Getting an assigned seat

We’d walk into class and sit down next to our friends. I’d try to sit next to Darren or Steve. If they weren’t in my class, maybe Robbie or Dana from the school bus. We were crazy elementary school kids, full of first day jitters. If you didn’t have any friends in the same class, then you’d sit in the back of the class or by the window, so that you had an interesting view looking out to the playground. 

Of course, our freedom would always be short-lived.

The teacher would recognize the Chatty Cathy’s and the Babbling Bob’s in the first few days of school and, when we came back after the Labor Day holiday, he or she would assign everyone in the class an assigned seat. Sure, the teacher would always promise to move the seats around, maybe at the end of the first quarter or later in the fall, but he or she never did.

To make matters worse, the assigned seat game never bode well for me. Since some school administrator had marked in my file long ago that I had a hearing loss, I would always be seated in the dreaded front row. I would complain how it was “unfair and unjust” but it never did me any good.

Oh, how times have changed

We hated assigned seats as kids, but I’ve been surprised to notice that we don’t seem to mind them as adults. Here’s what I mean: A few weeks ago, I flew to Boston for a week-long process mapping and work meeting. After catching up with a few folks and getting introduced to a couple that I didn’t, we all filed into the large conference room and sat down.

The funny thing: Where we sat on the first day of the conference is where we sat the entire week. Each day we followed the same pattern. We may as well have been granted Lordship and Ladyship of our two feet of table space, granted with all the rights and privileges of property owners, because even with the addition of new speakers and attendees, we clung to our our original spots.

Something happened on the road to adulthood

I walked away on the final day, reflecting on the strangeness of the phenomenon. What is it about us that seeks out structure and normalcy? As a kid, I would have strained against that. I wanted my freedom to choose and act as I saw fit. As an adult ironically we adhere and conform to it. I suspect there’s a message related to today’s political landscape, included in there, but I’ll leave that for another day.

I’m left with one simple conclusion: People are strange. And don’t you dare think about stealing my seat!

19 thoughts on “Getting an assigned seat

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      1. But it sure helps teachers. If students hadn’t almost always kept the same seats I never would have been able to remember who they were. It would be even better if they always worn the same color and never changed their hair or beard style! 😏

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  1. Yes! I’ve seen this too many times to count! An interesting variation: In theatre auditions, often done with two actors reading dialogue together, I’ve noticed that once the first two have come up to audition for the roles of, say, “Bob” and “Daphne,” ALL of the auditionees after them will sit in the now-established Bob and Daphne Seats.

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  2. I love this! I think as adults we’ve had our freedom and now we look forward to a little structure. I’m not sure how that would relate politically but then again I try to keep politics off of WordPress as much as possible 💗 but that’s just me. Loved this piece Brian!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you liked it LaShelle. I’ve been in a strange spell lately. I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the smaller blogs, ones like this that don’t necessarily say a whole lot about my life or relationships, but still point out things that we all experience. I wouldn’t call it earth-shattering, just a fun day in the life. Anyway, thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fun in the sun..I love it! My posts are always a bit long a wordy. I can’t seem to tell a good story in a page or less but I think that’s okay too. Not everyone has the time to read them but I get it 💗. I love the short posts sometimes too.

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  3. My son is seated in the front of the class because he is the shortest. He hates it. At the beginning of the year, he was seated next to his friend, then the teacher switched his friends seat for some girl my son can’t stand because she is always trying to get his attention by taking his stuff and waving at him like stalkers do lol. He completely ignores girls for some reason. Anyway, at home, he assigned himself a seat at the table, my seat, and I had to change to a different seat. I eventually got used to my seat but my point is, he has been sitting in the same seat for 5 years because he chose it. I sit in a different seat at the table each time because I didn’t choose to sit there.

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    1. It must be a height thing. I was short too and always had an assigned seat. I really hated them as a kid. I never seemed to be near my friends and I was never much of a talker. I suspect I was the kid the teacher put next to the other kids they worried would be creating problems in the class. Ha, ha.

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