NOTE: If you are interested, I was a guest blogger over at Running On Sober, feel free to check it out!
I am hoping this is the last in the story arc that has become my Monday morning meetings. Yes, I am posting this late, and I’m sure a post will eventually follow about transitioning from “School Schedule” to “Summer Schedule,” but suffice it to say that writing has been challenging while adjusting.
Okay, back to the story. If you are just starting out now, check out here and here. We had a break in this story because she did not show up for week 3 of her June “commitment” (commitment is in quotes because I’m still not sure with whom she committed). Okay, so this past Monday is the last in June, I show up, and I am still just praying that her enthusiasm to chair this meeting had waned.
No such luck.
Meanwhile, because it’s the fourth Monday, this is the week that I do some research, and bring some older, more historical pieces of AA literature to the meeting. In other words, this reading would be something with which few would be familiar. Which would make it difficult for someone to just step in and chair the meeting. I’m just saying.
She blows through the door (why is it that chaotic-type people enter rooms so dramatically?), and asks if I received the note she left. I look around the desk… surprise! No note. She says, “Well, I’m sure someone got it.”
Philosophical sidebar: If you leave a note and no one reads it, does the note have meaning? Corollary: If you leave a note and someone reads it, but has no idea what you’re talking about, does the note have meaning?
My answer to both of those questions: NO.
She explains that she was not present to chair last week because she is sick, her cat is sick, and her boyfriend is sick. I say, “No problem.”
I promise you, I am not making this up, nor am I exaggerating this exchange in any way.
She starts complaining about her illness (something to do with the throat). Within 3 sentences, she is hysterically crying, because, and I quote, “None of this would have happened if they hadn’t burned up my medical records! And they wonder why I’m such a bitch!!! And I had to pay $400 to get my cat fixed!”
So now I have several competing issues to deal with:
1. My facial expression, because, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have the opposite of a poker face; therefore, I have to school my expression so as not to show my confusion, and frankly, alarm that I am alone with this yelling, crying woman.
2. How best to comfort this woman who is in such distress
3. General curiosity: What happened that should have never happened? How, when and why were the medical records burned? Why would a vomiting cat cost $400 to cure?
4. How best to keep this woman from chairing this meeting
I figure the best way to defuse the emotion is to ask detail questions (which has the side benefit of satisfying number 3 on my list). This has a mixed effect, some of the questions do seem to bring some calm, others promote even more dramatic (picture face in hands, chest-heaving sobbing) emotion. The story fails to get any clearer, for me anyway, but one thing I have established: all of the serious health ailments she proceeds to talk about (involving surgery, feeding tubes, and the like) took place a decade ago. Not sure how and why they’re playing into today’s conversation, but I’m just rolling with it at this point.
The conversation then proceeds to complaints about her sponsor. Okay, this is ground on which I have surer footing, and I can speak a little more confidently during this part of the discussion. She definitely calms down at this point, and says to me, “Would you mind chairing this meeting?”
Thank. You. God.
A few minutes later, other attendees start coming in, and the one-on-one conversation is over. The meeting begins (8 people total), we read, and the first person raises her hand to share. The woman has barely started speaking, and my “Committed Chairperson” noisily gets up and leaves. She is making lots of noise outside the room, someone goes to check on her, and she winds up leaving. I am told that she was too upset by what the person sharing was saying, and she could not stay for the meeting (I know you will believe me when I tell you the woman sharing had nothing inflammatory to say). The remainder of the meeting was very calm, everyone enjoyed the reading, and everyone had something to share related to it.
So, will she be back as an attendee in July? Will the cat need follow-up medical care? Will I ever find the note left for me? Stay tuned!