a pain in the butt
On the bus today, a really loud man managed to break his voice through the barrier of my full volume headphones. I wouldn’t normally listen to my music on full volume, but my phone keeps advising me to turn it down to protect my ear health, and I still resent AI enough to self harm if it means spiting the technology.
The man had apparently been saying “excuse me, excuse me” for a while, and when I did eventually take off my headphones, and turn around to face him - all he said was “fancy going out on a date sometime?”. He did that thing with his fingers where he used his little finger, and his thumb to mime out a phone to the side of his head. It’s weird that people still do that, considering that mobile phones haven’t had antennae for about 15 years. Also, why use mime if you have the object in your pocket that you’re acting out? Anyway, I told him no. Just a solid, unapologetic “no”. It seemed to work, and he went back off to the back of the bus, but by now I was already upended enough that I chose not to put my headphones back on. In my experience, people who are as comfortable with breaking social courtesy as this man, more often than not come back for a second round. It turned out though, that he was asking pretty much every woman on the bus. In the end, I decided it was nice to be included.
Because I had opted to leave my headphones off for the duration of the bus journey, I was able to eavesdrop on a conversation the woman seated behind me was having on the phone. She was really posh sounding, and all of the characters in the story she was telling had names like Jaunty and Hettie. Her tone frequently oscillated between what sounded like faux concern, to haughty laughter. First she seemed to be telling whoever was on the other end that they were stupid for not withholding their last months rent money. Apparently, you can do this and leverage it against the landlord if they try to screw you on the deposit. It wasn’t something that had occurred to me before.
On her second call, she appeared to be discussing a friend who was in a bad way, mentally. From what I could make out from the one side of the conversation I was getting, this poor friend had been looking after their father who was unwell - and they had ended up falling out of the window. Again, there was concern in her voice - and then a rich cackling when whoever she was speaking with presumably made a gallows joke about it. The woman said that her friend was beating himself up, and that actually the cause of death was actually a heart attack. I’d have a heart attack too, if I fell out of a window.
I was on my way to the doctors to get my three-monthly testosterone blocking injection. As it happens, I was a whole month late for it. I’ve never been without it for so long, and if I’m honest - the only side effect I’ve felt is an overwhelming desire to buy crypto.
Before I entered the nurses office, she warned me that she had a student nurse in the room observing. This might have made me uncomfortable a decade ago, but these days I’m just happy for the attention. Maybe we’ll be friends? Before she administers my injection, she says she needs to weigh me. It turns out I’ve gained a lot of weight since I was last in, which isn’t news to me at all, but now it’s been acknowledged by another conscious being - I think I’ll do something about it. The nurse is nice about it, and treats more of a matter of fact rather than an admonishment. I am polite with the nurses, but I don’t attempt small talk. I think I’m currently too depressed to care about social graces. I stand up, pull up my skirt and let the nurse stick a needle slowly into my right buttock. As I feel the affirming sting, I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to get this vital piece of trans healthcare on the NHS. Nothing feels particularly permanent with trans rights in the United Kingdom right now, and it feels foolish for me to take it for granted.
On the bus ride home I notice that my bum hurts from the injection. The dull ache is a slight side effect, but it makes me feel better.
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