(SCENE: I am browsing for a vintage tree topper for my Christmas tree, trapped in the bowels of a crowded basement when the talkative store owner approaches. Immediately, I plan my exit strategy.)
DONNA: Oh hi Christine. Is business picking up for you? (Yes, she's always this direct.)
ME: Yeah, some. Thanks for asking.
DONNA: We have a free spot on the Chamber of Commerce board. Would you be interested in being a member next year?
ME: Well. . . maybe. I don't know. What does a board member do?
DONNA: We meet on Wednesday evenings and talk about city business and the like. We're in charge of the square calendar, so we try to plan things to boost business. . . . (More vagueries ensue.)
ME: Uh, I'd need to know more about the specifics. Can Cecilia call me or email me more about it?
DONNA: Yes, yes, I'll tell her to be in touch.
ME: Okay, thanks.
END SCENE: And I leave the store empty-handed, probably backing out as I typically do following these ambushes. Though I do venture back a week later with my mom and find a tree topper, for those who worried over that detail.
But by the following afternoon, I have completely forgotten this conversation. When the mail arrives the following week, I am astounded to see my name at the top of an official ballot as a nominee for the Chamber of Commerce board. There are, apparently, three spots open and (the ironic twist) three nominees.
I was only mildly surprised at the phone call from Cecilia today, welcoming me as an official board member. But when she asked which town event I'd like to organize, I froze. Um, I'm going to have to call you back, I said. I haven't.