Those Three Years

I recently moved into the city of Dallas. So, my name is Dallas and I live in Dallas the city which is in Dallas the county. It’s like the movie Inception but with the name Dallas instead of layers of dreams. Anyway, I’ve been reflecting on my three plus years living in Plano, Texas recently and I’m still not sure how I feel.

For those of you not familiar with Plano, TX, it’s technically a suburb of Dallas… but it’s a suburb of 280,000 people. It’s big enough that there are distinct vibes to East Plano and West Plano. And they are not alike at all. East Plano is poor, diverse, and has more mom and pop places. West Plano is rich, diverse, and filled with chain restaurants, Pottery Barns, and better healthcare. How rich is West Plano, you ask? It’s rich enough that the median home price in its county passed up the county Austin is in.

My first hormone pills went down my throat in Plano. I moved there in men’s clothing and moved out in Sk8r Girl clothing. I had my first proper taco in Plano and immediately understood why my coworkers were such fangirls. If you’ve not had a lengua taco with onion, cilantro, and homemade salsa while Norteño music blared through the speakers, then you haven’t lived. I also loved the diversity of Plano. In one shift I counted ten languages being spoken in my grocery store. I was less than ten minutes from Middle Eastern, Korean, Chinese, and Indian grocery stores.

I also rode out two years of Covid isolation in Plano. My squad of Jena, Shelby, Brenda, Ramona the human, Ramona the dog, and Havoc the cat kept each other sane as we became an isolation pod. These women over and over again put up with me telling them that the latest dating app hottie was different from the others. They listened to me cry and be sad as each contestant in the dating game moved on. Even though I moved to Dallas and Shelby moved to the Midwest, we still all keep in touch.

However, I experienced a ton of harassment in Plano. Early in my transition, I was shopping in East Plano and had an employee of the grocery store loudly say to every customer and coworker in earshot “you never know what’s down below.” In West Plano I had a guest laugh at me for about a minute while I was explaining to his wife the difference between a Paso Robles Cab and a Napa Cab. I had a customer tell me “you’re not a woman but you’re definitely a bitch.” I had one guest that would stand at my cheese cooler and wait for me to ask if he needed help. He would then glare at me for a couple of seconds and walk away without saying anything. He did this every week. I was aggressively called “sir” by multiple guests on a weekly basis. But I was always alone with the customers when they would do this. I started to get the sense that some of my coworkers thought I was being paranoid and seeing things that weren’t there. The third time a guest in my West Plano grocery store cursed at me, I decided to apply for any opening in Dallas with my company.

I miss my friends and coworkers in Plano a lot. I miss speaking Chinese with immigrants in West Plano. I miss the bomb ass ethnic grocery stores. I miss the taquerias of East Plano… but fuck that fucking city up the ass for how intolerant it is.

Obviously the anger I feel is still white hot. I hope the bad memories fade and I am able to hold on to the beautiful moments from those three years of my life.

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