The day I lost my patience.

Posted: December 3, 2012 in jail
Tags: , ,

I walked into the meeting hopeful and full of optimism.

Little did I know, that was my first mistake.

The second mistake I made was assuming that what I wanted to do was something other people wanted too.

Work with inmates and reduce the recidivism rate.

What was I thinking?

I had gotten the appointment with the grant writer for the county along with a third level Administrative Assistant to the Sheriff.

I had started my own non-profit and was legal and in business. Getting the non-profit status took over a year and was a brutal process. I understood why and we worked hard on it. I had given the project to one person to do and she got it done. We had filed endless papers, gotten our name secured and approved, provided the IRS with all the information they wanted, passed our background checks and was finally allowed to open our doors and start taking money.

I wanted a grant to get it up and running. I was working a full-time job and doing this evenings and weekends. Having a grant would cover our out-of-pocket expenses, give us the time and money we needed to secure a location and hire a person or two.

I knew working with a third level assistant was the beginning step of working my way up their own food chain. I knew she would basically meet with me and take my information.

I arrived on time and was escorted to an office. The assistant’s name was Marcy. She stood up, shook my hand and introduced to me to a man sitting there. His name was Dick for the purpose of this story. He did not stand-up when I walked in. I extended my hand. He barely touched it. I sat down next to him across from Marcy. We chatted for a few minutes. Dick stared at me.

“I appreciate you giving me a meeting Marcy. I hope I’ve brought everything you need and can answer any questions,” I said as I began to remove my documents from my briefcase. I had spent countless hours filling everything out and making it as professional as possible.

I leaned over to hand it to her, but Dick reached over and pulled it out of my hand. He put his glasses on and began to scan the documents. I sat back and waited.

He was wearing a suit. His hair was short and thick. He perched the glasses on the tip of his nose. As he read, he occasionally shook his head and frowned. I felt my stomach clench but said nothing. He spent almost half an hour reading them. Marcy and I sat quietly.

Finally he tossed the papers onto Marcy’s desk and sighed. He turned and looked at me, up and down. I felt my hackles rise but still said nothing.

“Why should I give you this grant?” he asked. He sneered at me.

“Well, because as you can see there, this program has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the county and I have brought it to this County to help. If you just look here…” I said as I retrieved the papers from Marcy’s desk and began flipping through the documents. I was feeling nervous. My mouth began to get dry.

“No, I understand that and I certainly don’t need you to explain it to me,” he said. “Perhaps you don’t understand my question, so let me ask it this way; Why should YOU get the grant money? From what I can see, you don’t have any credentials, you’re a new business and I am more interested in what your true motives are.”

My true motives? What the hell is he talking about, I asked myself.

“Huh?” was all I could think to ask.

“Why would someone who is as pretty as you, who already has a job, want to be in this line of business? I mean, I can see that you’ve got everything in order and I see that you are already getting clients from the courts and as impressive as that is, I have to be concerned on what the money will be used for.”

I felt my cheeks turn red. I could not believe he said anything about my looks or my motives. I had just met this man and what I was asking was perfectly legitimate and standard operating procedure. He was the grant writer. He was the one that did this for a living. Based on how he was dressed, he looked to be doing just fine financially. I couldn’t think of why he had taken an instant dislike to me.

I wanted to the money, but not that bad. I didn’t like his sneer. I didn’t like his condescending attitude towards me. I didn’t like the way his eyes rarely looked at mine but preferred to look at my chest, even though I was wearing a very conservative suit.

But I thought of what we could do with the money and the people and families we could help. I thought about the people I could employ and the difference we could make. I clamped my temper down and looked at him.

“I’m sorry, but I am not sure why you are questioning my motives. What I am asking for is completely reasonable, so I’m a bit confused,” I said and looked at Marcy. She hadn’t said a word. She shrugged.

He sighed, took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes.He was acting as if I was the stupidest person to ever walk the face of the earth.

“I want to know what you are really up to,” he said and sneered again. “Why do you want to work in a jail with these men? Why men and not women?”

I slight smile crossed his face as he sat back, folded his arms and waited.

I completely understood his implication.

The grant was being offered for a wide variety of people but I had chosen to use the limited funds to work with the men that beat the shit out of women so I could help both of them. It seemed like the smartest move on my part for the limited amount of time and resources. Help men to not hit women (and children) and have a shot at saving an entire family.

He was questioning my request because it dealt with men and I am a single woman. In his mind, there HAD to be an ulterior motive.

I knew I wasn’t going to get the grant.

“Because I want to meet men, that’s why,” I said and sat back.

I heard Marcy chuckle. Dick looked surprised at my answer. I shook my head and started putting the papers back in my briefcase.

“Oh, that’s not what I meant…”

“Yes it is, Dick. It is exactly what you meant to say,” I said and stood up. “Why don’t you just come out and say what it is that is bothering you about me? About my request? About whatever it is that is on your pea brain, because I don’t have a lot of time to waste with anyone who isn’t going to help me.”

“Well, I do need to be concerned about someone like you…”

“Like ME? What the hell does that mean, Dick?” I said. My voice was beginning to rise.

“Single, pretty and…”

I held up my hand. I actually didn’t want to hear it. “You’ve hit the nail in the head, Dick. You’re so smart to have figured me out so quickly. Yes, I want a grant so I can come into jail and meet men! I mean, you have to understand how tired I am of the bar scene and the dating sites. See, I figure if they are in jail, then I at least know where they are, right? And we all know women of my age are desperate and pathetic and will do just about anything to get a man!” I was now yelling and it felt good.

I turned and looked at Marcy. “This is what you have to put up with here?” She looked away. She still had not said one word.

I picked up my briefcase and purse. He put his hand out. “I would still like to take another look at your proposal. Maybe I got this all wrong….”

“No, you got it right,” I said and put the papers in my briefcase. “And I don’t want your money,” I said and walked out.

I cried all the way home. When he called the next day to apologize, all I could think to say was “Can you say ‘lawsuit’ Dick?”

He never called again.

  1. Laurie M says:

    Unfortunately, this IS what happens when you give some people a taste of bureaucratic power. They become power mad & loose all sense. They wield that power & enjoy it. Only getting back to their TRUE purpose when someone like you is not intimidated & calls them out on it. THEN they start thinking about what they had said & done & what the true legal ramifications COULD be. THEN suddenly they are apologetic. While I’m sure it was a set back, I am SO happy to hear you walked away from him. Can you hear me applauding from clear over here? Well done & you ROCK!

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Yes I can hear you applauding! (((Hugs)))

      On one hand, it IS good to know where someone is coming from, even if it’s unpleasant.

      On the other hand. it’s frustrating.

      I have run into this many times, but I’m still here!