Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meetings... Oh, So Many Meetings

I promised myself that I would not attend meetings.  I was moving to a new town, a new state, a new set of connections and none of it was going to revolve around meetings.  I don't like meetings.  I don't do well in meetings.  I tend to annoy those around me with my discomforted sighing and eye rolling as discussions wander aimlessly and time trudges by.  I really shouldn't go to meetings; no one benefits from my presence.

That promise was tested early and often.  Creating a newsletter seemed to require attendance at board meetings.  Interviewing high school seniors for my alma mater required attendance at board meetings.  I was beginning to feel a bit of mission creep so I began to set my boundaries more definitively: if I wasn't on the agenda I didn't show up.

This made those who presided over the meetings happier than they would have been if I'd been there, even if they were unaware of the gift I was bestowing by not attending.  The minutes were fine with me.  I didn't mind missing the under-currents which preceded those written words; those under-currents were why I didn't want to be at the meeting in the first place.

This week has been filled with meetings, and I was on the agenda of all of them.  There is much planning going on in my life right now.  I've watched three different women lead three different meetings and I never wanted to twitch or bitch or moan.  What needed to be accomplished was accomplished and it was all done within a timely manner.  I'm wondering if I have to rethink my opposition to meetings.

Tuesday's agenda assigned time slots to speakers; the Logistics committee didn't seem bothered by the fact that they were allotted one minute.  The meeting began on time and ended on time and there were 35 people in the room and everyone got to speak at least once.  Decisions were made and diversions were cut short and by the end I had covered my copy of the agenda with personal notes and ideas to take home and expand for my own purposes.  I'm actually looking forward to our next get-together.  I'm wondering if I am already rethinking my opposition to meetings.

Monday and Wednesday were smaller, more intimate gatherings.  Specifics were discussed and assignments were made.  Skills were discovered and put to good use, and questions were answered right there and then.  Putting names to faces, sharing the air, getting a sense of one another without the buffer of the keyboard - it actually felt pretty good.  The quiet student in the corner was actually taking copious notes, participating in her own way.  Minor concerns were eased before the passage of time between emails made them morph into major issues.  We were quick, purposeful, and finished in no time.  Perhaps there is something to meetings after all.

Once the last one was finished for the week, I took myself and some bags of Hershey's Kisses to see G'ma. These meetings have been interfering with my visiting schedule; I was glad to have a chance to drop in and deliver sweets.  Though it was nearly 11 when I arrived, she was just completing her morning ablutions.  While waiting for her to come out of the bathroom, I read the minutes of the pod-castle's Resident Council Meeting and was brought up short when I saw her name on the list of attendees.

G'ma had actually left her pod-castle and walked across the plaza to another building.  She represented her fellow residents.  She participated in the world around her.  All of a sudden, meetings are looking pretty good to me.

According to the minutes, the discussion centered around satisfaction, concerns and suggestions.  Norman is happy living in the pod-castle and has no problem with anything.  I'm relaxing just thinking about him.  Though Virginia attended the meeting to just listen, Duane thinks that some caregivers could do a better job and be more friendly.  Rather than being concerned that someone is mis-treating an elder, I read that and felt comforted that he was able to express a negative opinion and see it in print the next day.  If everyone were totally happy I'd be looking at the KoolAid to see what happy drugs are contained therein.

Bruce would like to see more games, especially checkers and dice and I'm wondering if shooting craps is a pod-castle approved activity.  To Gary, everything is very good and Dora thinks that everyone...takes good care of her and I'm left feeling warm and fuzzy about placing G'ma in the pod castle, especially when I get down the list to William, who is very happy but sometimes would like to be left alone.

So would I, William.  So would I.

And G'ma?  What was her contribution?  Apparently, she has no complaints and is very content.

If meetings can accomplish all that they've brought to me this week, I am definitely going to think more highly of them in the future.  I've learned, planned, grown, listened, plotted and greeted.... and my mom had it read into the record that her life is good.

Thank you, meetings.  Thank you very much, indeed.


  1. I'm with you on meetings. Every Monday we have a staff meeting and I often just daydream in them. It's 'cause they are a complete waste of my time and I don't understand what's being said. I'm in a group with a bunch of Software Engineers and I'm not a coder. I'm a designer. So I sit and dream while others drone on and on. And so how I wish I could get back that 30 minutes of my life each Monday. :)

    I'm so happy to hear that G'ma is content at her pod castle. Had to laugh about William wanting to be left alone. Usually, it's the opposite in pod castles; people want company and feel alone.

    Glad your meetings went well.

    Have a great day.

    Megan xxx

  2. I still have the How To Prepare for Thanksgiving List I created during a staff meeting 3 decades ago, Megan. I feel your pain....


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!