Camouflage

This post is also available in: Dutch.

May 14th was an exciting day for me. After all, how many interns get a chance to meet with the governor of Curaçao? That’s right, not many, if any at all. Well last week I did get that chance, and I got a great story out of it too, although not the one you might think.

Let’s back up to the beginning of the story. Last week, the DVD’s of Ecosplash; Korsòu Salbahe finally arrived at the Curaçao Footprint Foundation. To celebrate this joyous occasion, which was a long time overdue, an appointment was made to present these DVD’s to the one and only, the governor of Curaçao. Because of my involvement in the production of Ecosplash II, I was invited by Leon and Michelle to attend, together with the president of the Prins Bernhard Foundation and Sylvienne Martina, co-presenter of the first series. Needless to say (or is it?) that I dressed in my finest shirt and pants for the occasion.
Arriving nicely on time (which is worth mentioning on Curaçao) we were asked to take place in a waiting room. When we gathered five minutes later to go meet the governor, bad luck struck Sylvienne and me. Unfortunately, only three people had been registered for a visit, and no exception could be made. There I sat, in my finest pants, which would go unseen by the governor.

With its ability to change colors in the blink of an eye, Curaçao's reef squid is a master of camouflage (picture by John Dohmen).

With its ability to change colors in the blink of an eye, Curaçao’s reef squid is a master of camouflage (picture by John Dohmen).

T-shirts, jeans, blazers and ties

I am not a big fan of dressing up. At home I feel most comfortable in a loose jeans and a t-shirt, whereas here on Curaçao you’ll find me wearing shorts and flip-flops almost exclusively. But some occasions require a little more than my usual dress. College presentations, a friend’s wedding or, as it turns out, a visit to the governor of Curaçao. For these rare occasions I use something often identified (or not identified?) in the animal kingdom: camouflage. I hide my true t-shirt-and-jeans-identity and flawlessly blend in with the blazers and ties, so as not to stand out. For animals, camouflage is usually a matter of life and death. Camouflage is often used to seize opportunities which would otherwise have passed, as is the case for example with a hidden hunter striking successfully at its prey. Although most human camouflage is used to deal with social issues, sometimes a lack of the proper camouflage might take away an opportunity just as harshly as it would among the animals.

Back to the governor’s waiting room. Accepting of the fact that I would in fact not be the intern who met the governor, I sat back down, when another hiccup presented itself: Leon’s pants. He had chosen to wear his most presentable jeans, as the work day was very diverse, but such wear is no fit for a visit to the governor, as was pointed out to him. Mercilessly he was denied access and the drama was complete. Because he had failed to use the proper camouflage, this opportunity now seemed to flee. It was in this moment that my instincts kicked in. I could not go because my name wasn’t on the guest list, but my pants were more than presentable (after all, I was visiting the governor). Leon’s name was on the list, but he was due to stay with me because of his jeans. You are probably thinking of what I was thinking there, and I pitched exactly that idea to Leon. He agreed with me, and in the cramped bathroom of the governor’s waiting room I shed my camouflage and shared it with Leon. He emerged as a proper visitor of the governor, I emerged as a simple intern in jeans.

So there you have it, a day filled with camouflage. I hid my shorts and flip-flops, Leon used my pants to trick the governor’s assistant and I tried to mask this blog as a story of me meeting the governor. Camouflage.