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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Drip Feeding

Ha, I named the image 'plumbing'
because it's a play on words, you see.
Recently I fixed a pipe in the spare room. Rather, I turned a tap off on a pipe that went nowhere and the incessant dripping noise that plagued the room ceased, which is fitting given that it was previously incessant, and since then has not restarted. The crux came when we had so much water in the tank overnight that a spike in temperature the following morning (maybe the difference of a couple of degrees centigrade) had water tumbling out of the overflow and into our patio below. Nevertheless, that dripping noise that blighted the spare room had started me thinking already, though the 'repair' was carried out a few weeks ago now. It also linked to a post I read from Rhiannon last night about whether anyone can truly escape from the thoughts in their heads and a post on Dee's blog about the power of novelty in the TG community - itself answered well by another philosophical post about how novelty can have massive effects in pretty much any area of life by Calvin.

How much are our own desires very like the tap? I realise I sound like the quintessential British vicar in a Church of England sermon or else on Radio 4 doing 'thought for the day': "my son and I were watching the football match on a Sunday afternoon when he turned to me and asked, 'Daddy, which team is Jesus playing for?' To which I replied that He was of course playing for neither team, but, thinking about it later I realised that, in a very real sense, He was. How many of us have at times wondered..." You get the idea. Anyway, I digress, the point was that the dripping of that tap, on a pipe that, so far as I can tell, goes nowhere seemed to very much sum up a great deal of things all at once.

This is not the plumbing in the house. It's just complicated
looking. Apparently.

I worry, because it looks simpler than what we have.
I can follow this shit.
For some people, the pipe does go somewhere. It disappears into the fabric of the building, feeding some great tank of indeterminate size that, if left untended and unconnected, will explode and leave a hefty repair bill. However, if tended and looked after will produce some marvel of modern engineering, I'm thinking a power shower with side nozzles in a wet room in the basement that is just perfect for luxuriating in. I have rather missed having a shower since we moved and the recent holiday afforded me the opportunity to use our host's shower - nothing too fancy but it was such a relief to be having a shower every morning again! Having a bath this morning was something of a disappointment. And, to continue the abandoned analogy, that shower would be full transition. A very personal thing. For others, that pipe is a curiosity and has no seeming purpose, shutting off the tap allows them to pretty much forget that there was ever a pipe. Indeed, once that dripping is ended by the simple expedient of closing off the tap they simply forget that there ever was a pipe. It doesn't go anywhere, it's still out there, but their lives continue much like the life of my own house does - unaffected.


This is post-modernism. I'm sure it means something.
My own narrative obviously applies this to my current
relationship situation. Somehow.
These latter people are rare in the community I should like to consider myself a part, but they exist, and all power to them. In that sense, Calvin has the nub of the issue - that novelty should be embraced in all its forms and there is no one can explain their feelings to closely approximate another's when faced with a similar novelty - all things are in the eye of the beholder. Post-modernism in life, if you will. But I'm more of a modernist historian and, though post-modernism has much to offer literary criticism, I find it less useful when studying the past - principally because it assumes that historians have a tendency to take source material at face value when undertaking research and I call bullshit on that approach. As a historian I can never fully trust the sources, but nor can I assume therefore that the past is so far out of reach that any old interpretation is valid. My point being that I see more value in sharing experiences and standing with people whose experiences are similar enough to share what I have learned with them when faced with novelty or simply to stand near people whose experiences are very different indeed.

For me, that pipe is a vexation and a delicious mystery. I should like to know where it goes and what it feeds, but the fact that it disappears down the back of the hot water tank into the darkness beyond and is lost to view in the fabric of a very old house means I cannot so very well track it and find out. Furthermore, I wonder at the purpose, when the act of shutting off the tap that feeds it simultaneously solves the dripping and fails to affect anything else in the house. In much the same way there is a dripping in my own mind, that only grows more insistent. And here the analogy breaks down. My tap has been shut off since before the holidays began, maybe in July(?), my memory is poor on such things and I'm too lazy to check. And yet that dripping continues. In my mind the hot water tank is still filling up and all it will take is a slight difference in temperature to cause the whole thing to overflow and ruin the patio again. Probably while we have washing out. But, unlike some people, I have no clue where that tap is ultimately feeding nor what the potential result of simply letting it flow, and ending the dripping by letting it free, would be. And I never have.

Oh why the heck not, it's been a while.
Around this time last year I was merrily preparing for a few weeks away from the family (that would turn into five) and a new job. Little did I know that September of last year would become such a lovely time for me as I was able to indulge dressing every evening (well, Sunday through to Thursday each week) and even sleep dressed on most nights. It was beautiful. I could eat and cook and watch TV and surf the internet and mark and plan and live in a way that felt perfectly natural. Of course, there were other ways I experimented, with handcuffs and rope, but mostly just the act of being dressed and doing what needed to be done was enough. Stuffing a bra felt perfectly natural, I actually liked what I saw in the mirror (sans face) and felt comfortable in my own skin. Did I act any more feminine? Well, no, I don't believe so. I listened to the same music, I drank ale and reviewed it and I planned my lessons just the same as before. Given a longer term and less internet access (i.e. not having a family to be in contact with) I suspect I would have read the same books and maybe even played the same games on the computer. Was it just novelty?

No, I don't think it was. I'd lived similarly for a brief while in 2005/6 as I split from my Mad Ex, spoke in earnest to my first girlfriend and Catherine, but mainly to Catherine, and just accepted that I was, in fact, a cross-dresser and that my dressing was unlikely to condemn me to Hell nor cause some unravelling of society about me. From that conversation I dressed more on my own and went through phases of doing it often and not for no real reason. When I first moved in July 2006 I was determined to set my living quarters up as I would like and made a point of placing my femme wardrobe next to my bed and indulging quite regularly, especially in bed, and I had plans to paint the room in purple and black to match who I saw myself as. The living room faced the rear and there were no other houses there and so I had that set up to be a place to sit, dressed, and watch TV or just, well, be. There wasn't much of an opportunity to enact my plans as I was away in the States for much of August, in school September, and then dating (and inviting Tilly back to mine) until February the following year when she moved in and BAM that was it.

I didn't smile quite so much and I did
rather cut myself.
So the novelty, if that were a driving factor, would have been exhausted some time in the summer of 2005. But it wasn't. I shaved my legs for the first and only time that summer and loved the feeling of it, no, really. I remember reading of Leslie's attempts to feel comfortable with her legs when catching up with her blog and instantly identifying with the wonderful feeling of smooth skin on one's legs. I have no desire nor urge to shave my genitals, I'm not one for shaving my face, but legs... well, that's a different story. I think I'd do my armpits too if I thought I could get away with either. It's the one time I have enjoyed a bath, shaving my legs in that flat before school started. Lovely. Was it novelty that drove the action? Well, in part, yes; but also not in the main. Or doing it would have been enough. If you see what I mean. Recently I have enjoyed wearing a wig, but I did that a great deal back in 2005 with my Mad Ex too and enjoyed it as much then as I do now. The enjoyment hasn't faded the more I do it.

Hmm, clearly, this post was not quite ready yet. I shall no doubt return to muse further.

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