All nine members of the Naperville city council can’t stop. They know they shouldn’t do it, but they still keep doing it. No matter how many times they hear it, or how many times they tell others not to do it, it continues; they keep touching their faces, all nine of them.
Due to Covid-19, city council meetings are now being broadcast using the video conference platform Zoom, with all council members attending remotely, except for the mayor in council chambers. With Zoom, all council members can be seen simultaneously on a 4 by 5 grid. Additionally city manager Doug Krieger and city attorney, Mike DiSanto can be seen on the grid, with department heads joining via audio only. It’s a little like Hollywood Squares without the humor.
With all nine council members on one screen, it’s easy to see what they are doing including fumbling through papers, drinking water, looking at their phones, and touching their faces over and over and over, again and again. It was happening so often and so quickly, I was focusing on that rather than what they were saying. I record the meetings off TV, so I decided to watch the meeting again from the beginning, and note the number of face-touches and how long it would take all nine of them to accomplish the task; it took only ten minutes.
In order councilman Kevin Coyne was the first, followed by Hinterlong, Gustin, White, Sullivan, Brodhead, Krummen, Chirico and the last to do it was councilman Patrick Kelly. The biggest culprit of the night was councilman Kevin Coyne. I began to think it must be some type of secret code they were communicating with each other. I couldn’t break the code, so I concluded the entire bunch enjoyed face-touching.
With Covid-19 running rampant and Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Great Britain spending time in the ICU, my mind wondered to what happens if President Trump and Vice-President Pence become incapacitated, the thought of President Nancy Pilosi quickly got my mind back on the council meeting. But then I began to think about what happens if all nine council members become incapacitated, is there a succession plan for back-filling the city council? Then the ice-cold chilling thought of eight of the nine getting side-lined with only one (Patty Gustin) remaining.
There are three words that should be enough motivation to get the other eight members to stop face-touching, and those three words are ‘mayor Patty Gustin’.