Written by Heather Foley – orignally published in 2011
Southie has been abuzz with community meetings lately. With American Provisions looking to sell beer and wine, The Playwright looking to stay open until 2am, and Boston Public School assignments, it seems like the major Southie buttons are being hella pushed. If you’ve been to a community meeting, you know they can get pretty intense, and if you’ve never been to a meeting, you’ve probably heard that they can get a little aggressive and you may even be terrified at the thought of sitting through one. Well, fear not good citizens of South Boston, I’m here to prep you for the next meeting.
If you’re anything like me your first thought about attending a community meeting (or anything really) is “what am I going to wear?” You’re probably thinking you want to dress up a bit – business formal or at least business casual so people take you seriously, and that’s really adorable. Trust me, don’t lose any sleep over what you’re going to wear. As long as your outfit allows you to jump up and yell in an irrational rage you’re good to go, for reals. Believe me when I say you would have to put a crap ton of effort into looking standing out for being the worst dressed at one of these things. Last one I went to, I came from the gym in my hot pink yoga pants and I was not on the worst dressed short list, by a long shot.
Before you even go to the meeting, you should make up your mind on the issue. I’m sorry, did you think these meetings are a forum for people to calmly gather and rationally exchange ideas like adults? God, you’re so cute! Totally wrong, but it’s cute. You make up your mind before you step in the door and you better be ready to loudly proclaim your position. And I don’t care if someone on the opposing side says something that you agree with and makes total sense, challenge them! How you challenge them is really up to you; you can loudly sigh and rolls your eyes, immediately start talking over them, condescendingly laugh, do whatever comes natural, get creative and have some fun.
So you’ve given it some thought (but not too much thought, Einstein) to your position for the meeting – why stop now? What the heck am I talking about? Basically what I’m saying is that just because the meeting is about Tasty Burger, doesn’t mean you can’t voice your concerns about anything else that’s on your mind. Sure the Tasty Burger dude won’t be able to help, but this isn’t really about him, it’s about you. So ask about parking on West 5th Street and the rising cost of the T, or loudly complain about how you miss Argus’ Irish Bread. Whatever you’re thinking, you just have to go for it. This community meeting is your time to shine, damn it, and don’t you dare let anyone steal your thunder! Goddamn thunder stealers, ruining my life.
So you’re dressed ready to jump in a rage, you’ve made up your mind about the issues, and you have your list of grievances (like Festivus but without the feats of strength). You are so ready to steal the show at the next meeting! But let me offer just a tad more advice, to my fellow OFS peeps, stop turning everything into “Us vs. Them.” If you feel something is bad for our community, you need a better argument than that. You need to explain why it concerns you – use your words. And to my new transplant peoples, maybe if you showed up to a community meeting for a topic other than booze, you would get less eye rolls when you spoke? Think about it. Anyhoo, you are all now ready to tackle whatever meeting we have next. See you at the Tynan.