Tire Pressure

It all began yesterday.  As I pulled the car out of the driveway, I noticed that the “tire pressure” light was illuminated.  Since it was a cold morning, I went on the assumption that the tires had shrunk (or had they swelled?) and further assumed that the light would go off just as soon as the tires got their groove back.  I went about my day, only cursorily checking to see if any of the tires were blatantly flat (they were not) and considering that I might want to bring it into the dealer given the fact that the last time the light came on it was due to a nail in my tire.  By the time I had this thought, however, it was moments before I was due to collect Jess from school and take her to an appointment.  So, I ignored the light.  The damage was done, however…I was worrying about the damned tires.

Well sonofabitch if the light wasn’t on again this morning.  It became evident that waiting for the temperature to change and restarting the car (what? it works with computers!) were not going to darken the light, so I decided that I would swing by the dealership and have them take a look.

I drive what is considered to be a luxury car and, as such, the dealership is very fancy.  I drove in unannounced and was immediately attended to.  When I say attended to, I mean I was escorted out of my car and over to my personal consultant for a quick assessment of the issue.  From there, I headed to the waiting room where there is a full kitchen, stocked with breakfast, lunch and dinner items, bottles of water, coffee and juices for every taste.  (In fact, I happened to arrive just around noon at which time a bevy of sandwich options were put out for consumption.  I didn’t act quickly enough and missed what was truly akin to feeding time at the zoo.)  I settled in with my Words With Friends, surrounded by the newest “People Magazine” (which I certainly would have read had I not done so yesterday while at the gym), and today’s “Wall Street Journal” and “New York Times.”  It was downright relaxing, actually.

One of the words I played in WWF was “denim.”  It was then that I remembered that I was just a block away from Target and that Jess has outgrown all her jeans, and that we could use toilet paper, oh, and milk and that they might even have this year’s bathing suits out for Jess (that is always fun) and, well, I just had to get to Target.

Shortly thereafter, my consultant (Joe? or maybe it was Jim?) came out to tell me that I indeed had another nail in a different tire than last time and that they were in the process of plugging it.  We just needed to let them finish and then wash the car (another perk of driving a nice car) and I would be on my way.  $21.50 later, I was out the door, headed to Target.

I walked into the store and was assaulted by the display of bikinis and tanks just waiting to be donned poolside.  “Good,” I sort of thought to myself, “I can grab a few new suits for Jess.”  I worked my way further in to the girl’s department: something I am holding onto tight…Jess is really about to outsize the department, but the leap one must take to segue from “girls” to “juniors” department is a bit too much just yet.  (Aside: I count my blessings that I am no longer expected to fit into the little suits that are supposed to pass for swim wear these days.)   This year, in a step up from last, they had cute little quick dry shorts complete with compression shorts underneath which peek out, looking adorable.  I am quite sure this was not the designer’s intent, but they are pretty much the perfect bathing suit bottom for a transgirl!  This might not be so bad.

I moved toward the jeans department (which, arguably, is an easier item than a swim suit) and was a little bit horrified.  Most of the jeans (in the girls’ department, let me remind you) were either super skinny, super low-rise, super tight or super ugly (sparkles and jeans are a big fail in my book). I rummaged through the piles and debated which size and which super fit to buy.  One size looked just a little too snug but the next size up was twice as large.  Crap.  This exercise was becoming increasingly stressful and I really needed to find some jeans…what to do?  And then, in what might well have been a moment of insanity, I meandered over to the boys’ department: a place I’ve not dared to venture in over a year.  I perused their jeans and immediately noted that they looked much more likely to fit Jess’s body than any of the others I had reluctantly dropped in my cart. (Well, duh.) After a deep breath, and some quick soul-searching, I tossed a few pair in the cart with the anxiety that only the parent of a transgender kid can know.  She might flip out.  Then again, she might not care, and just be happy to have a pair of jeans that fit comfortably.  I just don’t know.

As I wiped the thin layer of perspiration that had settled on my upper lip (my sweat spot of choice) I briskly left the clothing area and headed toward the frozen foods to gather a few Key Lime Pies for Harrison.  Something for everyone.

I checked out with only one impulse item (a lip gloss) but a fire in my belly.  I suddenly felt needy and anxious.  I felt the relief of not having to buy a new tire as profoundly as I worried about my jeans decision.  I grappled with whether Jess would appreciate the jeans, regardless of who they were made for, or would she interpret my having purchased a pair from the boys’ department as somehow passive aggressive.  Was it passive aggressive?  Does she know what passive aggressive means?  Welcome to my world.

What is a girl to do in this situation?  I was stressed, despite having taken care of the two things which needed to be attended to.  I even remembered to buy milk, for crying out loud!  I was knotted up with the knowledge that I might have managed to create a potentially volatile situation.  I was feeling the sweat bead up on my upper lip again.  I needed to fix this somehow.  So I went shoe shopping.

I didn’t mean to, really.  I had good intentions of just heading home and taking care of some things there.  But somehow, I wound up trolling the never-ending aisles of DSW which, in and of itself would make me happy, but even more so when I recalled that $10 off coupon burning a hole in my wallet.  I could turn this around.  And I did.


It is still too cold in these parts to wear them, but soon enough it will be warm and they will come out of hiding.  Knowing that they are at the ready gives me peace and strength to deal with whatever reaction Jess will have upon discovering her new jeans.  Never underestimate the power of a new pair of shoes.

21 thoughts on “Tire Pressure

  1. This is a problem for many girls who are not transgender….the size challenged. Girls who are a little zaftig, tall, or in any other way non-conforming to what the designers think is an American girl, find themselves shopping in the boys department. There are just more size and style choices. Don’t let the label influence Jess’ view…just as we tell ourselves to not let the number on the size label influence us.

  2. Hi, Julie !

    I’m a retired public elementary school teacher and principal (grades, K-8) in Massachusetts. I’ve said hello once before on your blog.

    I want to tell you again how proud I am of you and Jessie. If there is ANYTHING about elementary school (or middle school) that you’d like to bounce off me, please do so. Even though I have never worked with a transgender child, there may me something we can work through about the issues of these grades. God love you, Jessie, and your family.


  3. Didja hear about the blonde who, after being told she had a nail in her tire, was confused as to whether she should go to the auto shop or her manicurist…….Oh, that was me….I hate when that happens. But my light is so dim; what do I know? Oh well, I’d probably drive to DSW with a flat tire if I had a $10.00 coupon, and stop to get my nails done on the way. Priorities, my dear; priorities. 😉

  4. Boy, can I relate to this shopping experience! Just reverse the departments! I am forever trying to find mannish-looking clothes with room for curves!

  5. My step-father buys his sneakers in the women’s department because they fit him best. He also buys women’s gloves because his hands are so small (my poor mother). My sister buys boys’ jeans because she prefers the fit. My other sister, who is about 112 lbs and 5’2″, sleeps in men’s size large sweatpants. Jessie should be fine (as long as you don’t tell her she’s anything like my freak family).

  6. I think as long as you don’t make an issue of it, neither will she. Might I even suggest that if she questions the jeans you could claim innocence (“Oh someone must have hung them in the wrong section”, etc)?

    I was an adult long before I understood that my priceless works of art my mom hung on the corkboard over the trashcan may not have fallen in there all by themselves. 🙂

      • This is a good point. We do have to pick our battles and, if a “slight fib” can give us a respite, use it to good advantage on occasion.
        But kids of Jessie’s age are extremely sensitive to being misled no matter how innocent and well-intentioned the motive. How many pieces of clothing will have to be hung on the wrong rack/in the wrong dept. by mistake ?

  7. I’m watching the nightly news, and it appears as though you don’t have to do a snow job on Jessie – Mother Nature is taking care of that for you!
    If you were as old as I, you could use the “Why, back in my day,,.,” explanation. There were only boys jeans when I was a kid, but I do remember that they looked a lot better on some of the girls. If the jeans fit……

  8. Can you even tell they are from the boys section? So many pants are ambiguous or unisex it really doesn’t matter! I have seen some quite girlish boy jeans and some boyish girl jeans. I agree I would not tell Jesse. If she figures it out, then tell her. You were concerned of the fit and the appropriateness of the jeans for a pre teen girl. Not that you were buying girl jeans in general. So don’t worry about it your heart was in the right place! Quite frankly some of those girl jeans are SO low cute I wouldn’t put them on a pre-teen girl….transgendered or not. And if this problem should arise again (and it always does for us ladies) by the cute jeans from the the boys section and buy the ugliest pair from the girls section. don’t tell Jesse and see what she picks.

  9. All else aside, I find the juniors department horrifying. My daughter is only 15 months and I am dreading shopping there. It will only get worse, no? Maybe there will be a trend towards modesty.

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