I’m Just a Girl Who Cain’t Say No

Sooner or later I knew my life would turn into a musical. Wasn’t exactly expecting it to be Oklahoma, but whatever. And, as usual, the cosmos has not given me the leading role of the lovely Laurie, but instead I am relegated to quirky side-kick status. But unlike Ado Annie, it’s not men I’m tripping over but volunteer work.

It came to my attention this weekend when I ran around the mall in what I like to call my Goober Suit (there is a reason they a BOY scout uniforms – the women leaders look like idiots in them). I had my arms full of pinewood derby cars and ran into a guy I know peripherally from work. “A woman of many talents,” he said.  No, I told him. Just can’t say no.

We were doing the local Scout-o-Rama, running the pinewood derby race, and it occurred to me as he walked away that, while I had volunteered to fill in where needed, at that moment my name was listed as doing two jobs and I had been promised that hour off to get lunch and show the kid around to the other booths. But there I was running cars back and forth from the registration table to the staging area. A warm body was needed, and I was it.

I do this a lot. Need a job done? Cate’ll do it. Need another committee member? Cate’ll do it. Need a chaperon for the dance? Cate’ll do it. I’m actually on the board of a couple of grants, but I forget all of them.  I am that much of a doormat.

The other day, though, another mother of a special needs child ran into me in the PIzza Hut parking lot. “You really want to be on the Partners in Policymaking board, don’t you?”

“I do?” I asked, trying desperately to think of a way to weasel out of it.

She spent the next few minutes spelling out what they do, how parent advocates work, etc. Sounded like interesting information, but stuff I already know through my job. My job! I had an excuse!

“You know,” I said, breaking it to her gently, “I know my boss wouldn’t object, but I think it might bring up conflict of interest issues.”

Yes, she could see that. I had successfully talked my way off being on another board. Yay! Take that, Ado Annie!

And I have a better singing voice, too.


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