About a year ago, our jurisdiction let a team of coworkers develop a new program, called Express Permits, which allows customers to bring small projects on the mornings of certain days for review over-the-counter. The idea is, someone can show up in the morning and walk out the same day with their building permit in hand. It's very popular.
Yesterday I was the plans reviewer reviewing plans, and I got three of these applications. The first was a middle-aged white homeowner with whom I'd worked several times at the counter, helping him get what he needed to apply for permit. The plans were familiar, and it was probably the fastest review I've ever done – I'd already confirmed most of the information I needed. The second was a black mom and business owner, with plans drawn freehand on 8.5x11 paper, some of which had been taped together to make bigger sheets prior to copying. I enjoyed chatting with her about kids and stuff when I wasn't focused. The third was a design-build contractor we see regularly, with beautiful plans skillfully drawn by hand. I enjoyed working with them, helping them, and making their experience a pleasant one – after all, encounters with bureaucrats don't always make people's top-ten list of amusing activities. At the end of each review, as I walked back to my desk, codebook in hand, I felt a little high. And I realized something.
I like people.
That may not sound like much, but it wasn't always that way. Five years ago, it would have been torture for me to perform my job so openly in front of the public, interacting with perfect strangers. I was socially awkward and introverted. I considered myself a loner. And I was miserably unhappy. This blog is largely the story of the transformation that happened since – my social transition from male caterpillar to female butterfly.
Today, I know I'm one of the luckiest women in the world. I have a family that loves and embraces me. I live in a neighborhood full of liberal folks who are neighbors – talking, sharing, and watching out for each other. I live in beauty. I have friends with whom I can share my life in full honesty. I have friends half-a-world away, whom I've never met yet with whom I engage in stimulating conversations. I have job that pays well, supports me personally, offers me meaning, variety, and challenge, and benefits the community. God has blessed me richly with her omnipotent Love. And all this becomes radically clear, in stark contrast to my past, with this one tiny epiphany:
I like people.