We’ve been waiting 30 minutes.
The council has removed themselves into an executive session and doesn’t seem to have any intention of returning any time soon, and we’re getting restless.
In the front row one reporter has pulled out her book. She pulled it out as soon as they left, and I’m wishing I’d actually grabbed the note cards I thought of on the way out the door. I’m looking around the room, at old pictures in dusty frames hung along the walls.
On the other side of the room a cluster of borough employees are chatting about which of their neighbors are in jail, and why; about how the part-time police officer nearly pulled over the council president for speeding; about 50 Shades of Gray (“I kept asking, you can do that??” one woman is saying).
But they’re running low on things to say.
It’s the police chief who starts it. “Let’s all text them!” he suggests, and they’ve all pulled out their phones.
“Well?” they type out, hit send once the secretary has caught up.
They text another council member, then a third, then a fourth.
Everyone’s laughing, except the reporter who’s lost in her book.
But they’ve run out of numbers so the police chief looks around the room.
“Should we hide the gavel?” he wonders aloud.
And minutes later he’s hidden it in the vice president’s purse.
When the council finally returns they shake their heads at the rowdy employees.
“Shouldn’t have left us alone!” they answer.
It takes an extra couple of minutes to adjourn without the gavel; the president knocks his knuckles on the table instead and instantly regrets it, shaking the sting out of his hand.
It’s just a little after 8 when we leave, stepping out into the dark and the pouring rain. It’s really not that bad for a meeting with a long executive session, though it’s so dark and the rain so heavy that my drive takes twice as long as it should.
The story takes 15 minutes to write.
I don’t write anything about the gavel, or the text messages; it’s not part of council business. But that’s what I remember from the meeting.
Apparently we turn into children when we’re bored.