By: Steve Trubilla
Well, here you go, the story of the chicken dance. A few weeks ago, I was at a Franklin County Board of Commissioners meeting and I committed the sin of not making sure my cell phone was off.
Anyone that has ever been somewhere when a cell phone rings during a meeting thinks how inconsiderate the violator was of others.
It would have only taken the person a few seconds to turn it off. Why didn't they just do it?
At the same time they are probably thinking it’s a little funny, and boy, I am glad it wasn't me. Then inconspicuously they check to make sure their own phone is muted or off.
You know it would not have been as bad, except as the meeting was getting started, Commissioner Sidney Dunston announced to everyone, “make sure your electronic devices are off.”
With his announcement, I reached inside my jacket and pressed the magic button to make sure it was off. I was not going to be the, “inconsiderate person.” Well, so much for that plan. I had inadvertently turned my phone back on!
Of course, when it rang all eyes, like lasers, tracked the sound to where I was sitting. I am sure everyone was relieved to know it was not their phone.
This is when, what I will characterize as an episode of the chicken dance, got started.
Mindful of the caution Dunston issued, and wanting to apologize, I made eye contact with him. It was not hard to do; his eyes were already locked on me. It was clear, and justifiably so, he was not happy.
Of course I was embarrassed for having disrupted the meeting. I gestured to him and mouthed, “Sorry, thought it was off.”
He pointedly gestured his displeasure back to me. I apologetically again gestured with my hands and shoulders, he gestured back.
There were additional exchanges; examples include the turning of heads and expressions.
Normally I really like the chicken dance. It is an event often played out at weddings. It is fun; not so much this time. Our exchange just reminded me of it.
“You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself about.”
Don’t get me wrong, I understand his reaction. You can bet it will be sometime before my phone goes off in a meeting again, or at least I hope it is anyway.
It is unfortunate citizens do not gain this level of attention from officials when they ask questions or inquire about county fiscal, maintenance, economic, and other issues.
Accepting being held accountable for not doing what you are supposed to do is a good thing. It is an important part of the process that builds strength in character.
This serves to help us avoid making the same or similar mistakes in the future.
When those in leadership demonstrate this trait they inspire confidence. Unfortunately the exact opposite is true when they do not.
Admonishment and criticism can be a bit unpleasant. One can only hope that such things are being offered constructively, rather than to simply find fault or to advance someone’s personal agenda.
In any case, we are not perfect and such things are part of life’s learning continuum. Sometimes you learn what to do, and other times you learn what not to do.
The important thing is that you learn something.
Could it be there is a lesson in this for all of us, to include our elected and other county officials?
Remember Miss Emily’s guidance. Now everyone, sit up and listen.
The parody on the chicken dance was offered lightheartedly. I should have made sure the phone was off. Commissioner Dunston was right to point it out.
This is where the story should end, but it doesn't.
Here is the lead in for next week’s column. Paraphrased, “What you say is only your opinion; you are not legitimate or validated.”
The monthly Franklin County Republican Party meeting will be held tonight, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. at GOP Headquarters, 101 W. Nash St., Louisburg. The guest speaker is going to be NC State Representative Jeff Collins. Everyone is invited. Come and register to vote