Friday 20 October 2006

The butt

That is what I am. The butt of all the jokes. My meeting today in Bury St Edmunds is a case in point. The chairman of each society (for I am a chair of men as well as a chair of vice) was given three minutes for a verbal report. I might have overrun slightly, but I did have two extra Useful Points to raise, for which I was thanked by the Chairman (this is the overall chairman; the Chairman of chairmen, and if you are thinking that there might be more chiefs than braves here, you might have a point) and was also delayed slightly by an inexplicable outbreak of hilarity.

I had asked if other societies expected their members to sign in at meetings. At ours, about 250 people at a time turn up so it isn't really possible to ask them nicely, individually to tick their name off on a sheet, although we make it as easy as possible. And quite a few of them don't bother. The bright idea was that it would help, in the case of a fire alarm, to ensure that everyone had left safely and gathered at the Assembly Point to be counted. Unfortunately, I explained, when just this eventuality happened (it was a false alarm, I'm glad to report), quite a few members wandered off to go shopping and never returned.

I wasn't trying to be funny, not even in the hope of ready money, but everyone laughed. Rather loudly in fact. Now, I'm more than happy to provide amusement, but was this so funny?

Afterwards, I set myself behind the tea trolley and poured tea for everyone, so now they all know me. And will be charming to me in future as they believe me to be both amusing and helpful and, as a bonus, to be someone who says sensible things and gets thanked by the Chairman.


Anonymous said...

It was funny...very..I would have guffawed and made rude jokes at the tea trolley afterwards.

Z said...

Charming, Wendz, I hoped for charming.

Huh. Should have known better.

Girlplustwo said...

our madame chairperson pours tea for no one....

Z said...

Dignity isn't to be relied upon. It tends to collapse if you stand upon it.

Anonymous said...

No, it was not bloody funny, it was bloody sensible. Let them laugh, they will be like Matilda Who Told Lies And Was Burned To Death. They will laugh on the other side of their face when they get sued for letting someone die because they thought they'd gone shopping.

When I was at school, we had a new headmistress, Mrs Penney, who I think had lost a child in a school fire. As a result, we were fire-drilled to within an inch of our lives, to the point that all 250 of us plus staff would be at the assembly point with our names ticked off within three minutes of the alarm sounding. No-one laughed at Mrs Penney, because fire evacuation can make the difference between life and death. In later life, I have been amazed at the slap-dash approach of various organisations to fire-evacuation procedures.

If it's any consolation, people sometimes laugh at me when I'm making a serious point. I try not to let it bother me, though I haven't yet worked out the best response to it.

Also, I was taught to NEVER EVER make the tea for people except at my house or my family's.

Z said...

To be fair, they were laughing at me rather than the situation - I think I sounded Plaintive. Every one of them advised us to continue to take names and to explain to the members why it's important. A couple of them said that their societies had introduced swipe cards, so as to be sure of keeping complete records. Others pointed out that their members are notoriously vague and would instantly lose their swipe cards, or leave them at home (this is true). It was good humoured, but not facetious.

The point was also made, accurately, that we hire the theatre, with its staff, and they make it clear that they take responsibility in an emergency.

I didn't make the tea, heaven forfend. I watched them pour it at the rate of two cups per minute and took over. I had a loving home to get back to that evening.

Anonymous said...

Oh. Ah. Ok then.