To meet, perchance to doodle

In my 11 years as a newspaper reporter, I have covered lots of meetings.

There’s been county commission meetings, city council meetings, school board meetings, neighborhood association meetings, chamber of commerce meetings, utility board meetings, PTA meetings, etc. etc.

You name a meeting, I’m pretty sure I’ve covered it at least once.

And I’ve learned a thing or two.

People think governmental or other types of meetings are run on a strict, Robert’s Rules of Order basis. You’re wrong.

Sure, most meetings start out as organized and structured. About halfway through, that organization starts slipping and people just start commenting randomly.

By the end of the meeting, it’s complete bedlam.

Everyone is talking.

A few start cussing.

At least one person is crying.

Someone is playing paper football.

Another is asleep.

And me? I’m doodling.

I guess it was about six years ago that I started doodling my way through meetings.

I usually start out with something semi-artistic, such as my lovely mushroom or butterfly.

I always tell myself I will not doodle all over the page. I will keep my drawings neat and small.

Who knows?

Maybe there is some artistic talent hidden deep down inside that I can tap into at least long enough to keep me occupied during the brush truck discussion.

Pretty soon, however, I ended up just doodling non-sensical things, such as patterns or symbols.

This is usually level two of the meeting, when discussion is still pretty much on track but is quickly digressing.

This type of doodling doesn’t take much brain power, so I can still listen to the discussion while creating my artwork.

The final step is the &uot;oh my gosh if this meeting doesn’t end soon&uot; artwork.

It usually appears in the last five minutes or so of a two hour meeting, when Robert’s Rules of Order has been replaced by the Universal Meeting Law of Bedlam.

Everyone is talking.

A few start cussing.

At least one person is crying.

Someone is playing paper football.

Another is asleep.

And I am doodling.

Leada DeVaney is the publisher and editor of Hartselle Newspapers, Inc. which publishes the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at leada.devaney@hartselleenquirer.co