Who knows why memories of certain experiences drift back into our minds at times that don’t seem to make any sense in terms of connection? I guess I’m assuming this happens to other people, besides me. My mind is a veritable well with an accompanying apparatus that often vigorously dips down into it ... drawing up, from various levels ... happenings and feelings from my lifescape.
This morning, while driving down North Broadway here in Knoxville, I could hear the words of a job interviewer (I don’t know what her real title was) from eight or nine years ago. At the time, I was still the roving, roaming, itinerant humane education director for a local non-profit organization, visiting schools and organizations in Knox and contiguous counties with my program. The "EF" employee (initials of recruiter organization), who later served as interviewer, contacted me and asked if I would please consider coming in and applying for a part-time job with her organization – a job that would involve my working with inner-city youth. I loved that prospect, so I figured why not complete the application? Soon I had my initial meeting with her. Her eagerness for me to be a serious job candidate was evident and a bit disconcerting, as she later phoned me to ask me to please remain interested in the position.
At last, the day of my defining interview arrived and I sweetly and sincerely accepted the invitation into her office. A few moments into our talk, she said "I know, and you admit here (on my paperwork), that you’re a musician!". Then, without stopping, she went on: "Don’t you think you would be a bad influence on children?" Well, it was really, what would be referred to in the vernacular, a "sucker shot" -- one that definitely caught me unprepared.
In that moment, I realized she’d never intended to consider me for the job and had, in fact, put a lot of effort into bringing me to that place and time. Possibly so that she could say that to me? Who knows? Maybe I fulfilled some obscure category on her EOE documentation; is there one for "musician"?. Anyway, I remember looking at her and managing to say "I consider music a positive thing", then getting up and leaving ... bewildered on my drive home.
I don’t know who was hired for that job, but odds are that he or she boasted of having a tin ear.