I think I've provided some background on the PTO and how I was duped into the whole PTO thing etc etc. I've tried to put that in the past and really focus in making the best of the situation.
Right now my main challenge is in dealing with the other board members. They're extremely nice people, and I think I'm finding that part of the problem. They're super psyched about their kids, they're super psyched about the school, and they're super psyched about the PTO. Everything is totally fucking awesomely wonderful. Most of the members are stay at home Moms who've directed all of their energies into the school. The few guys who sit on the board are middle management business men and/or salesmen who look at the board as a networking tool and a chance to practice the strategies found in the self-help/business guide that they're currently reading. So I get a lot of business cards, overly firm handshakes, and guys paying earnest attention to my inane answers to their equally earnest questions.
The fact that their positive attitude bothers me makes me feel like a dick. How can I be critical of someone for being into the shit that they're supposed to be into ? These are the pillars of the community and I should be looking to them with admiration and gratitude for their efforts, but instead I find myself contemplating what they'd all look like wearing a ball gag in some rednecks basement or devising a plan to slip peyote into their double decaf lattes.
I think it stems from a combination of two factors. The first is that I don't have any interest in competing with the people for airtime, or with their enthusiasm, or their pride....they win. And the other factor is that they make me feel like I'm a douche for not being into the whole thing like they are...I recognize that's my issue and not their fault, but it does foster at least a little resentment and a ton of uncomfortable feelings.
So anyway, in light of all of that I just try to go to the meetings, keeps a positive attitude, be polite, and then get the fuck out of there.
Last night was the first "Back to School Night" of the year at the intermediate center, grades 3-6. For me this has always been "PTO has you hostage night" because you come to the school under the auspices that you're going to go meet your kids teacher, but while they have you the PTO uses the event to proselytize to the masses and pass around the hat. The difference this time is that instead of being the guy in the audience who has to hear 8 different people get up in the front of the room and go on about the ages/grade/teacher of each of their kids and how super totally wicked awesome the school and the PTO is....I'm now going to be one of those guys in the front of the room doing the rambling.
So I got home from work last evening and had an hour to spare. Anxious about the impending meeting I decided that the best course of action was to go for a run and get rid of some of the stress. I ran for about 30 minutes, came home, and showered. After I dried off and started getting dressed I realized that I wasn't totally dry. I took off my shirt, towelled off again, put the shirt back on and was wet. For one reason or another, the shower didn't take and I found myself 20 minutes from the start of the meeting and sweating like a pig.
I was starting to panic a bit, but I realized that my only hope was to relax and settle my system down. I started doing some deep breathing and trying to relax as I headed out the door with a shirt, tie, and towel in hand. I jumped into the car and drove over to the school with the air conditioning on full blast. When I got to the school, I turned all the air vents on me and toweled myself off and to my great relief it all seemed to be working. With the air still blasting I put on the shirt and tie, composed myself and started to walk into the school.
Two strides into the building I realized that the air conditioned deep freeze that I put myself through was only a temporary fix and as I started to walk into the auditorium I started to sweat at a rather unusual and I have to admit, repugnant rate. By the time that I sat down in my chair for the start of the meeting I look like I just swam a mile.
As if my life wasn't becoming complicated enough, just as the meeting is called to order the President leaned over and asked if I wouldn't mind making a couple of comments regarding the PTO ( which I know virtually nothing about) and then introduce the PTO Treasure ( who I regularly avoid because I'm not sure if his name is Chris, Steve or Scott). Two minutes later I was handed a microphone.
I turned around to face the crowd and without any fanfare went right into a very abbreviated explanation that I was new the organization, but would welcome any suggestions, and I wished them the best for the year. About a third of the way into those statements I could feel the first beads of sweat running down my cheeks, and by the time I wrapped up my bit, I could have used a snorkel. I'm sure I was quite the site.
At the end of my speech I looked over at the Treasurer and considered what his name might be. No luck. I mean, I'm a guy with pretty good memory. I can rattle of figures and statistics with unusual accuracy. I can recite people's phone numbers from years ago. I can remember with precision poker hands from two years ago like I was sitting there. But tell me someones name and it's likely that I wont remember it by the time that we've stopped shaking hands. I narrowed it down the Chris or Steve but that's about as far as I could go. I just simply handed him the microphone and sat down.
The treasurer stood up, walked to the podium and much to my chagrin said, " Hi, my name is Steve and I'd like to thank Flick for that heartfelt introduction".
I hate the PTO.