"Hello; I'm standing outside your boat and got the number from the window. You do bike repairs?"
"Sort of; for friends and emergencies. What's the problem?"
"Oh, my bike needs a service..."
"Sorry; I'm trying to get some paintings done just now"
"Oh! You're an artist?" -he sounded very excited.
"I wonder if I could make a video of you at work? -I make films; I'm in a club, and there's a competition..."
"I'll be back at the boat in a few minutes; if you hang on, we can talk face to face."
He could. We met, and introduced ourselves. He showed me one of his videos on Vimeo; it was very well filmed and put together, about a chap who goes flying. I tentatively agreed to do a couple of hours filming; he referred to me as "your good self" rather than simply "you", and as we were winding things up he called me "sir" - I thought I'd heard that earlier too, but didn't pick him up on it; sometimes life's too short... but the thought of spending more time with him without clarifying things was unbearable.
"You called me 'sir'. That's not what I am. My pronouns are she and her..."
"Oh! I really don't have a problem with that; I've a friend who's gay..."
He called me sir yet again and corrected himself to madam. And off he went on his bicycle that needed servicing.
I thought a bit about how much of a mission I felt to Spread Enlightenment. Once upon a time, people in academia were falling over themselves to find tame trans people to participate in their research for their PhDs. These days, of course, they just take the easier option and make things up, and then get them peer reviewed by their chums on Mumsnet. And then there was a flurry of interest in canal dwellers, as we are obviously lively and colourful and excitingly bohemian, and a gift to the
photographer, some of whom are cheerfully expanding their portfolios with us.
But I just couldn't face it. It's not my job to educate someone when they don't even consider that I may not care whether or not they have a problem with me.... I txted him. Sorry....