Thursday, May 08, 2008


In all the bumbling and fumbling these last two weeks, our special ed director decided to change the date of the next Parent Advisory Committee meeting. The problem was that he needed us to look over the upcoming budget before presenting it to the school board, and the board meeting was this coming Tuesday, and our next scheduled meeting was this coming Thursday. Apparently he emailed me a couple weeks ago about this, and I missed that message; then I emailed folks to ask when our meeting was scheduled, since I had forgotten to write it down, and was trying not to change the date on everybody. It finally got changed to today, 7pm.

Of course, today was a very bad day. That's why we didn't schedule it originally for today. Allan is out of town, so my attendance was a no-go. People had soccer games. Final exams. Doctor appointments. Child-care arrangements. There was a reason we didn't schedule it for today.

I live in the south. Not the deep south, but I am south of the Rappahannock, so it counts. For those of you unfamiliar with the ways of southern life and ladies, there is a tradition of being slightly vague in our language. Instead of saying "no," we say, "I'd rather not" or "wouldn't this be better?" Instead of saying "I am going to bring a tape recorder to this meeting," we say "Do mind if I bring a recorder to the meeting?" So "I probably can't come, honey" is the polite way of saying "Do not expect me to come." More directly, for you real northerners or literal-minded folks, the translation is, "I am not coming."

When I sent around messages about the meeting, I made sure to include my polite notice that I was unable to attend on such short notice. Now, I probably could have gotten my mom to watch the boys, that wasn't really the issue; my real issue was just coming off of grading and two weeks of no husband and a variety of other stressors, and I just couldn't deal with the stress of dealing with folks who haven't bothered to show up for meetings all year suddenly asking/demanding that one be rescheduled, knowing there would be complaints about short notice from parents and about lack of attendance from the people who hadn't been attending. But almost all of my messages included something to the effect of "I probably can't come."

At 7:15pm, I had two small boys in the bathtub reciting their new favorite chant (neeeee....kid.... BwuUTS!!!) covered in bubble beards and bubble "snow", while I tracked down appropriate sleep clothes and underwear. The phone rings. Without looking or answering, I just knew who it was. Yep. You guessed it.

"We're waiting for you to start the meeting!" came the pleading voice from the other end of the line. Waiting for someone who is probably not coming? Why? Even if taken literally, I would think such a phrase would deter you from awaiting a person who is probably not coming.

I now have an email from a parent who went to go to the meeting, and couldn't find it. Another parent who didn't go at all. Two of the other parents couldn't go from the get-go. And I was out of action. That leaves three regulars, and I have no idea if they went or not.

Looking into my crystal ball, I foresee more long, whiny diatribes about how parents don't participate enough.

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