Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ah, summer is arriving in San Francisco. How can I tell? Easy! Arctic winds are rocketing down my street and Daisy's school has scheduled PTA meetings. In summer!

I got to enjoy the Arctic winds on Sunday. We had planned a mini block party for our neighbors who are moving away. Hank and I moved some tables and chairs out in front of the house and various families brought food out. We stood there, in the freezing sunshine, determined to enjoy our summer day. Thankfully one of our neighbors had recently purchased an outdoor fire pit. She dragged it over along with a bunch of pieces of broken furniture to burn, and we huddled around it while noshing and sipping mimosas.

At least it wasn't foggy. Not until that evening, anyway. Welcome to late June in San Francisco!

Then, yesterday, I attended my first official Parent Teacher Assocation Board meeting as the reigning Secretary. What kind of masochist schedules PTA meetings while school is out for the summer? Lordy lordy lordy, have I ever made a horrible mistake.

So, I brought along my laptop and attempted to take notes. I took a lot of notes at first. I typed the date, the list of attendees, the purpose of the meeting, and a bunch of crap that the first guy said. Then I typed a fair amount of what the second person said. By the time the third person started blabbing, it was painfully obvious to me that people liked to hear themselves speak. I was hearing the same speeches that had been made at the informal PTA BBQ a few weeks earlier.

At one point I began to worry that people would notice that I was only taking notes some of the time. I was concerned that they would realize that whenever I stopped typing, I was essentially making a value judgement that the speaker was saying something unimportant. So, I hid my non-typing editorialization by fake-typing. They'd go "blah blah blah blah", and I'd go typey-typey-backspacey-backspacey. This is a skill that anyone who has spent time working in an cubicled office environment should have mastered. Look busy!

Often people would just stray from the topic. We'd be trying to decide whether to spend $500 on some pile of school supplies and somebody would go off. One woman made an impassioned and poignant speech about parent involvement. The words flooded out of her as she explained that it had taken her years to muster the courage to make this speech. She pleaded with us all to ensure that a wide diversity of parent opinions would be respected when making PTA decisions.

That's super. We were discussing whether to buy more potting soil for the garden.

My summer is shaping up just ducky.


zelda1 said...

Oh those who speak loads and say nothing. I hated being secretary. I didn't like writing down every single word. So, I, too, found a way to write crap and only put the important stuff in, but then, I had to read the notes from the last meeting and you know, there are those busy bodies who won't be secretary but they take notes and then when you read, they make corrections for you. I call those folks, Bitches.

Mike said...

Hmmm, "Bitches" you say? I'll have to remember that endearing moniker. It may come in handy!

Janelle Renee said...

Should I feel bad? I'm laughing at your misery. I'm sorry. Ooops. I guess I'm not. I'm still laughing!

About the weather... It's been awfully pleasant over here in the suburbs, high 60's, with a nice cool breeze.

Yay, summer!

Mike said...

jr, I'm going to pretend that you're laughing WITH me.

carey said...

The good thing about doing notes on a laptop is that mostly everything's repeated from meeting to meeting, so you can just save, cut and paste words from someone and attribute them to someone else at the next meeting. Of course, the bad thing is you miss the doodling, where you draw a PTA member's head exploding. Or a 10-ton weight landing on their head. Or perhaps they're sucked into a pit of vipers. Or quicksand. Something.

Miss Misse said...

I hear that all. Those who speak loads and say nothing. I have been to many a meeting. Thankfully at ours we have a strict time schedule so that it's only ever 2 hours max. and that seems too much. But there's always loads of food to distract me. Food can get you through almost anything.

Mike said...

Carey, oh I wish I could draw. That sounds VERY satisfying.

Miss Misse! Our meeting was only two hours long and it seemed WAY too long. Your profile picture, however, rocks.