Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday and Loonies

Fridays seem to have a feel all their own. It makes no difference what the season of the year, Fridays have a certain sense of dreariness all their own.

I always suspect that it is because Friday is the day we get the agenda set for the next weeks city council meeting. That is so that it can go out to the council via the police force Friday night / Saturday. That way everyone has a chance to read any and all background information in the packet, consider the item coming up for consideration, and hopefully act as a more informed representative. Some weeks the agenda is easy to put together, other weeks it can be challenging, and still other weeks it is battle to pare it down to what is timely.

Friday is also the day that is usually used for meetings concerning miscellaneous topics. For example today I had meetings concerning economic development, land development, water issues, and state government relations. Sometimes interesting, sometimes a waste of time. And of course, no Friday would be complete without what I call the Friday loonies.

The Friday loonies are the people that have put off calling, on any and every topic, until Friday afternoon. They suddenly go loony and realize they need to call *NOW* to get that 4 hour job done today. And of course they want whatever it is to be fixed/changed/removed/replaced in the next hour. They always wait until an hour before the normal city labor force goes home and then call to request the solution be implemented immediately. I'm growing old and cynical now in my 5th year as mayor. I now ask when they first noticed the problem. An amazing number of callers spotted the problem a week ago, but now need it fixed in the next hour. Amazing.

Oh well. There is always the entertainment value. One of my favorite loonies was Mr. X.

I remember when I first became mayor. I had one true loony that called on the last Monday of the month, regular as clockwork, to ask when I was going to stop the flying saucers from buzzing his house, He wasn't talking about a child's toy either. He believed in full fledged UFOs buzzing his house. After several months of this odd pattern I finally talked to the local mental health clinic to see if the symptoms rang a bell with them.

The first words out of the director's mouth were "Oh, that must be Mr X!  His health benefit always runs out the last week of the month and so he goes off his drugs for the week."  He then went on to assure me that Mr. X was not violent, just suffered from this particular form of Xenophobia when off his medicine.

Relieved that it wasn't a violent loony, I came to expect and even enjoy the calls. After about a year, he finally called one night (he always called at about 11pm) and caught me in the wrong mood. So when he started in, I asked him if he had tried the aluminum foil hat since I had heard that aliens were afraid of people with aluminum foil hats. Stunned silence from him. Then a quick goodbye as he rushed off to try it. I spent weeks waiting before each council meeting to see if a man in an aluminum foil hat would be sitting in the audience.

Mr. X continued to call for another 6 months and then suddenly stopped. That concerned me - was he hurt or injured and needing help or ... I talked to mental health people to see if there was some way for them to check up on him (I never did know him by any name other then Mr. X). The director got this funny look on his face and then said he thought he could explain the absence of calls. Turned out that Mr. X had finally become eligible for a new program that covered his drugs all month long and so didn't run out in the last week of the month. Pretty good evidence for the efficacy of the treatment, at least to my mind.

Well, off to the excitement of bed. (No more loonies to keep me amused.) (Larry, see what fun you have in store when you become mayor?)


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