my sweet, sweet cuz, and otherwise eating breakfast, talking philosophy, and just generally being recorrupted by the chicken farmer.
Where? My new favorite breakfast joint, of course! Great chicken-fried steak ($9.50). Great hash browns. The “house omelet” has bacon and sausage. Coffeehouse atmosphere, good coffee. It’s … SFBG
SOMA INN CAFE
Mon., 7 a.m.–6 p.m.; Tues.–Fri., 7 a.m.–9 p.m.; Sat., 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.–3 p.m.
1982 Folsom, SF
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