Last week I went to a public meeting held at LittleBear's school about the plans to expand the provision of primary schooling here where we live. I've mentioned the process once or twice before, but it's rather slipped under the radar lately. But I went to the meeting, which was filled with a variety of suits from the council who wanted to assure the local population that everything would be fine.
The headmaster and LittleBear's teacher were also present, but only to guard the door and ensure nobody who shouldn't be in the school got into the school, and make sure everyone left again afterwards. The consultation itself was the council's bailiwick.
It would be fair to say that the meeting was not an oasis of calm and joy. There were strong opinions, stridently expressed (and not, for the most part, by me). One person, appallingly, resorted to shouting at LittleBear's lovely teacher, despite her only involvement being to open and close the front door.
As is the way with such events, there was a form to fill in to express one's opinions at the end. I left still clutching mine, requiring a bit more time and quiet to marshal my thoughts on subjects such as cycle access, drainage and road-crossings adequately. The Headmaster observed me leaving with said form and told me that if I wanted to email my comments in, the email address given wouldn't be accepting comments until the following morning. "So you can go home and write your angry letter and wait till morning to send it."
I wasn't quite sure how to take that parting shot.
Was it a general, impersonal "you"?
Had the overall tenor of the meeting caused him to believe that all submissions would be angry?
Was he making the same quip to everyone who left?
Or, as only the most paranoid part of me thought, was this a direct assessment of the likelihood that I personally would be writing an angry letter?
Fast-forward to today...
I have just finished my letter to the council with my responses to their plans. It is seven pages, complete with graphs, diagrams, maps and photographs. And quotes from George Bernard Shaw, JK Galbraith, and the film Shakespeare in Love. It's probably wasted on the council.
It may, or may not, be angry.
It turns out I wasn't paranoid, and that LittleBear's Headmaster has me pegged.