Yesterday I attended a meeting for district representatives and nonprofit members to discuss the challenges of the current economy and how they are affecting philanthropic businesses. I went as the representative for Murdock. They usually send me to all of the important community meetings (well actually no one else could attend so they told me to go and take notes). So I wore a name tag that said "Mary Carter, Murdock Trust" and you would have thought I was wearing a crown and sash. Several people came up to me to introduce themselves, give me their business card, and tell me that they have "something in the pipelines" at Murdock. I graciously shook their hand, thanked them for their kind words, and casually mentioned that I am in fact the new Executive Director and if they ever need anything I would be happy to fit them into my busy schedule.
As the meeting started, I took my seat towards the back of the room (so as not to be called on to ask a question or make a comment). I began taking notes, but got easily distracted by all that way going on around me. And a lot was going on!
It was 1:00 and apparently the elderly lady on the opposite side of the room hadn't eaten lunch yet. So she's sitting over there munching on a quesadilla and when she finishes makes quite a bit of noise closing the styrofoam box and stuffing it into the paper bag. Heads start to turn and eyes begin to glare. Then all of a sudden, I hear a banging - as if someone is playing an intense video game and is about to be destroyed by the archenemy. A few rows in front of me, there is a young man dressed in jeans and tennis shoes who seems to be playing the drums on his keyboard. But its not a regular keyboard. So I begin to wonder: is he blind and this is his way of taking notes? But that thought gets interupted when the lady next to me's cell phone starts ringing. It's a jazzy ringtone that makes me want to get up and dance, but I contain myself and try to turn my focus back to the speaker who is commenting on the problems with the healthcare system. "Well that's just the stupidest thing I've ever heard..." mumbles the lady sitting on the opposite side of me. She's sitting alone. I'm the closest person to her. Is she talking to me? These capricious comments continue throughout the meeting. I begin to tune her out - or did the heavyset man sitting behing me who was breathing hard tune her out? I lower my gaze, trying to clear my mind of all that is going on around me... only to realize that the lady next to me is wearing a full-on kilt! Plaid pattern, pleats, kilt pin, white stockings and all! Now that's just bizarre. All of the sudden I hear a "click click". Its coming from the far left side of the room. "click click". No wait, its coming from behind me. click click. A camera man is making his way around the room snapping pictures of something which probably isn't exciting enough to be picture-worthy. Then there is a squeek. The lady on the back row in the leather jacket just can't sit still. I focus my attention back on the speaker: one of the political leaders who isn't talking, but crying! The economic crisis has gotten him all choked up! The meeting ends on that note and I dodge the crowds in order to make a quick escape out the back door.
Apparently this is a series of Southwest Washington nonprofit discussions. Can't wait for the next one!