The addict curled her fingers around the crack pipe like a python strangling its prey.

“Put it down,” we all begged. “Please.”

She only tightened her grip on the slender vessel. The pipe had become both her lifeline and lover. The world around her disappeared.

Finally, the meeting adjourned.

My friend Piper isn’t really a crack addict. She’s the chair of our committee this year.

But when there is a microphone in her hand and a captive audience in front of her, well, she might as well move under a bridge and get a cardboard sign that says “Help, I am homeless. Can you spare a dollar?”

We all know what she’s really going to buy with that dollar: AA batteries.

The last time Piper held us hostage was during our group’s annual banquet at the country club. As a “courtesy” they had shut down the cash bar during the program and there I was, having foolishly neglected to lay in reinforcements.

I was seriously considering calling in a bomb threat when she finally – FINALLY – shut up. There was thunderous applause at the end which brought her to tears. If only she knew we were merely overjoyed she had stopped talking.

We’re about to have our nominations meeting. Piper is, unfortunately, very good at running her committee and I’m sure expects to be renewed as chair. I don’t know if I can take any more of her yammering though. You’ve never seen anyone more skilled at cramming five minutes of material into an hour and a half.

As usual I will probably take the passive aggressive approach. By that I mean I will be checking my email during the meeting, and will just shrug my assent when her name comes up.

But I am taking a flask to next year’s banquet.