Don’t Need Nuthin’ But a Good Time

Sure, I could ask the question: “What drives you?” or “What makes life worth the grind and participation for you?” but I’m not.

I am simply going to state a few things that encompass my drive and grind:

  • Hard work yields opportunities that are limited by funds.
  • Cutting distractions saves money. (“Groupon” sites, random catalogs, emails from retailers)
  • Pouring into focus what you really want out of life into long-term manageable goals.
  • Removing people (including blood relatives) that are toxic, abusive, abrasive, etc.
  • Accepting your means (current job), and evaluating the tools needed to go “the distance.”

You will hit some bumps along your grind. You will find distractions being a constant…
but its how you deal with them in general that will help you stay your course.

-Lexikat

Triste

It was January 2010. My best friend just got fired from the tallest building in the Queen City. It was a corner office at the top. (She is sometimes referred by me as “the other Scanlon” in conversation.)
I was employed with Old Navy. After Christmas, capitalist retail pigs traditionally slash hours after “The Season of Giving and Love & Peace” and Old Navy was no different.
The Gastonia Old Navy store I had just transferred to was closer than the 25 mile drive (one-way) to the previous location that in 2008, I had transferred to after fleeing the deeper south from being attacked by my brother for being transsexual-after which I was openly rejected by my family. (Its your fault he attacked you)

January’s schedule was posted! “4 hours this week and 10 hours next week? Really?”

Up until the 2012 EEOC ruling of “gender expression is a Gender based discrimination”, North Carolina (and most other states) could Legally discriminate trans or gender queer individuals OPENLY!
Old Navy (GAP Inc.) was a “diverse” company and had inclusive employment practices, for the most.

Without this Job, I was toast. It is really cold in Charlotte during January. I cannot move into my Camaro. Sure my friend would be getting a fat separation termination check but that wasn’t going to help my situation.
Amanda Scanlon was the friend whom after my first living situation of Zoe Vette’s all-girl band forgot my rent payments and she was 3 months behind on the mortgage; and Diana, the 58 year old quietly peaceful landlady who attempted suicide in front of me and so I moved into my Camaro again…Amanda was there to say move in, “its a big empty house with plenty of room.”

Amanda always fought with her parents about money, although the mortgage for the 3-story, 4-bedroom townhouse was always paid on time. They always wanted my rent money On Top of the mortgage for a dwelling occupied previously by only Amanda.
That January, I had an interview with the local Taco Bell as a manager. Through the interview, even as they looked oddly at me, I really was over-qualified for the job-with the exception of being a “black-listed” transsexual…well, they didn’t call back.
It was near the end of January and I put Sheila my Red 1986 Camaro RS on Craigslist…for sale.
Sheila was my first “girl car” I owned. Not a truck nor van, she was the thing that made me smile. It was my fantasy car from High School come to life, as I was a deeply closeted teenager and from dirt poor family, who’s father dealt coke and openly cheated on my mother-did I mention that he was a real Jack Daniels pistol-waving drunk?
$1000 cash for Sheila on January 30th. But, I slipped and fell on the ice making that sale (which physically hurt longer than a year).
I tearfully handed Amanda the cash and said: “What happens after this point, I’m willing to accept.” I owed rent and could walk or bicycle to work from Mount Holly.
My blood money tribute to her parents did not get dealt out quickly. Some bullshit her father said about how “people like her will be happier in San Francisco. Blah blah blah” Obviously he too didn’t know the damn difference between a transsexual lesbian and a drag queen gay man.

I researched anything EVERYTHING available to veterans and girls like me that would be available once I had arrived.
I had a social worker on the phone from the VA and had communication with various LGBT Center program coordinators too.

Amanda had bought my plane ticket for $100 one-way” and so I had to start sorting the few remnants of my life into even smaller boxes once again.
You see, its lifeboat survival principles: you can only afford less room. Photos, clothes, books to the trash. Things that might be sold. A lot of stored things (Amanda would dispose of later out of some crazy bored fit with her new psycho boyfriend). My first electric Guitar “Lucifer” and amp were to be stored and returned later. Lies…

All this packing time and preparations did not stop my recently adopted 15 year-old black and tan minature Dachshund Pumpernickel...
When Donna (my 2nd mother) was in the hospital for being attacked by a student, they needed someone to take the collection of Amanda’s aged dogs and to care for them (feed and clean-up after), as they don’t always hit the mark and were really old. “Bring the babies here.” I replied.

Pumpernickel was the cloudy-cataract-eyed one who picked me. (Coco and Jenny couldn’t be bothered by me.)
“Pumpy” was a puppy in youthful play, in spite of her poor vision and foul breath. I loved her and she seemed to love me back.

You see, this tiny little dog had infinite patience during this activity. She would just look at me “waiting patiently.” No time for runs at the park, days in the sun, no chasing squirrels…Lexi had to prepare for the crossing that lay ahead.

4am Eastern Standard Time on February 23, 2010, I kissed Pumpernickel good-bye for the last time as she died quietly in her sleep on the 25th, not but just 2 days after my departure.

I was hastily dropped at the curb by Amanda and given a hug so light that a hand shake would have been a warmer gesture. Amanda then proceeded to give back the necklace that I had given to her in friendship.
The sterling amythest heart pendant necklace was purchased at Zales of Wilmington, NC, as a gift to my girl within in my last days there before departing to see my birth family. This necklace had also survived being on me while I was choked and punched by the bastard who “wanted his brother back.” He was beating me to try to accomplish this…I had left from there for Charlotte.

“No, you keep it.” (confused) “I enjoyed the times we had as sisters, friends and acting stupid silly. You’ll see me again. You promised to make the crossing and to greet me in San Francisco with my dog and my guitar…”
Noon Pacific Standard Time, my flight had arrived at SFO-International Airport with just a carry-on of basics: pills, makeup, clothes-and nothing else.
The subway ride into the city is expensive and I was only given $100 of the $1000 from her, less the ticket price. Conserve money to eat.
“If I get off at 16th Street station, I can quickly walk to 3rd Street VA to meet the social worker.” or so I thought.
16th Street station is in the heart of The Mission. Its pouring so much rain, my umbrella fails as I walk past cat-calls and solicitations.
“Damn these blocks are so long!” I felt as I my walking progress had barely made a dent in the distance during the gale-force downpour. Very tired from walking in the flood, I arrive at the 3rd Street VA and speak to Mr. Stephen Something, social worker.
I was sent to 5th & Bryant shelter. It is full of smelly harassing men. I am registered and now have to wait.
NO SLEEPING!” They yell at the group. Some time past midnight (PST no less), I’m informed that they found a bed for me at some place in the Tenderloin. “Go and present my information at the desk?”
I catch the 27 Bryant bus.
After I get processed into a bed, I lay heartbroken to sleep at 1:30 am Pacific Standard Time. I had been awake since forever…

So that was 3 years ago today.

Lexikat

City Life

Image

I will say this about living in a city:
Its dirty,
people are hateful,
riding the bus is rarely a pleasure,
my room is tiny and expensive

BUT

I can walk home from work.

I can leisurely walk in the rain,

while listening to Por una Cabeza and arrive home to my tiny room from the store with microwaved grilled eggplant parmesan with sour dough bread dripped in Sicilian extra virgine olive oil, a bottle of Malbec from Argentina by candlelight with my window open just listening to the most beautiful part of living in a city.

In this I feel a tiny notion of love.

Its not much but,

I will savor it.

Lexikat

Top 5 Misconceptions about San Francisco

Misconceptions about San Francisco:

1. That boys frequently dress as girls.
Its not that kind of town. I have lived other places, even in the south, where gay boys frequently dressed up whether they were performing or not. Professional drag performances here are just another aspect of entertainment night life. Transgender is NOT equal to a gay boy in a dress.

(hint: it NEVER has been.)

2. It is a Trans-friendly town.
In my experience, if you are riding in an automobile, then you are free of groups of people yelling or harassing you with what they “perceive” about you. But wait? That is also true about any other state if you are trans, even in the south. Riding in a car keeps interaction to a minimum in any state and so North Carolina is just as “trans-friendly” in that sense. Job wise, there are more opportunities because of California state laws. Much progress in trans-legislature is a result of the Transgender Law Center

3. The Tenderloin is a great destination for European tourists.
I really lost count of shootings and altercations published about tourists from Europe having problems. Apparently there is some kind of advertisement abroad about why The Tenderloin area is such a great cheap place to stay. The Tenderloin is a festering ghetto, filled with methadone clinics, crack-heads, meth-heads, homeless…the list could go on…
Its also a stupid web rumor that it is the most “trans-friendly” area of town. Wrong! Try North Beach instead. Try North Beach if you are a European tourist also.
But I will say that there are some really rare great places to eat there, especially if you like Thai or Vietnamese or even Indian. Word of caution: do not go by yourself and stay in well lit places while traveling in numbers.
Capisce?

4. Housing is affordable.
Housing is far above the 30% of your income balance that the basic national rates hover near. Sure life in big cities can be expensive but property owners here have no problem extorting a large sum simply because “they can.” Plan on having roommates or living in an SRO. Plan on getting turned away based on judgement rather than income and a clean police record.

5. Haight-Ashbury is all about Peace, Hope and Love.
Jerry, Janice, Jim and Jimi are all dead and gone away for quite some time. If they had a spirit, it does not live here. This area of town has the most aggressive panhandlers and its a really stinky part of town. There is no love when you are getting yelled at simply because you are walking. Lots of people who haven’t bathed in like a decade laying in along the street and laying around in the adjacent parks. The streets that run parallel to either side of Haight (Paige & Waller) are pretty free of bums in the doorways. This is also the largest trust fund hybrid driving Hipster population and their pretentious ideals live, eat, play.
There are some great eats to be found at restaurants along Haight but like the clothing shops dotted along the street-higher prices only reflect higher rent and not necessarily “more for your value.”

The facts are simply that in the 2 1/2 years I have been here and traveled around the city, its not what the common rumor has painted it to be. Arriving here as a place to live, you had better plan to physically carve out your life to establish one. If you are from one of the Dot-com industries, you people can just bite my ass for causing all the rent to rise-and the neighborhoods loosing their cultural flavor through gentrification

Will I continue to live here? For a while. Though Muni feels horrendous when you ride it, this city has one of the largest network of public transit. The local Veterans Administration has great medical service to its community of those who served. There is my favorite tattoo shop here, Tattoo Boogaloo, that affords me to get some really sweet ink. North Beach isn’t Italy, but there are places all around there that make my Italiana Cuore sing with delight and feel a little better in my City by the Bay.

Lexikat

How do I rate a restaurant?

Food?

Qualcosa mangiare?

YELP!!

(My Yelp!)

How do I rate a restaurant? How did I rate YOUR restaurant? Let me define this in a few  simple words to follow.

  • Did I get full for the money spent?

For example: charging more money for something that tastes like cardboard like in the Castro.

  • Did I get treated with respect?

For example: getting pointed to the mens room when asking for the bathroom. Basic kindness is also something that in a service based industry is expected. I am an Amazonian woman (5’7″)  but to sir me in a short dress with my breasts bared is really bad form on their behalf.

  • How does it compare to “peer” restaurants?

A pizza-by-the-slice would be compared to a pizza-by-the-slice place and not a $30 a plate candlelit meal. People will say you cannot give the best pizza of your life 5 stars. I say we are comparing oranges to oranges, that I can give ratings to the best in their field/division!

  • Was it exciting to my palate?

I work very hard for my money. Mom & dad haven’t supported me in at least 2 decades. I prefer to spend it where I am happy, welcome, and satisfied. Is it better than something I could have made myself?

I have experience in the food service industry and so I tend to judge based on that knowledge base as well. Some basic forms to service and preparation are just that: basic.

I  usually will not write something in a review that isn’t something I wouldn’t say in person. There has been some bad service where there were no resolve. 90% of the time I have had communication with the manager/owner. My low review yelps really are to prevent a person similar to me making a similar mistake. (They don’t like blondes? They don’t like people with tattoos/piercings? The bartender who was not busy ignored an extended $20. Wasn’t my crowd.)

If you want to take the word of a Yelper, be sure to check some of their other reviews. If they only ever Yelp to complain or have a vocabulary of one syllable words…you are on your own.

Ciao,

Lexikat