..to bring out my “inner Martha.” You know the one I mean. The creative one.
Tomorrow is our town’s annual Town Meeting. A wonderful form of local government where decisions are made about things like town ordinances and next year’s budget. A moderator is elected to run the meeting and voters will nominate candidates for Selectmen, school committee, Town Clerk and Tax Collector. They vote to authorize Selectmen to enter into contracts for snow removal, trash removal, all kinds of maintenance, and engineering studies for future town projects. Do we need a new Town Office? Does the town dock at Islesford need to be extended? Do we need to look into building a drive-on dock in Manset, the property our town purchased on the “mainland” for extra summer parking? It is a LOT to go through and discuss. And, in March, after everyone has been somewhat cooped up, the discussions can become heated and long.
So why should I be nervous? Because for the last 5 years or so, I have been nominated to moderate this meeting and I have run totally unopposed. If anyone else wants to do it, they are not speaking up. Tonight I will sit down with the town warrant, the annual report, and the Maine Moderator’s Manual, (thank god there’s a guide for this!) and I will be prepared to say “yes” if I am elected tomorrow. If so, I will proceed to try to run the meeting smoothly, trying to call on everyone who raises their hand, trying to keep discussions on track of the motion on the floor, and keeping track of the priority of motions. ie. “A motion to amend takes priority over the motion to put an article on the floor.” So, if someone makes a motion to amend the article, you have to vote on whether you’re going to amend the article before you can vote on the article. Also, most articles can be discussed after they are on the floor, but a nomination or a motion to call the question allow for no discussion. If I can’t remember these things off the top of my head it’s okay. I just need to know where to find the answers in the manual to keep the meeting flowing.
Getting ready for this makes me nervous. And we have a house guest coming today. And we will have 10 people for dinner tonight. I’ll wait for everyone to go to bed and then cram for tomorrow’s “test.” In the meantime I’m cleaning the house, getting the table set for dinner, making bread, making salad, and making dessert. My body responds to the anxiety about tomorrow by going in several directions at once. It’s not enough to just set the table for dinner. I want to create a little springtime centerpiece. Next thing I know, I’m making my own grass out of green paper.
I realize that the urge to be unnecessarily creative when stressed is one of my coping mechanisms. I start to engage my right brain as much as possible, so that the left side of my brain can slow down and put things in order while I’m keeping my hands busy. I never thought about it that way until today when I literally asked myself, “What are you doing that for?!” It would explain why the other day, when I was totally troubled by coming up with an idea for my next Working Waterfront column, due Tuesday, I started cleaning my shower. (It needed it, but I had not scheduled any specific time to do it.) It took longer to clean than expected because as I was scrubbing, my mind was writing. I had to keep running downstairs to the computer to write down my ideas.
My sons used to tell me that they knew whenever I had a lot on my mind, because I would be in the kitchen baking several different things at once.
Yup. Doing that today, too.