Thursday, December 6, 2012

How many times until I'm really gay?

Well, I haven't posted in an entire week. I have a job.

 I was all worried about not having any work, and was concerned about my ability to contribute to my partnership and household and the community and society in general.

Now I'm working and I have changed my mind.

Working is less fun than I imagined.

I miss scheduling my days around coffee shop blogging (I'd finally found the trifecta of decent soy lattes, friendly queer baristas and fast wifi at Hava Java), runs and soup-making.

Lisa likes Hava Java too. 

So now I am working as a child and youth worker. Pay is okay. 12 hour shifts, so I work 7 shifts biweekly and have lots of days off...but there are incredibly sucky mandatory night shifts.

The first twelve hour overnight 'awake' shift wasn't bad initially. The kids were asleep, I was hanging out with a sarcastic, intelligent and interesting coworker, and they have all the movie channels. It was kind of like a sleepover. I couldn't believe I was getting paid to hang out and watch TV.

 For the first six hours. 

And then at 2 am I started yawning. And checking the time on my iPhone every five minutes. I tried sitting in uncomfortable positions, pinching myself, and contemplated taping my eyelids open in order to stay awake.

By 4 am I felt like crying, I was so exhausted. Apparently I am old, and my body doesn't want to do all nighters. I made it through, but was a zombie for two days afterwards.

I learned a few things: 

1. I must nap for at least two hours before shift, and at least two hours when I return home in the morning.

2. Bring lots of food and activities (though nothing involving any brainpower or fine motor skills). If you are going to make me stay awake all night, there had better be some gluten free brownies and trashy magazines involved.

3. If I can make it to 6 am, I'm golden. The end is in sight, children begin to rouse, and I start to get my second wind.

During that lethal period from 4 until 6 in the morning I would sell Marvin for a twenty minute nap. Well, I'd give him away actually, but you get my point.

It's an upside down Marvin! This is what we do instead of enemas now. Shake it out of him...

Night shifts are lame, but by far the most uncomfortable part of the new job experience is having to come out all over again to a whole new set of strangers on every shift. This coming out thing is new to me...and I am beginning to realize that divulging my sexual orientation is a constant and complicated process.

So far I've worked 10 shifts in 7 different homes with 10 different coworkers.

There is that inevitable question during the first half hour getting-to-know-your-shift-partner phase.

"What brings you to Newfoundland?"

Fair enough. St. John's is not really somewhere that people move to just for a change of scenery. I am here because my girlfriend is here, and I had nothing better to do than follow her.

End of story.

The dilemma comes when I have to decide whether to tell the truth, or make up some lame story about cheap tuition (a nice side bonus, but not ultimately why I am in St. John's).

Coming out over and over and over (and over) at work is tricky. At first it was like ripping off a band-aid. I was loud and proud and very upfront about my same-sex partnership, and pretended not to notice any awkwardness that I created.

But you know what happens when you rip off a band-aid in the same place repeatedly? Skin irritation. Chafing. Open wounds. Cascading rivers of blood.

It's uncomfortable, and I'm a wuss.

And because I'm a wuss, sometimes I lie by omission.

I lie by omission when I use the term "partner" to describe Lisa; it is gender-neutral term, and I use it when I want my sexual orientation to remain ambiguous. Because I don't explicitly state that my partner is a woman, whoever I'm talking to can create a story about me that makes them comfortable.

This makes me a bad homosexual, but it saves me the unpleasantness of having to work 12 hours with someone who is clearly either:

a) going to be convinced I am going to hell.


b) going to be convinced I am hitting on them. Because as a sexually deviant lady-lover, sitting too close, giving compliments, asking non-work related questions, smiling, any form of hair or clothing adjustment or making eye contact can all be interpreted as propositions.


c) both a) and b)

 What I need is some kind of non-invasive but easily recognizable queer identifiers... let my coworkers draw their own conclusions. Maybe I'll get some rainbow stickers for my laptop and cell phone. Or rainbow shoelaces, t-shirts and water bottles...hmmm.

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