Thursday, November 3, 2005

Dress Code

As I outlined in my last entry, I was unceremoniously bounced from the Americorp*VISTA program. What vile thing did I do to incur the wrath of my potential supporting organization and the regional office in Seattle? (If some children are afoot, PLEASE cover their eyes now!)

Overalls.

Yes, you read that correctly. O-v-e-r-a-l-l-s. I had the audacity to wear my overalls to an interview with a local reporter. Mind you, I was not yet an “official” representative of the VISTA program. I paid all the expenses to travel to Forks, Washington (though, as a peace offering, they’re now planning to reimburse me). The interview wasn’t a mandated requisite of my position; it was initiated at my behest and I was participating in the interview on MY own time.

Unfortunately, trying to promote the sponsoring organization, I invited my now erstwhile future supervisor, Bob, to join me. Though he said NOTHING negative during the interview or in our short meeting afterwards, it seems that my overalls sent him into a tizzy.

[Note: I wear overalls a lot. In fact, I wear overalls almost everyday. I like overalls because I have an almost nonexistent butt. Belts have never seemed to work for me – no matter how tight I pull them, my pants slide down past my flat bottom. I do have several nice pairs of suspenders, but I had already packed for shipment to Forks most all of my nice pants.]

In fact, when “Bob” and I parted, he suggested that I go introduce myself to several people in the community, if I had enough time left over from house hunting. Now, is this the kind of suggestion someone would make if they felt one’s manner of dress was inappropriate? Acting as my future supervisor, I would certainly think that Bob might say something like, “Do me a favor and make sure you change clothes before going out into the general community.”

But he said nary a word about my wardrobe choice. In fact, as stated above, he didn’t have anything negative to say to me at all. He complimented me on a fine interview with the local paper and then we talked briefly about house hunting and some ideas about my future VISTA project. We shook hands and he said something about contacting me the next week to discuss more project ideas.

My wife & I finally found a possible home and then returned to Salem the next day. Once home, I checked my email. And that’s when the hammer dropped. Bob sent me a vague note stating that I had been de-selected as his agency’s VISTA volunteer. He didn’t provide anything specific.

What irritated me to no end was the fact that he sent me this email less than 24 hours after our little meeting. He sent the message via email to my home 300 miles away DESPITE the fact that he knew which motel my wife & I were staying at. He sent the message via email while my wife & I were looking for a house to buy in Forks – an unneeded activity if we had no reason to move to Forks. It wasn’t until Monday afternoon (the email was sent on Friday morning and not read by me until Saturday night) that I finally reached Bob to learn that overalls played a part in this sudden about face.

Well, it wasn’t JUST overalls. It seems Bob also didn’t like the bumper stickers on my truck. I’ll discuss THAT aspect in the next entry.

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