Friday, April 28, 2006

Excitement in the Chambers

This is a long one, but it came out in a terribly tense-shifting rush the other night:

How to raise your heart rate, lose your vanity and get on TV, all in 16 easy steps!

Step 1. Don’t wash hair for over a week. Get up late and put it into a makeshift bun. Wear scruffy jeans and a flannel shirt. No makeup.

Step 2. Work an entire day (unloading boxes, etc), a bit dazed in a Monday way, but do note that there is an important meeting that night related to a city development issue that irks you.

Step 3. Skip dinner and exercise to fiddle around on the internet and write letter to city council. Plan to attend meeting to show support and just be a “warm body.”

Step 4. Become so wrapped up in writing letter that you forget all sense of time. Note time and dash away from the desk without so much as looking in the mirror to “freshen up.” Jog to city council chambers.

Step 5. Tell at least 3 people that you won’t be speaking about issue, but that you have this powerful quote from a local author...Get strongly encouraged to speak. Protest feebly, cave at the very last second and sign up.

Step 6. Fiddle frantically with notes during droning financial part of meeting. Elevate heart rate considerably.

Step 7. Listen to developer who has instigated local issue say that everything was going “very well.” Seethe. Listen to fancy-pants lawyer hired to supposedly represent citizens concerned about development babble and waste his 3 minutes. Quickly change notes and ideas about what to do with your own 3 minutes. Elevate heart rate some more.

Step 8. Get passed over on the agenda. Not real sure what just happened, but become suddenly very relaxed! Thank city council gods, consider leaving. Listen idly to parking meter debate.

Step 9. City Council president, whom you vaguely know, realizes that you’ve been skipped over. He announces that he’ll be changing the agenda to include you.

Step 10. Say “Damn!” fairly loudly. Resume frantic note-fiddling, heart rate elevation while one other person talks first for his 3 minutes.

Step 11. Get called to podium and begin, um, speaking. Deviate from notes significantly, somehow manage to sound somewhat coherent. Studiously ignore TV cameras and transcriptionist recording your not-entirely-polished speech. Blush copiously.

Step 12. Control shaking voice to read quote that got you into this mess to begin with. End on time, attempt to look cool as a cucumber, ignore fact that you are wearing scruffy jeans and that your makeshift bun has sprouted wings.

Step 13. Get congratulated by random strangers. Talk with older woman who says development in question seems like someone giving her the finger every time she drives by. Tell her you regularly give said development the finger yourself. Later are told that you were “sent by the goddess” to help represent others who are unable to speak but feel the same way.

Step 14. Take elevated heartrate (and odd worries about getting “a talking-to” at work for being so publicly political) into car, drive somewhat distractedly home at prime deer time.

Step 15. Share the mutual experience of getting the living daylights scared out of you while slamming on brakes and swerving (in your case) and frantic running away, in the correct direction, thank the universe (in the deer’s case). Do not make contact with any part of the deer.

Step 16. Continue home. Arrive in one piece to regale your ever-patient husband with your adrenaline-fueled tale. Whew! Eat lentils prepared by husband, and finally go to wash your hair. Feel good that you did something other than flip off an inanimate object, monstrosity that it is.

Ultimately, it didn't turn out quite as we'd hoped (ie holding developer to some higher standards on the lakeshore) but it was a good experience that MAY do some good down the line. Not sure why this issue yanked my chain enough to get me in front of the council again, but I'm glad I did it. Work's been fine. Been hearing from people here and there that they heard it on the radio, etc... even my politically different brother said I sounded like "I knew what I was talking about"... Ha! As much of a compliment as I will likely get from him. Now, where to find the energy to fight for about 1000 other issues....

1 comment:

Liz said...

That's a little too much excitement for one day. Glad that deer didn't interfere with your ride home too much. Congratulations for standing up for what's right!