Meeting Etiquette for Dummies

I wasn’t going to write anything tonight, I had a long day and nothing exciting was coming to mind. That is until I attended the annual orientation for my daughter’s summer camp. I can’t even remember exactly how many times I’ve been to this meeting, my daughter spends every summer at this day camp since she was 4 or 5. Out of all the money I’ve spent over the years on various forms of childcare I think this camp is worth every penny. Every year I attend this orientation which is almost word for word the same as in years before it, many of the same parents are still there for another year, it’s nice to catch up, see who is old, who is new, greet camp instructors who’d known my daughter since before she was in kindergarten.

Every year the orientation announcement includes the following line (this is the actual letter):

Every year, like a clockwork, one or more idiots will bring a screaming child to the meeting. Like any parent I understand that it’s not always possible to arrange for childcare. Here is my solution – STAY HOME! Attendance is not vitally important. Do not bring your child to annoy everyone else in the room, we all know that your attempts to silence your kid will be futile. No one will actually tell you that they hate you, hate your screaming kid, your family, your pets and the car you drove, because we all have “normal social graces“, but you can be sure that that’s how people feel about your inability to follow simple directions. I wish I could take pictures of some disgusted facial expressions.

Another PSA specifically for women: I may not be a bat but I can still hear you when you whisper. Men don’t whisper because they know that if anything, whispering makes you harder to understand so you have to do it louder; you might as well just say it and shut up. For some reason someone forgot to inform the women so they continue to distract people around them who are trying to listen to the speaker and not to what happened last night at the ice cream social.

I realize that at the meeting at the Jewish Community Center everyone is either a doctor or a lawyer on call, so how come these people can’t afford a phone that vibrates? I heard more ringing than at the Cricket Wireless store on the tax refund day. WTF? Even more annoying is when after a long and annoying ring tone and the call recipient hastily trying to locate the phone in her purse/bag/backpack, they proceed to answer the phone (whispering of course) to tell the caller that they are busy. The same could have been accomplished by turning the phone off.

Oh, and I almost forgot the anal retentive parents who ask obvious and stupid questions like “what do I feed my kid for lunch?”. Try beer and pretzel, that always goes well on a hot day.

I think this was my last camp meeting anyway – next year my daughter moves on to another age group. I’ll be pissed about something else next year, there is no shortage of annoying stupid people around.