I’m so sorry I’ve not been available much this week. I’ve just got back from a brief expedition with Bernard my photographer. He had me out in his boat this week. What a salty little sea dog he is, whipping out his equipment at the least expected moment. He likes to do a little wildlife photography on the water.
For those of you who read my messages regularly, you’ll know that my wife’s childhood friend Amanda, is something of an unfortunately regular visitor to my house in Huckleberry Close. My wife, who is regrettably travelling at present in Bulgaria, or Belgravia… or was it Bolivia, insists I treat Amanda with kindness.
“If you love me,” she said before leaving last time, “you’ll be nice to Amanda.”
I understand that doesn’t include pretending not to be home when Amanda visits, telling her the party is at an obscure address in Poughkeepsie, or creating fake profiles with her picture on Grinder. So, I have to watch my step. All that said, when I arrived home the other day only to put down my bags and hear a knocking on the door I was surprised to see a very upset Amanda on the doorstep, swathed in her usual tweed.
Seeing she was clearly upset I invited her in.
“What on earth is the matter, darling,” I asked as I poured her a large glass of wine, and an appletini for myself.
For those of you who wish to learn more about the various people in my life, just drill down using the hotlinks in these emails. I usually put a link to all the tags mentioning them early in the email, so it’s not hard to learn more about any given person. Amanda appears a great deal, as does Sylvester and Sebastian. You’ll find it’s quite a rich world of personalities and situations.
Amanda, as you possibly know, is the editor of Pig and Pig Farmer. This pillar of the journalistic establishment has been described as the fourteenth most influential publication in the sphere of Pig and Pork production monthly periodicals. As you can imagine, this makes Amanda quite an influential voice in the world of pork.
“It’s work,” she said. “I just feel so… so… so overlooked.”
“Why on earth is that,” I asked.
“It’s these bloody men! They’ve passed me over once more. I was hoping to be made group editor this year. I just feel I have so much more to offer,” she said between sobs. “And now they made Jed Richardson group editor and he’s barely been with the company three years.”
“Don’t worry,” I said trying to hug her and keep socially distanced. To do so I’d have to be an orangutan, I suppose, but I tried to show some human kindness. I know what you’re thinking. I give too much of myself to others – I know. Well, it’s just who I am, I suppose.
“I know it must seem terribly unfair,” I said. “These things happen. Don’t worry. Perhaps he’ll have an unfortunate accident, or something. You never know when fate is going to play a hand.”
“But it’s such an insult, being passed over again. It’s like I’ve hit a glass ceiling,” she said between sobs, pushing her face between my breasts.
I have to say the estrogen regime has done a great deal to help me comforting those that lean on me. You just can’t beat breasts!
“The workplace is a very unfair place,” I said to Amanda. “If it doesn’t feel right, you should just tell them where to shove their job.”
“In this economy?” she replied. And she did have a point.
“I remember all the trouble Sylvester had years ago when he was looking for a career in healthcare,” I said. “He got fired from that centre where they do the long term care for people with leprosy.”
“He worked in a leper colony?” said Amanda perking up a little.
“Well, they don’t call it that now,” I replied. “It’s some sort of long term care facility. Anyway, he started a poker school for some of the patients and ended up getting fired over it. Apparently someone threw their hand in, and lost their head. It was all very distasteful. Anyway, you know what a sweetheart he is. Employers are usually completely insensitive and out of touch. You just have to learn to take their money and keep on smiling.”
Amanda looked at me doubtfully.
“I suppose I do get some good perks,” she replied. “The bacon, and stuff. And I get to go to Porkers every year.”
“Porkers?” I said.
“It’s the Pig farming convention,” she explained. I should add that there is an irony here. Amanda is currently in a relationship with our next door neighbor, Marjory, who is quite a big noise on the competitive eating scene. https://majorleagueeating.com/ She is apparently accomplished in the sausage category, which seems unusual, with her being a lesbian and everything. Anyway, there’s Amanda growing the stuff, and Marjory wolfing it down. I can’t help thinking there’s a joke somewhere in there about Amanda firming it up and Marjory swallowing… well, you get the idea.
“Look,” I said comforting Amanda. “You have to remember, there’s a lot of people down at that paper who look at you with admiration. They’ve watched you from behind their desks as you’ve climbed higher and higher, and eventually burst through that glass ceiling, in a shower of glass and workplace discrimination. I mean, come on! You’re the first women to edit Pig and Pig Farmer in the history of pig journalism. And all those other people are left below in a pile of glass, looking up at… at… your crack. The crack you left in the ceiling.”
Amanda’s shoulder’s heaved and she sobbed again.
“Really, Amanda,” I said. “You know it’s no measure of who you are. We all admire your crack. The way you’ve opened things up.”
I had the distinct feeling I wasn’t helping. At that moment Marjorie’s F150 pulled up next door and I heard her boots on the gravel path. I let out a sigh of relief and Amanda pulled away and dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief.
“I’d better go,” she said. “I don’t want Marjory to see me like this.”
So, this week as we move further into a difficult time in the workplace for many of us, I’d like to take the opportunity to remind all my lovely friends that you are not defined by your work. It’s good to remind ourselves from time to time that our work is only a small part of who we are. We work to support our life, we don’t live to support our work.
Many of my friends can’t work dressed as they wish, or even being the person they really are. When one is fortunate enough to live as one desires life gets a whole lot better, but many of us don’t have that opportunity. If you’d like to explore this idea further you may want to read this – https://fionadobson.com/can-i-be-femme-behind-closed-doors-but-masculine-in-public/
I should say, I’ve been very fortunate. Having worked in the press, I can honestly say I’ve been fired by some of the finest papers in the world. To be honest, when I was in the press world that was practically a recommendation, and no one was considered very serious if they hadn’t been fired from one or two papers. I’ve even been hired back by a few, too. I think things are a lot different today, though not particularly better. Times change. For those of us who are gender fluid, keeping things in perspective is important. Workplace discrimination is a pretty serious and massively prevalent issue. We have to learn to laugh, and have patience. Being trans sure teaches us that. But we’re still here. And we aren’t going anywhere.
Have a lovely week, and don’t let Covid get you down. I must say, my good friend and Prime Minister of Canada, Justin gave a good speech yesterday. I think we would all do well to listen to him – regardless of where we call home. Which reminds me, I think he’s still got my copy of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. He always leaves the pages of books I lend him with the corners turned down. I’ve given him no end of bookmarks, but what can you do!