Monday, March 03, 2008

Hell is Other People

If you were to take a random sampling of people, and choose one to go out on the town with; you know, someone who likes to go to shindigs and socialize with whoever might be near (to discuss that fantastic documentary on Tibetan throat singing or the ineffable joy of driving a hybrid), I am certainly near the bottom. Well, not near. At. At the very very bottom of that list.

As a general rule, I'm of the opinion that hermits are on to something, and if it weren't for Mrs. Owl, the Owlet, and the sundry things that being in a family pushes me to do, I'd while away the day reading the new and exciting things happening on the internet, or playing video games. Possibly reading (if only the installation instruction for a new game).

As a corollary, I'm also the last person you'd ever invite or expect at any committee meetings whatsoever. I find most meetings to be hemming and hawing and unclear communication layered on top of misread nonverbal cues sprinkled with an unsightly flecking of political manuevering. Distasteful.

Given all these facts, I am, therefore the LEAST likely to ever be found at a Strata Annual General Meeting. For those of you who have no idea what a strata is, it's the group of people who own a multi-resident dwelling (condos/townhouses) who are forced to meet and discuss things because someone has to explain why $3,000 of the collected monthly maintenance fees is going towards 'Bougainia Dyeing'. If you don't know what "Annual General Meeting" is, or cannot infer it from the name, then where do you live and can I move in with you?

So there I am, suffering the everlasting pain that is the AGM. I was thinking, "oh, an hour of people chattering about budgets and building envelope construction, it won't be that bad." Apparently the average AGM runs abotu 3 hours. And I felt every one of those hours pass as an unfortunate gentleman might pass kidney stones : with plenty of grunting, a few supplications to god's I have heretofore denounced, and a general judgment that there can be no god who would allow such suffering to happen in the world.

I mean, in general, most people are reasonable, aren't they? They are not going to lunge out of the darkness and stab you int he back with a rusty screwdriver without provocation or a serious imbalance in brain chemistry. Pedestrians walk along the road on sidewalks because they have trust that the oncoming semi isn't going to swerve just for fun and knock them under all 18 of its wheels.

But in large group meetings, there is a small minority. I'm not sure if they are intentionally being, well, dull, or what. But there is a minority that have hackles which get raised at the merest suggestion of impropriety. Where every ounce of indignation is mixed with a complete incompetence to understand what's going on, all bound together by an apparent need to head this or that crusade.

It's as if, at any moment, Watergate is about to pass under their noses.

These are the people that make an otherwise slightly tedious meeting a living hell. An event that 'builds character', or alternatively, 'makes one lose faith in mankind'.

I highly recommend avoiding these, if are ever pressed to attend.


The Nighthawk said...

Oh, my poor owley. If I'd have known you were unaware of the purgatory that is the AGM (and it is purgatory, becase once you set foot there, you can't leave until the meeting is over, don't'cha'kno) I could have warned you to stay away.

No, think about what the poor person chairing the meeting went through, trying to keep the damn thing on the rails for the large majority of attendees, and picture me there as a Strata Pesident for two terms.

Good Gawd... :(

Niteowl said...

You know, I was thinking of you, El Presidente Hawkey, when I went to it. I mean, if NH volunteers to go to these things, and in a capacity in which on cannot easily take a nap,they can't be THAT bad.

Well, let's just say I now call your character into SERIOUS question.

Monkfish said...

But did they explain why the annual postage budget increased by 7%. I mean, what are they doing with those stamps?

It takes a certain kind of person to be on a strata council. I can excuse someone going it once, I mean maybe they have no idea or could not imagine what might be involved. But to do it more than once.....there is no excusing that.

Monkfish said...

I've realised my first comment was way too short. I now have more time on my hands and less blogs to comment on. I can now focus my full attention on this blog. I'm fairly sure you won't suddenly "not have time" to write here anymore.

I think I might just move to your complex. I'll see you at next years AGM, where I plan to nominate you for council.

Niteowl said...

Oh sweet, I have Monky all to myself. I think those on strata council have a fiery will of idealism that has not been extinguished by the doldrum of real life. I salute them, as one might salute blood donors at a marginally sterile blood bank.

I'll look forward to seeing you and yours in my complex. Luckily, your British accent all but assures your ascension to Strata Council President for the next 23 years or so. Congratulations!