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She said she said

Funny how the brain can go two tracking while at the microscope, opening brood cells, aging bee pupae, looking for mites feeding on them, aging and sexing the mite foundress's progeny. Remembered a story from the years spent up in WA State working as a survey entymologist, tracking down gypsy moths. I supervised so many good people, moth trappers and their team leaders. They were good. Average people. Students, middle agers out of work, retired people. All devoted to keeping the GM from devouring their trees. A. was a hot shot trapper. Big woman, lesbian, Wiccan. She knew about my religious inclinations I think. She was comfortable with me. She had no qualms about driving solo up into the North Cascade foothills and setting out her trap lines, work she did with precision. Then there was T. T. came back trapping season after season to work for me, 9 years in all. She was my secret weapon. Always coverd her assigned area early, and I shamelessly used her to help cover the areas assigned to other trappers not as good. Finally a vacancy came open and I was able to promote her to team leader. What I particularly admired about T. is that she was learning disabled. It meant she could not read, much less create a map for each trap set. So at home at night she would spend 4 to 5 hours mapping out her traplines for the next day. Her map work was perfect. I also used her every time there was a catch and more traps needed to be set so that we could "walk" our way back to the point of introduction. Every season started out down in Olympia with trapper orientation. The usual personnel training so that these seasonal workers worked within a beauracracy's parameters, plus equipment issuance, plus assigned areas for each traper and team. I think it was '00 orientation. A. and T. had worked closely together the year before up in Snohomish Co. They had worked well together. T, was now a team leader but on a different team from A's. First day T. hands me a letter, says it's from A., says she's uncomfortable. Implication clear. I got to do with a personnel issue. I read the letter. How it could be interpreted would depend upon the composition of the jury. Was it a love letter? A letter from one woman to another expressing a tender regard? Was it, in what the business of sex counselling is called, a first act of grooming? It was not my place to judge. My job was to see to both my people and to the gypsy moth mission. So I passed the letter up to my supervisor, project entymologist. I followed the org chart. Chicken !@#$ bastard that he was, he said I needed to contact the WSDA personnel officer assigned to us. I did and she came to the orientation convening immediately. As an aside, boy did I have the hots for that officer. So she read the letter, told me to pull A. out of the general conference room. I know I did what was right for the org. but I still feel for A. It was a sweet and tender, personal letter that got made public. That still hurts my heart. After the meeting A. came out, mightily pissed, she stomped out of the building on the way to her car, I heard her say, "This is bullshit." Officer had told her to have no contact with T. But then there is T.'s case. I had to see to her too, needed to make sure she felt secure in her work space and in the field. Maybe it was because I'm a good guy but I don't think so. I used so many people in those years to keep gypsy moths out of the state. Now I get to the sweet spot in my story. When the personnel officer reported to me and my asshole supervisor her interview with A., she said A. denied any motive. Towards the end of the conversation I swear on my sainted mother's bosom spent in ashes and strewn to the wind on the Halifax River, I saw W.C. Fields's ghost right behind her. I said, "Ah yes. It's a classic case of she said she said." Personnel Officer's eyes said it all. In her estimation I was TOF (Turd on the Floor.)

Jul/27/2013, 1:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson

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