Jimmy Cricket & I both have our memorable moments. Here's a few of mine:
"After lunch Hugo, Ulf and I visited our colleague Johan, to have coffee with him, his wife and their eight days old daughter - one of nature's master pieces."
"When Ann-Sofi fed the baby I sat close by, wondering what it really feels like, and when she asked if I wanted to hold the little girl while she was having coffee, this felt strangely different than holding a baby ever did before. It wasn't until this evening I realized the extent of what had happened - that this was the first time 'Erica' held a baby in her arms. It was also the first time since I had breasts of my own that I watched another woman breast-feeding her baby - and this obviously struck a chord deep inside. A chord I'd never heard before. No, I'm not referring to some elusive, ethereal 'femininity', but to the simple fact that this made me feel closer to other women than ever before. It was immensely nice, but also made me want to cry."
("Post-op diary", week 49, in my book "Transactions".)
"Our next encounter with the lovely women of this country occurred the next afternoon, when we returned home after a full day rafting trip. Just in front of our hotel - surrounded by several hotels and a never finished hospital - there
is something looking more like a pile of bricks than a house, surrounded by an over-grown garden and ten deteriorating green-houses. How they managed to keep it, in these over-exploited blocks, is a mystery ...
... but the invitation when we passed that afternoon was the more explicit: "Come join us for a cup of tea!" - in spite of its being spoken in Turkish. On a blanket behind the house were four young women and three small children. Did we dare to? Did I ...? My make-up had all but disappeared during our not always voluntary swims in the ice-cold rapids, so ... would they accept my claim to womanhood? The chance was too beautiful a one to miss out on, so we decided to dare to take it, and soon found ourselves sitting on their blanket, being fed tea, bread and goat's cheese by these strong, beautiful women, showing only their faces, hands and naked feet. They proudly introduced us to their kids, asked us about our family situations - being sisters, each of us with two grown-up sons (sic!) - and serving us more tea, while the proud cockerel crowed from a heap of leaves, and his multi-colored off-spring were handed to us by the husband of one of the ladies."
"Except for this intrusion he stayed out of our way, sitting alone on a stool by the house, carefully protecting his male dignity and superiority. He did his duty by writing their address down for us when we promised to send some photos, but solemnly stayed out of the way when we parted from our new-found friends amongst giggles, hugs and kisses."
"After these beautiful meetings, T and I agreed that contrary to first impressions, it's probably ever so much nicer to be female than male in Turkey. Perhaps it's even that the women only let their men believe they are the heads of their families, while in reality it's the women who run the show ...?"
"A fascinating thought: To Turkish women, who go by their feelings and instincts, I'm undeniably female - but to radical feminists, who 'know' where it's really at, I will never be anything but a man."
("Turkish delight", p. 51)
My fiftieth birthday, New York City, mid December 2002
"Friday afternoon we went to Harlem to have a cup of coffee with Kate Bornstein. The way real estate prices in New York are rocketing, this is the only part of Manhattan where you can find nice apartments at affordable prices, according to Kate. Compared to flat rates in Stockholm even this place was quite expensive, but considering that they have their own back yard for the dogs and their magnificent cat - the biggest and most majestic cat I ever saw! - I guess it's quite reasonable after all."
"Going there was no problem, but walking back to the subway at 5 p.m. - after dark, at this time of the year - was something else. Kate seriously suggested a cab, but we stubbornly decided to do it 'the real way'. To be honest, most people didn't even seem to notice us, but when we were going to cross the last street before the subway, a big, black guy grabbed my arm and asked “Where's ya' goin', mama? You in a rush?” Had this been a B-type movie, he would have realized I was really a tranny and beaten me up, but when I simply confirmed that we were in a hurry and could he please tell us which was the downtown entrance, he did just that, with a warm smile."
("Post-op Post Scriptum", p. 333)
Brindabella Valley, New South Wales, October 2005
My chance encounter with Sydney bikers Sue & Duane happened two years after TransActions was published, so my story about this magic Snowy Mountains weekend has never been told ...
... and I won't tell you this time either. I'm sure my photos do well enough without comments.
I'm returning to Oz for the 2008 Christmas & New Year.
Not all that hard to understand, is it ... ?