Continuing the thread about what I’ve been up to this week …
Wednesday was my monthly WI Day: I have a meeting in the morning and another in the evening.
I had to write a report from my day in Chester two months ago for the morning meeting; since it was such a horrible waste of a day, I’d had trouble writing it up. Finally, Tuesday night I really just had to get it done, so that I did. Chris helped by cleaning up the recordings I’d made as much as he could and putting them on a CD, in case anyone wanted to listen to them reading to us. Tuesday night became the wee hours of Wednesday morning … I got a scant few hours of sleep before getting up extra early Wednesday morning – it was my turn on the tea rota, so I needed to be there about half an hour early.
However, I really enjoy these members’ meetings I go to, and I generally perk up once I’m there on these early mornings. This time was no exception.
May is the resolution meeting. We generally don’t have a speaker, and instead spend the time debating the resolution, catching up on any business we’ve ran out of time for in the past month or two, doing some activity or other, and socializing with each other. It’s usually a relaxed, excellent meeting.
My morning group, however, decided to have a speaker this time, which made for a very rushed meeting that went over time. I do hope we don’t repeat this experience in future years – live and learn! We still had the cake “competition” (it’s not a competition at all, with the winner not decided by proper votes, but instead by the largest value of random change people donate in the cups beside the cakes – the donations go to ACWW). The speaker, for his part, is a very good one – I just wish his subject was less depressing. He spoke to us about the First Day of the Somme, the deadliest day for UK forces in World War 1. I’ll never understand the fascination with depressing oneself with war stories; once I knew there’d be a speaker about war, I’d have skipped this meeting if only I hadn’t signed up for tea this month. Gah.
We had a very short discussion about the resolution, and a much longer discussion about the centenary baton relay, which will be passing through Buxton, a town not far from here, next month. I didn’t have a chance to give my report, but I handed it off; it is at least done and dusted now.
Afterwards, I got to go check out the wreckage I’d heard about. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it til I wandered down high street later on and gossiped with various shopkeepers who knew the skinny: a large tow truck had been towing a bus when his brakes went, coming down the hill. Rather than plowing into the line of stopped cars (waiting at the red light), he swerved and hit the shops. Astonishingly, no one was hurt. One person – either the driver or passenger in the truck whose brakes went, reports differ – was taken to the hospital for minor hand injuries.
The wreck happened at 6pm the night before – so most of these businesses were shut, but that’s prime time for that Chinese takeaway (take-out) that the bus is buried in, and the taxi place next to it of course always has people in it. I’m utterly amazed that no one was hurt.
I went to lunch – it’s a tradition Phyllis started in that WI, for any who want to, to go out to lunch together after the meeting, since it ends around 12:00. We were at the Norfolk Arms this time, which I always like, and was across from this wreckage. After lunch I went nosying again, and saw they’d moved the tow truck, leaving just the bus. Later on, passing by that night, they’d finally opened the road back up, and boarded up the various businesses mostly, but we could see part of the bus still buried in the Chinese takeaway.
I only wish his brakes had failed coming down Chunal – he could get the demolition started sooner rather than later on the empty factories at the bottom, which are currently covered in mold and quite a public health hazard. I mean, y’know, if they had to fail.
Anyway, I ran some errands and then came home for a bit. We got dinner, and then I was off again, to my evening meeting.
We didn’t have a speaker at this meeting, and instead did the business first and then discussed the resolution. Surprisingly to me, there was actual discussion here. My blood began to boil, though, when they were saying they felt it was so poorly worded, yadda yadda … That’s a fair criticism of every other proposed resolution from NFWI I’ve seen. This one, however, is exceedingly clear and simple to me, and a thing that really has to happen. Here’s the resolution:
The NFWI notes that 3 people die every day whilst waiting for an organ transplant. We call on every member of the WI to make their wishes regarding organ donation known, and to encourage their families and friends, and members of their local communities to do likewise.
They’re used to resolutions that lead to campaigns primarily carried out at the national level, whereas this one is going to have to be a grassroots thing. There’s no call to action to BE an organ donor, which also received some criticism. There’s no stance either way on whether to be an organ donor or not, so the NFWI can’t join the national conversation currently happening about opt-in versus opt-out systems.
But to me, the point is that everything is there already to make organ donation happen – except organ donors! The thing is, in the UK, your family decides whether to donate your organs or not. You can sign up to the organ donor register, but it doesn’t matter: what your family says goes. So obviously, your family needs to know what you wanted. But no one wants to talk about any of this because it’s about DEATH – and worse, one’s own death – so no one talks about it, and when the medics ask, the grieving family doesn’t know what to say, so they generally say no.
PEOPLE DIE SIMPLY BECAUSE PEOPLE AREN’T TALKING ABOUT IT.
So yes, this resolution – essentially, “TALK ABOUT IT” – is clear, simple, and exactly what’s needed on this particular issue. When I heard the derisions of this particular resolution, my blood boiled, and I finally got my word in edgewise and gave quite a passionate speech more or less telling them the above. I saw nods and heard murmurs of agreement – someone just had to lead the way. This reminds me of this quote I just read earlier:
I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy isn’t a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading. — Amy Poehler
A bit more discussion followed, and then the vote by secret ballot. We had our break then, so I went upstairs to get a drink to steady my nerves – public speaking always makes me a bit anxious, even in a smallish group. I saw this glorious sky, which I paused to appreciate.
The barkeep gave me a bit of a pep talk, pointing out that it was better to speak up than to let it fester. He’s right. I went back down to the meeting room, and the vote results were announced – 16 for, 3 abstentions, and 1 against. Suppose I made my point!
After that, we had the much more enjoyable auction – an annual tradition. We bring things we no longer want – some are new, some used, but all are perfectly usable. Some have hilarious stories behind them; some lead to hilarious exchanges happening during the auction. It’s a really fun time, and I highly recommend it!