Monday, October 04, 2004

A Little Whine with that Cheese?

Well, I haven't posted on here in a while, partially because I'm still waiting for the results of this latest fiasco. Hopefully I can figure out a way to get this cleared up that doesn't involve spending hundreds of dollars.

Here's the gist of what's new: after my last post, I talked to my ex-counselor, the fella I went to when I was having trouble with writer's block. This guy is also a licensed psychologist in his spare time, and he was quick to denounce what this Peace Corps Medical person was demanding of me. He said he'd call her at my behest and talk to her. However, he wanted me to call her again and lean on her. I did so, but of course she wasn't in the office, so I ended up leaving a detailed message. Point is, there's no use in applying pressure to her because she doesn't trust my word to begin with. The time I did talk to her on the phone she had this suspicious tone to her voice, as if searching for clues among my protestations that would prove I was more of a nutter than she thought. It was like when convicts go before the parole board to review their incarceration -- the parole board is looking for anything, any small clue, that might betray the convict as a fraud, a lying scoundrel hoping to get out of his sentence, rather than someone who legitimately has been rehabilitiated.

Anyway, so almost three weeks on and still no word from my ex-counselor about whether he ever got around to making that call. He's a good guy (obviously) -- I believe he'll do it. I mean, he told me that, if he can't talk Ms. Suspicious into relenting, he'll just fill out the damnable paperwork himself and be done with the mess. He feels very strongly that I should, under no circumstances, have to go consult a $200-per-hour psychiatrist for three sessions just so the Peace Corps, and this woman in particular, can feel a little better about me.

But as I said, no word. No word from Peace Corps Medical either. And no change to my status on the website. I've called all the parties involved and have received no callbacks. PLUS! I called the Peace Corps Placement Desk and they confirmed the info I'd heard from my Recruiter that the PC needs at least six weeks between invitation and departure date. THAT MEANS I'VE PASSED MY WINDOW AND I WON'T BE GOING IN NOVEMBER. Yes, you heard right: this fiasco has ruined my chances of going to the South Pacific in November. The Placement Desk woman said instead I'd have to work with them, once I received Med clearance, to find me a new assignment. If things are as grim as they seemed when I was talking with my recruiter last summer, that probably means I won't be going ANYWHERE for a while.

A side note: If I want to make lemonade out of this lemon, I could say I hope this means I get a Caribbean assignment. Jamaica or Eastern Caribbean, where I was before, to leave in June 2005. When I talk it out with the Placement people, I'll try to push the angle that I have "unfinished business" in the Eastern Caribbean, and that my pre-exposure to life there would make me an ideal candidate, one who would minimize the "culture shock" that cripples so many volunteers. We'll see.




Anonymous said...

Not related to Christopher Reeves, he does have a brother in PC.

Matt said...

I came across your site from the peacecorps ring, and wanted to express my understanding about how annoying this process is. I noted honestly that i'd smoked a lil pot on my app. As a result, I'm suddenly treated like a drug smuggler, and forced to write 2 essays on how I've repented. These people are very difficult, and although they have tried my patience, I'm continuing on and hope to get my placement soon. Good luck!!

Brian Reeves said...

Matt -

First, I want to thank you for dropping me a comment. I do appreciate it. Your situation is very unfortunate. Actually, I'm not surprised, in a way. The Peace Corps attracts a lot of different types of people, and I bet they've had their fair share of volunteers who get in-country and just vanish into the woodwork. I'm thinking specifically of those in the Caribbean; when I was there I remember seeing a two-year volunteer, a white guy, who wore dreads and red/gold/green rasta gear. I'd be willing to wager he smoked a little, as well.

I think the way to deal with the Peace Corps during the application process is to play your cards close to your chest. I hate to say it, but it's true. They ask a lot of questions, personal and probing questions, and not all of it is stuff they have a right or necessity to know. Maybe that's arguable. But -- and this is a message to anyone out there in the early stages of PC application -- just play it safe and don't mention anything you have to think twice about answering. My hand hesitated over the part of the medical application that asked about previous mental health counseling. I bet yours paused over the issue about drug use (I know mine did). It's a shame that they take simple medical disclosure and turn it into self-incrimination.

Good luck, and come on back here to let us know when you have an assignment!


Brian Reeves said...

And, no, I'm afraid I'm not related to the late great Christopher. His last name was Reeve, while mine has an S on the end. Sadly, I'm also not related (that I know of) to Keanu Reeves. Although interestingly he is from Hawai`i.

I am, however, related (very distantly) to actor Powes Boothe. Go figure.