Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Consultation with smiley face clap clap

I think I mentioned that I was "voted" onto the committee of the Neighbourhood Association last November. Nothing serious, no work involved, just an ordinary member. Turn up from time to time.

A little while ago a news item on the town hall website explained that local politicians wanted to talk to the pedanias, the outlying villages. A bit of PR mixed with a, presumably, real wish to serve the local community. A few days or weeks later the WhatsApp group for our local committee burst into life. A councillor wanted to speak to us, as the closest thing to representatives for Culebrón, given that our "mayoress" resigned recently. It was Wednesday and the meeting had to be that weekend.

The WhatsApp messages flew thick and fast. There were little spats. One of the committee members is a friend and colleague of the councillor and that made her position a little awkward at times. She was acting as the intermediary between all the messages and the town hall. Misunderstandings, apologies, jokes. A couple of people made their views pretty clear. I didn't say much. WhatsApp tends not to be the most gramatically correct medium. There are often strange abbreviations and phonetic jokes as well as puns. It's also semi permanent and quite definite so when I did join in the glaring linguistic mistakes in my Spanish were there in black on green for all the world to see. I always wonder why the errors only become obvious after pressing the send button. I did make it clear though that, in my opinion, it wasn't really on for a councillor to dictate meeting dates to us. Nobody took much notice. A meeting date was planned at a time when I couldn't go, because of work, which was a great relief. Spanish meetings often have a certain boisterous quality.

Tonight I sent a message around the group asking if we should suggest things for the agenda as the meeting is next Tuesday. As an aside I wrote that, for futures meetings, I hoped that the councillors would remember to give more notice, offer a range of days and times, give us a reasonable period to respond and contact the group members directly.

There were plenty of responses this time. Some people agreed and some didn't but it made me think back a bit. Once upon a time I was a professional meeting attender. Under circumstances I have been known to be a little obstreperous. At times I waxed lyrical, at times I was forceful. Often nobody agreed with me and, much more often, I was simply tolerated and then ignored. I suspect that if I ever do get to one of these Pinoso councillor and Culebrón meetings I will be at the very outer edge of the gathering hanging on to the gist of the conversation by the thinnest of threads.

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