Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The end is near (or has come, by the time you read this).


The 2020 US Census.  There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this census both due to the pandemic and to the political leadership in charge of it.  I do not plan to discuss the politics of the census, as it has been covered much better elsewhere.  Instead, I will discuss my feelings about the census and the people I've met while working there.
When I first was in contact with the census bureau, I was up for two jobs.  One was an assistant manager position in charge of resolving technology related issues.  The other was for a clerical position, a position whose main responsibility was to recruit enumerators to do the decennial head count.  The former position was one I'd have done in my male presentation, as that could be a way for me to reenter the world of technology.  The latter position was the one I took, a position which I was allowed to come to work as a female.
Although its obvious that I am a transgender person, I was always treated with respect. And I earned the respect of many people there, as I was one of the go-to people to whom questions were posed to get problems resolved.  I enjoyed resolving problems with common sense solutions.  Recruitment was another issue - I hated reading off the awkward script provided us to use, especially when redundant questions were asked of the potential employees. However, recruiting helped me a great deal - it taught me what I needed to do to keep my voice sounding somewhat feminine over the course of a long day.
One of the first people I met was a woman whose own son is transgender. It was she who gave me the confidence to go to work presenting as female for the first time. And I'll always be grateful to her for the information that allowed me to be my authentic self at work. Next, was a woman whose goal was to work two or three months, earn a few dollars, and then start travels across the country in an RV with her husband, staying away from home for months at a time. Sadly, the pandemic put a hold on that dream. When people returned to the office after the 6 week pandemic break, both of these women were no longer coming to the office.  However, new people started coming in, including a woman who was born in Brazil.  She's a person who I'll likely be in contact with long after the census, as she is a very interesting person. Later on, we hired a woman from Mount Vernon, someone who could be a traveling partner if I were to go to the right cities.
Some people there are a little bit strange.  There is one man who seems to carry everything he owns in his car. In a way, he reminds me of an ex-girlfriend who started doing this after her separation from her ex-husband. Another person had a voice like a foghorn. Although she is a good person, her style rubbed a few people the wrong way.  Many people appreciated the peace and quiet in the office when she was not around.  There were two men with whom I could have serious intellectual conversations, and I wish there was a good way to keep in contact with them.   
As I write this, we've started the shut down process for the office.  Through a good part of the day, I was destroying messenger bags that enumerators carried while going door to door on their assignments.  It's a shame that we are doing this, but the census needs to make sure that no one has the tools to impersonate a legitimate employee.  Much of the printed paperwork unique to the 2020 census will be sent out to be destroyed. And other items will be given to other government entities.  It's only a matter of time before the office door is locked for good.
I'll miss this place.  It helped keep me sane during the worst part of the pandemic, and distracted me when I dwelled too much in thoughts of my ex-girlfriend.  The people were all decent people, and for the most part, I'd be glad to work with most of them again.




Sunday, October 25, 2020

I don't think I'll be cruising alone for a while.


The above is the itinerary of the last cruise I took with my former cruise partner.  Almost everything about cruising will have changed by the time I take my next cruise due to the pandemic. Until they address the needs of solo travelers on cruises, I guess I won't be going on a cruise anytime soon.

This cruise was a disaster because of the problems my cruise partner and I had.  She had broken up with her boyfriend and I was ambivalent about taking this cruise.  If I had to do it all over again, I'd have passed on this cruise and spent my money on a trip to Washington, DC. At least, I'd have had an enjoyable trip and have had one more friend I could talk to during the worst of the pandemic.

Recently, one of the ladies I've been dating scheduled us for a cruise to Bermuda sometime next year.  Although she may have been jumping the gun a little, it is early enough for her to get her entire deposit back if things go sour between us before then.  Yet, it will be a strange cruise for me.  First, it'll be a cruise where I'll have to present as Mario for several days.  Second, it'll be a cruise with the new pandemic protocols - things I don't like, but would live with to cruise again with a partner. For example, the embarkation/debarkation routines will be much more rigid, so that people can be socially distanced while getting on/off the ship. Once on the ship, social distancing will be enforced. And there will likely be no sharing of tables between multiple groups/individuals.  One of the things I liked most about cruising was the opportunity to meet new people. That will be much harder to do when the cruise line is trying to keep people apart for health reasons. At least, I'll have a travel partner for this upcoming cruise, someone I can talk with while enjoying the cruise.

When I am alone on a cruise, I like to chat up people I meet while dining. Sometimes, I'll go to the bar to have a drink, and meet people there. One of my pen pals is a woman I met on a solo cruise, and I never would have met her while pandemic health protocols are being enforced.  From what I've read, the lounge chairs at pool side will be limited, and one may need to schedule time to be in the pools.  I can only imagine whether the ships will limit people in the hot tubs as well.  It will not be as much fun to be on a cruise as it was before the pandemic.

There is a phrase which is almost always true in any situation:

This Too Shall Pass.

And I'm hoping that by the time I turn 65, that we will have returned to a new normal, and that most of the pandemic protocols can finally be relaxed because they are no longer needed.  We can only home, and work towards that goal....


RQS went home, and I got keys made - a quick post

  One of the problems with going about as a female is that almost everything one carries around during a typical day is carried in a handbag...