Yesterday I went to a local used bookstore in Syracuse to sell some books. It went pretty well actually. I made $9. But while I was waiting, I saw someone who I was pretty sure was my ex-girlfriend from when I was 14. We dated for 3 months and kissed a few times behind dumpsters. Now I’m pretty sure this person must know I’m trans now, because I was also pretty trans then, and word gets around besides. But I wasn’t positive it was her. So, I figured it wouldn’t be polite (or even humanly possible) for me to look right at her face directly. And it certainly wouldn’t be socially acceptable to indicate that I recognized her. So I tried to look at her sideways while hiding behind a bookshelf, but the inherent problem was, if I could see her face, then that meant she could see mine. I didn’t want to appear like a stalker. So, I peered from between the books, as I often did when I recognized people while working at libraries. I tried to make it so only my one eye was visible, but then I was afraid that she would see me doing this and be even more freaked out. And yes, I am pretty sure she saw me. So I quickly left.
I told this nonchalantly to Joey later and he couldn’t stop laughing. Apparently, what neurotypical people would do in this situation is just look at the person’s face and smile, and maybe say, “Hey….So-and-So?” And that isn’t creepy at all. Apparently that’s normal. Apparently neurotypical people would find peeking through bookshelves to be the awkward and uncomfortable thing to do. Go figure. I said, “But that’s what people do in books and movies.” And Joey said, “Yes, because that’s the dramatic thing that people do in fantasies and that makes a better story.” Oh. And then he encouraged me to please write about this, no matter how briefly.
So, if you ever see me peeking at you through bookshelves, or anyone like me, please understand it’s because we are trying NOT to freak you out.