I have led a few community groups in the past. I'm not volunteering now for this AOL debacle, however. Just trying to gather my thoughts on paper, or whatever this is.
I got a dog leash law in one town. You may not like me for that. But the elderly lady around the corner couldn't walk to my house because she was accosted by dogs. My former husband was attacked at night when he ran. And my kids couldn't play outside because my neighbor's overly friendly dog scared them. This isn't Colorado, Utah, Montana or Wyoming where dogs are people and can vote.
At the well attended hearing, my neighbor, who was opposed to the leash law stood up to say that his dog wouldn't hurt anyone, that he was very friendly and he stayed on the property, He finished with the classic dog owners' mantra: "Nobody has a problem with my dog." His dog was the one that was terrifying my children.
When he sat down, I stood up and said, "I have a problem with your dog." The ordinance passed unanimously.
I got a stop sign erected where no stop sign had ever been before, along a one mile stretch of narrow, winding road that people used as a shortcut. Unfortunate for those of us who lived on the road. Often the imprint of somebody's front grill was left on a tree, one in particular, especially on the weekends. The stop sign would at least slow them down, if only temporarily.
A group of women wanted to sign petitions and march on city hall. A large number met a my house and I said that ain't happening. So I had a questionnaire distributed along the entire road. That way everybody affected could have input. We got a fifty per cent response. A few days before the village board meeting I presented the returned questionnaires to them for their perusal. And I showed up at the meeting alone. Before it began, I was called up ahead of time and told we could have a stop sign and I didn't need to stay.
Three years ago I said I would head up my neighborhood effort to make the village take responsibility for allowing a new construction homeowner to raise his grade and flood eight of our yards, ruining the entire lawn in a couple of cases.
We had three meetings where the village tried to say there was just extra rain or we had added vegetation that reduced drainage, blah blah blah. They made an offer. We could get things fixed for $1500 each. No thanks. I had to be careful as the leader of this group. As the only divorced person, let alone a woman over fifty who lives alone, I knew that I couldn't come across as a bitch with an ax to grind. It was true, but they didn't have to know.
So I played my best hand at the last meeting. One of my neighbors had just had a baby. She was in flames about losing her back yard to mud. She was a former flight attendant who had married a college football star. Think Nicole Kidman and a tall Tom Cruise. There were lots of comments at the gathering about how great she looked for having such a little baby. She got up in front of those bozos, holding her three week old infant in her arms and rearranged all their sphinctors in about two minutes. When she was done screeching at them in a voice from Hell, she sat down and the room was silent. I didn't have to say a word. Somehow the village found a way to solve our problem for free. Nothing like an angry woman with a baby.
I guess what I'm saying is that we have to get creative to fight these banners.
First of all, instead of boycotting AOL, I would boycott their advertisers. You can't make changes by leaving.
The larger issue here is that AOL often seems disinclined to ask our opinion before they do things. And only a members' advocate[s] can rectify this failure to communicate.
I'm thinking of a person who is a combination of Norma Rae and Cool Hand Luke. Who rides a motorcycle like Steve McQueen. [If you have to ask who Steve McQueen is, stop reading now and rent The Great Escape]. Someone who won't run to another blog site. Someone who will stand and fight.
Let's be honest, one thing it helps to have is money. Money, as everyone knows, is power. That's why I am stepping up to the plate tonight.
And buying a Mege Millions ticket. If I win, I'll be powerful. People will listen to me. AOL will isten to me. They'll ask me if they can get me something to drink. I'll say sure, and then I'll start firing people.
Fair and square, not like they treat us.
I'll fire the idiots who created the new AOL alerts message with that teeny tiny type that they haven't fixed yet. Along with the people who can't figure out how to make MAC journals more compatible with AOL. I'll fire the yokels who screwed up the save button on FIREFOX [Don't ask].
As for the marketing genius who came up with the idea for the banners on our journals? Let's hot wax the hair on his, uh, body parts. You just know it's a guy.
Anyway, if I win the lottery, after I fire everyone, sorry, only the people who deserve it, I'll throw a party for AOL journalers so we can hash this mess out among ourselves over a long weekend in, say, Las Vegas. No way we can be effective until we act like ants and move as a coordinated unit.
So Armand, besides moving our blogs to another place, you got any other thoughts?