Saturday, March 03, 2007

~ Are You Judged by What You Wear? ~
(Read all about it below)

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Funny thing happened this last week at work. I've been a substitute school librarian for 4 years now. Until two months ago I was only subbing in my son's school. Suddenly I started getting asked to sub at other schools and am now able to do it now that my youngest is older. Now I get calls all the time. I get warm & fuzzies that the ones I work for call me personally now to sub again. I love being with the kids and working with the books. I don't just sit behind the desk. If there's nothing to do I go out into the books and straighten them, pull them forward, put in order those books not in their proper place. I love to do this. The people I fill in for love that they can come in the next day to an orderly library and know that things are in their place.

This last Monday I was asked a second time to come back to this particular high school. With pretty decent weather I rode my motorcycle to work. So I drive up to the teacher's parking lot and park my bike and then walk into the office to check in. I get lots of stares. It's chilly and I'm wearing my motorcycle jacket and leather chaps, carrying my lunch in my helmet and a book bag over my shoulder with my notebook and all I need for the day. The above photo is showing what I was wearing, but I was carrying my helmet and not wearing it (remember - lunch?).

I walk into the office and immediately the office clerk is right there asking "Can I help you?" It just felt like that question was loaded with lots of unsaid stuff. As she was asking that, I got the impression with her tone that she was really stating "I don't think you're in the right place." She's looking me up and down. So I answer that I'm here to sub in the school library. She's looking bewildered and wants to know who I'm subbing for, but once again with her tone I sensed she felt I wasn't in the right place and she's sure I couldn't possibly be there to sub. I would have loved to be able to read her mind. She was asking questions but her tones were saying something completely different. I answer her questions and took no offense. No reason, she's just doing her job. She then asks have I ever subbed there, because she has never met me.

Well, I had subbed there about two weeks ago and she was in the office, lol. That particular time I was dressed in normal work clothes and walked into the office and no one even batted an eye. I had driven my van and didn't need all the protective gear, lol. No one took any notice and didn't ask if they could help me. Luckily, I had been in the day before to get briefed on my sub job with the library clerk who I was to replace for the day. So I knew where to sign in and grab a badge.

Today I walk in expecting to just sign, grab a badge and go Suddenly I'm getting the third degree and only able to walk about four steps into the office. They were nice about it, but leary of this motorcycle garbed woman who had just walked into the school office that they didn't know. I did finally get my pass and was able to go do my job.

This high school is obviously not used to people driving motorcycles and wearing the proper protective gear. As I'm walking thru the halls to the library I get lots of stares from students and staff. They're the kind of stares that if I was wearing a dress I'd have to duck into the girls bathroom to make sure that the back of my dress hadn't got caught in my pantihose, lol.

It's amazing that what you wear can bring so much attention. Everyone at my son's school doesn't think anything of it, but they know me. They do think it's cool that I drive a motorcycle and love it's purple color. The kids there are in childlike awe. At another elementry school I had no problems when driving my motorcycle and walking into the office, they knew me from one other time. They remembered and recognized me even wearing the jacket and chaps.

I guess high schools can get busy and who knows whose going to walk in off the streets and declare they're there to sub. I have been asked to sub there again in a little over a week. I hope for nice weather to ride my motorcycle. If I'm able to do this, think they will remember me by what I wear? LOL

Now I ask you, do I look dangerous? Okay, bad photo, lol.
This is one of the photos for the MSR scavanger hunt last summer.

Wishing you fun journeys in your part of the world,
Biker Betty :)


Pamela said...

I guess they can't be toooo careful anymore with all the school shootings.

Let us know how that lady treats you next time /?? curious

Meow said...

Isn't there an old saying ... You can't judge a book by it's cover !!
Hope next time you don't get treated that way.
Thanks for dropping by my blog, it's always a pleasure to meet new blog friends. Drop on over again, anytime !!
Take care, Meow

Steve Williams said...

I think it is pretty typical for people everywhere to treat things out of the norm with suspicion. Some go so far as to judge anything outside their normal range as bad and wrong.

My theory is that your problem is leather! If you wear textile armored gear everyone will love you....*grin*.

I still get some sideways looks when I walk into my office with all my gear on. I guess people just feel uncomfortable seeing a Power Ranger in their midst.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

The Snark said...

Funnily enough, something much the same happened to me at a fancy hotel in town. I did my my "priceless" moment the next morning though.

Sarch said...

Betty, what a hoot.
I love the fact that you ride your bike in to sub. Keep pecking away at the preconceived ideas that people have of us bikers! I'm in agreement with you on being glad that the office lady was at least being diligent.

That pic of you in the driveway with the mountain behind you is great!

I got some riding in on Saturday and met up with a guy who helped me hard wire my communication box onto the Nomad. No more spending $$$ and having to change 9 volt batteried every 3 hours while out on the road!!!!!

Maria & Stefano said...

Hey "Wendy directed me here today" ;)
But I have to say you look great on that bike!!! It looks like so much fun!!!

Have a great one:)

I'll leave a cookie for you I picked up a couple of more at Wendy's;)


Giest said...

i think, as riders, we all get those looks. if i'm riding, i've got my leather jacket, hoodie, do-rag (less scary then my hair) and black riding boots. add to that the fact that i grew my beard out and i get quite a few odd looks walking into practically any establishment.

i agree with steve though. it's all because people think we are power rangers and they are humbled in our presence...yeah, that's it. ;)

CyberCelt said...

I love subbing as a librarian. If I had time in my life for a new occupation, that would be it.

I ride my scooter to sub jobs all the time. No one has ever treated me differently. Maybe the office person was having a bad day. Now, that is a job I would not have.

They should get used to it. There are bikers for Jesus, bikers on a mission, bikers for nature, you name it.

Biker Betty said...

Hi Pamela, I just bet that the next time I ride my motorcycle to work there she will be nice. I'm pretty sure she will remember me, lol.

Hi Meow, I'm betting I won't get treated with that very cautious attitude as long as it's the same person in the office.

Hi Steve, It is curious how the unusual is treated with caution at first. But I have to say that only the chaps were leather. My jacket is textile. Come spring I'm going to get a pink mesh jacket, maybe that will help, lol. I'll have to let you know. Maybe we should allll wear PINK!!!

It's funny how you mentioned the Power Rangers. The pink helmet I want to get reminds me so much of the pink ranger.

Hi The Snark, as soon as I post this I will go on over and read what happened to you. Sounds very interesting.

Hi Sarch, When the weather is good, and the roads aren't too gravely, I love to ride to where ever I'm called to work. So glad you were able to get out Saturday. Was the communcation box so you and your wife could talk? Sounds like you went thru a lot of batteries. Glad to here you were able to hard wire it.

Hi Maria & Stefano, Aww, thanks and thanks for the cookies.

Hi Giest, you sound like you have the typical biker image going. Yea, I agree, it's got to be that Power Ranger intimidation we project, lol. Actually, I liked watching the Power Rangers when my eldest was much younger, shhhhhh.

Hi Cybercelt, Hello fellow librarian. I honestly don't think she was having a bad day, except maybe when I walked in, lol. She wasn't too bad, just very leary of me. I have to agree that I would rather work in the school library over the office.


Thanks to everyone who left a message and to those of you who are just visiting.

Have a great day,
Biker Betty :)

v-starwoman said...

Subbing is a wonderful way to stay in touch with what is going on with your children, school and other teachers. I subbed during my children's elementary years and it was so very helpful. That is one sure way of having everyone know who your children belong to and what is happening during their day.
As far as the Secretary during your check in requirement time. She should have had a schedule and asked for your ID. That would have saved time and been the proper way to have handled the situation. It would not matter what you wore or how you were dressed. I bet her job is not "fashion police". Sounds like they need some security procedure policies.

Biker Betty said...

Hi v-starwoman,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a message. You are very right about subbing. But before subbing, I volunteered in my sons' classrooms over the years and that helped more than anything. That, more then subbing, gave me the best insights into what's happening in my two sons classroom. Then I did parttime work by doing lunch recess playground aid. Then I learned more of the nuts & bolts of the school itself. That led to the rest.

I highly recommend volunteering in in the classroom, as teacher's can also use the extra help.

Anonymous said...

ok betty here's one for you three biker's and wives stop to eat at a road side pit stop and sat down to eat myself had a mucle shirt on showing my tat's and dew rag on we stoped before we ate and i said a prayer over what we were going to eat and after we prayed this lady and hubby pulled up in there car and said that they were very sorry for judging us because of what we were wearing and said they would not judge a person by what they were wearing again ( so it is true don't judge a book by it's cover till you open it and read it )