Last weekend a dear friend shared with me a quirky reference to “Queen for the Day.” It got me thinking about my transition. For those unfamiliar with the reference, “Queen for the Day” was a game show in the late 50s and early 60s. Contestants, all women, would compete for the “highest applause meter” rating by sharing the details of financial and emotional hard times. The winner would get a “wish list” item like a swanky new Maytag washer. No Oprah with a ready arm to comfort the participant – just a beautiful new Maytag circa 1950’s. At first, I found this Queenie reference sad but…
I had a Queenie contestant-level event prior to my transition, let’s call it a triggering event. I’m no psychologist. To me a triggering event is an event that sends a message that something has got to give. Here is my story….
I was rushing out of the office one day to get home in time to relieve my nanny. The office building where I worked had a multi-story parking garage underneath it. I raced out of the elevator at 5:35 pm – briefcase in hand. My über assistant had scheduled a 5:45 pm “drive time” conference call for me. I had enough time to get out of the garage, dial and be on my way.
Oddly enough the two cars parked just across from the elevator that day were cars that my household owned. A Volvo Cross Country and a Honda Pilot. Did I mention that we leave the keys in the cars since we park three deep? Without really thinking I got into the Honda Pilot and started off. I threw my cell phone into the center console and proceeded up the circular levels to the garage’s exit. I noticed – although it didn’t really register with me – that the radio station was on something different from my usual NPR.
At the top of the garage I reached outside the car to swipe my employee badge to elevate the exit bar. Off I went. I realized as I pulled into heavy city traffic that I was sitting on beige leather seats, not gray like my Pilot. I’d taken the wrong car. Oh no. I think, I’ve got to get back, get my car and get on the phone.
Of course making 4 right turns around a city block at rush hour takes a bit of time. I rationalize that I’ll be a little late for the con call and I’ll have to call the Nanny and beg forgiveness.
I re-enter the garage. The attendants who are both from the Dominican Republic are laughing. They say, “are you stealing cars now?” What a perspective.
I pull back into the space next to my Volvo Cross Country. Thankful that the owner of the Pilot wasn’t standing there to greet me. Grab my brief case. And I’m off.
I pull out of the garage and turn to grab my phone in the center console and realize it is still in the Pilot. The other driver’s Pilot.
I tour the city block again, this time worrying that the driver will exit the garage in the time it takes me to get back. If this happens all ability to call the Nanny is eradicated. I am hopelessly late now.
I arrive at the garage again with the other Pilot still safely in its place, blessedly. The attendants are totally shocked that I’m back again. They’re watching me – an executive with the building’s largest tenant – unravel via this short comedy skit.
I leave. I jump on a conference call. I arrive home late but instantly consumed by the demands of that environment.
In hindsight, this little 15 minutes is troubling. I’m not a scatterbrain. It isn’t my modus operandi. It happened during a demanding period of time at work during which I was exhausted, punch-drunk really. Oddly, it wasn’t enough of a triggering event to tell me to stop. Wonder why?
Have you ever had a triggering event that caused you to consider a transition? Not sure this little “Queenie” episode would be worthy of a Maytag. Would yours?
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