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What Respectable People Do

I’m just back from the last meeting of the Parents’ Committee for this year. The end of year meeting is not only good because it’s over until September, but also because   school principal treats us to finger food and wine in the school’s ‘parlour’. It would be a lie to say I don’t enjoy being one of the parent committee ladies. I feel that I have what it takes to be a committee kind of woman. I may not wear fancy heels and golden strappy sandals, but I love organising garden fetes and that sort of thing. So I can’t work out why there seems to be an unspoken assumption that I’m ‘different’ to the rest of the nice men and women on the committee. There’s no evidence whatsoever.
The school principal attends every meeting. She’s great, but she’s a school principal so I just can’t help feeling nervous in her presence. I can’t help worrying that my  mobile phone is about to be confiscated or that I’m in trouble for not sitting up straight or forgetting something or not having the minutes from the last meeting on hand. It’s about thirty years since I was at school, but sitting in a classroom still evokes the fear of lines, detention or my mother being phoned.
I don’t get into trouble though. There is a lot of back patting at this meeting. Apparently we’ve all done a great job fundraising this year. The bag packing was a huge success and the car boot sale was riveting. I mention that I’m glad I didn’t win the hideous lamp we raffled, and realise I should not have said that, especially as the person who donated it, along with the person who won it, were both present.  I’m good at that though; saying things I later regret.  The meeting ends and we retire to our cocktail sausages and cheese on a cocktail stick. I mention that there’s a lot of cock on offer tonight, but nobody seems to get the joke and I enjoy a slice of smoked salmon in the uncomfortable silence of my little joke.
Luckily there’s wine. I’m so determined to be one of this clique that I try to adopt to the behaviour of the committee and nurse one little glass of wine all evening, but it just doesn’t work. I drink about three or four glasses and grab one last top-up as the evening winds up with everything being tidied away except for the remainder of a bottle of wine. Despite my many glasses of wine and me raising my voice making stupid comments about how I think a certain female politician should get her roots done, I do still feel totally part of the committee.
A member of staff insists that I take the rest of the bottle home with me, and I say ‘ah no, I’ve had enough’, while stuffing it quickly into my shoulder bag.
I suggest we should have a sing-song to bring our Trojan year of fundraising to an end, but sadly, I am ushered into the car of one of the nice committee members who doesn’t drink, so I take a swig out of the wine bottle as I leave the building.
At home I polish off the rest of the wine and have the sing-song on my own. I suppose the one thing I love about being a lady on a committee is that it really reinforces being a pillar of society. It’s great being respectable.


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