I had just returned from to my office this afternoon when one of my coworkers came barging in.
“Ah! You’re here!” he exclaimed.
“Were you looking for me?” I inquired with a shrug.
“Actually, yeah. I thought I’d give you some heads-up; [[The Department Secretary]] was looking for you a couple of minutes ago.”
“What…for?” I asked, already suspecting that I knew the answer.
My coworker inhaled sharply, as people often do when bringing-up a sensitive matter in conversation. “She asked me why you’re wearing make-up. She’s worried it’s some kind of medical condition, and is wondering what she should tell anyone who comes looking for you as TA.”
“What did you tell her?”
“I told her it wasn’t a medical condition,” he said. “And that concerning anything else, she’d have to ask you personally.”
“I see,” I replied.
“Just for future reference…what should I say to questions like that?”
I thought it over for a few seconds. “Tell them it’s a personal matter.”
So my friend left, and I sat there, alone in my office, anxiously anticipating the inevitable conversation with the Secretary about my transgenderism. It’s unfortunate, really, because I really needed to work on my thesis, but I found myself extremely hard-pressed to focus.
The same thoughts kept turning up in my mind over and over again:
Was the Secretary being hostile or just curious? How will I explain this situation to her? “Well, you see…it’s because I’m kind of in the process of changing sexes; but I’m kind of trying to keep this a bit under my hat now; I only dress this way when I know I won’t be meeting with my students or my supervisor.” How’s she going to react to that? Am I in violation of some kind of policy…no I couldn’t be…there must be some kind of procedural issue here; ‘how should your name appear on the department website’ or something like that…
No matter how hard I tried to focus on AdS spacetimes, my worries just would not leave me alone! Finally, the entire afternoon passed…and nothing happened. I went upstairs to find her office was closed. I’d suffered a great deal of anxiety and wasted time over…well…not nothing, but some inevitable future event over which I had no control.
And here, of course, lies today’s Moral Lesson:
No matter how pleasant or unpleasant a future event may be, if it is inevitable, there is no point in wasting time worrying about it.