I will admit to be faintly excited at the thought of attending a committee meeting where testimony would be heard by several panels on a topic that I was interested in. And not only interested because I was being paid to be interested in it - but as a citizen as well.
Let me paint the picture for you .....
|Maybe not quite this crowded...|
I maneuvered my way to a section of wall behind the last row of seats and proceeded to lean in for the long haul. And we were just getting started. My luck took a turn for the better when I saw that the panel I was interested in (being paid to be here for) was up first). I knew that collectively they would be speaking about 15-20 minutes and felt certain that I could shuffle/slouch my back into tolerance for that long.
People watching was at a premium as our paid officials (12 in total)represented in one of a few fashions: 1) The "all-in" group. This group- (about 5 on the committee) were paying strict attention, taking notes and were totally HANDS OFF the phone or other devices. They even made appropriate facial expressions. 2) The "sorry I'm late" group was represented by 3 of the group. They came fluttering in, made a show of getting settled, checked their phones and I don't know that they ever really dialed in to our group. 3) Another 3 were in and out. They liked to interject and pay attention part of the time, but they also liked to whisper and smile at others. I half expected them to wave at any time. (I would have waved back). And then there was the ONE. He could not sit still. He was up and down, in and out, so busy that he couldn't be bothered to respectfully listen to the panel that had been invited to speak. You know the type.
When the panel was finished they ended with the typical opportunity for questions. Let me tell you what, there were many questions. And I did not mind any questions asked by Group 1. But when Group 2 starting asking them, I began to get a little irritated. It reminded me of a certain senior executive I used to work with that always prepared questions to ask BEFORE he heard someone speak. This was at our officer's meeting. He just wanted to be seen AND heard. Know the type? Group 3 didn't have any questions - I really think they were waving by this point. And then there was the ONE. And wouldn't you know it - his question was TOTALLY OFF TOPIC. I thought he was in the wrong room. It had nothing to do with anything we were discussing and was quite inflammatory. Later I found out he had a personal grudge to nurse and that was what was behind that drama. Glad the citizens of Texas paid for that.
The questions went on for almost an hour. I was slithering down the wall by this point. The only thing holding me up was my interest in the folks sitting comfortably in front of me. One guy had been busy looking at potential housing opportunities in Austin the entire time. Glad he found a seat. If you have a house for sale in Central Austin in the $400-$600k range, I have a buyer. The other guy was just reading his emails IN THE BIG PRINT FOR TIRED EYES. I will protect his private messages (for now).
Lots of interest in that room. Always something to learn. Just not always what you expect.
Until next time,