If there is one sure fire way to upset an English person it is to sit in their seat.
Anyone who has ever been on a course, to a place of work or to a regular pub in the UK will know that there are certain seats and centres of location that are out of bounds. This is why the trend of hot desking at work doesn’t fit well with us – we like to know where we are going, who we are going to be sitting with and, most importantly, how we fit into the wider group. There are some people in the work place who after forty years of the same view have been known to break down into tears at the relocation of little more than a few inches.
If you want to annoy someone in the UK there is no better way to do it than to enrol on an evening course, wait for 3 to 5 weeks and then suddenly sit somewhere else. Frankly – if you come out alive you’ll have done well.
In fact one night a few months ago, in a fit of wild abandonment, Herself and I decided to swap sides of the bed to see what happened. It lasted all of five minutes – and confused the cats no end.
I was thinking about this today at work when a phone failure led to me sitting at a different hot desk to the one I have grown accustomed to. As I sat there: nervously watching my back and feeling twitchy because of the move of twelve whole feet down the same corridor, I found myself asking what my choice of seating says about my personality.
Given the choice of location at any meeting, club or social occasion most people, including myself, will try not to sit at the front. Often fisticuffs will break out in the jostle of bodies to remain central. No one likes to be exposed, or so it seems, unless they are Ultra Confident and absolutely love being the centre of attention (or else has a role at the meeting that means they have no choice but to be at the front) – Most dictators probably started going wrong in life by continually insisting on sitting at the front where people could adore them
My personal preference is somewhere towards the back and in the middle. Not right at the back, you understand, but sufficiently central that when John Smith arrives half way through the meeting I won’t have to grudgingly stand up and let him through.
I’d say that this probably says something about my desire to hide myself away and possibly hints at a lack of confidence. The same has been said of all my extroverted sides – my guitar, sax, paintings…are all something to hide behind.
So maybe I should make myself sit at the front for a change, put myself out there for all to see and find out how it feels? Life sometimes forces us into those situations: where we have to stand up for the things we believe in, or have to stand up for the way our job should be run. We don’t always like doing it: but sometimes…
But I think, on the whole, I like it where I am.
In the middle
Laughing uproariously at the absurdities of those on the front line