Small Talk: Every community meeting. About every development project. Ever.

Just refer to this handy transcript if you can't make the next meeting in person

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

COMMUNITY LEADER: Hi, everyone. Thank you for attending tonight’s meeting. We promise to run things as poorly and inefficiently as possible so that we can all get home to our families in a tight seven hours. As most of you know, except for the one person here who is going to talk about whatever she wants to talk about regardless of the agenda, we’re here to discuss the new Big Tower that Development Company wants to build in our neighborhood. We’ll start with a presentation from the company.

DEVELOPER: Hi, everyone. My name is John, and I inadvertently insulted my boss during a meeting last week, so he sent me here to spend the evening getting yelled at while all of my co-workers are out at a party on his yacht. Here’s a PowerPoint presentation about how our project is good that even I’m not really going to pay attention to, and here’s a pamphlet about how our project is good that will make for a great paper airplane or birdcage liner. They both largely ignore the fact that this project will be 40 times bigger and more expensive than anything this neighborhood has seen before and focus mainly on the piece of abstract art my wife’s friend is going to build in the courtyard, which can theoretically be enjoyed by the entire community. And with that, I’m happy to take your abuse.

COMMUNITY LEADER: Thanks, John. Any questions? Yes, we’ll start with Old Man.

OLD MAN: Hi. I’ve lived in this neighborhood since June 11, 1937, and every new thing that has happened here since June 12, 1937 has been bad. Will this project help take the neighborhood back to its glory days of June 11, 1937? And if it won’t, can we please burn it down now?

DEVELOPER: Well, we can’t burn it down yet since we haven’t built anything yet. I’m not sure how to answer the rest of the question, so I’ll just refer you to the pamphlet, which I see many of you have already thrown away. I’d be more upset about that if I weren’t planning to do the same thing immediately after the meeting.

COMMUNITY LEADER: Great. Our next question comes from a Young Protestor.

YOUNG PROTESTOR: The People! United! Will Never Be Defeated! The People! United! Will Never Be Defeated! Pretty catchy, right?

DEVELOPER: We will make our Big Tower five feet shorter if you stop chanting.

YOUNG PROTESTOR: Hooray! We did it! Hooray! We did it!

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COMMUNITY LEADER: Very nice. Now, let’s go right ahead to the person who’s going to talk about whatever she wants to talk about just to get that out of the way. Louise?

LOUISE: New York City’s ban on keeping chimpanzees as pets is unconscionable.

COMMUNITY LEADER: Thanks, Louise. Always great to hear from you. And it appears we have a surprise visit from a Local Politician. Welcome to our meeting. Would you like to say a lot of words?

LOCAL POLITICIAN: Yes, I would, thank you. I just want to say that it’s an honor to be here, and I definitely support development and economic growth in my community, and I also definitely support making sure that people who already live here can continue to afford to live here, and I also definitely feel exactly the way you’re supposed to feel about gentrification, and I also definitely want to keep my current job at all costs because I have no other marketable skills, so, in conclusion, God Bless America, and, gosh, that whole Amazon thing a few months back sure was something, wasn’t it? Thank you.

COMMUNITY LEADER: Beautifully said, as usual. Well, I think we’ve managed to accomplish a lot over the past several hours. Are there any concluding remarks from the development company?

DEVELOPER: I really wish I was on my boss’ boat right now.

COMMUNITY LEADER: Fantastic. Now, if there are no other questions or comments…

Everyone in the room raises their hands and says “Well, just one more thing, actually” in perfect unison.

DEVELOPER: I knew we should’ve just done this in Indiana.