A smile on my face … as long as you stay clear of my space
July 15, 2011
“Honey, do you sit in the same place in your class at college each time?” I asked Husband-Head out of the blue.
He put down his newspaper and gave me the “why-are-you-asking-a-really-stupid-question-yet-again?” look.
“Yeah, I do,” he finally answered. “What? Are you now the school seating police? Why do you care?”
I didn’t. I had recently become fascinated noticing in classes that I’m taking, and even at home and work, that everyone always stakes out a claim to their certain “space” and stays with it.
In fact, some people even get mad if their space gets taken.
For example, in yoga class, we sit around in a big circle, which is sometimes bigger or smaller depending on how many people are there. But oh, by gosh and by golly, no matter how big that circle is, you’d better be in your proper “place” with your bright, shining face and not someone else’s.
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Place, that is.
I’m even worse in that I have designated a certain blanket in the yoga equipment closet as mine. I don’t know why, it just had all these pretty purple and pink colors in it and I’ve taken a liking to it.
OK, I’m obsessed with it.
The class has recognized this, which is why one of the guys in the class thinks it’s just a hoot to get in the closet first and steal my blanket.
And then I have to walk over to his mat and steal it back.
The same thing happens in my step aerobics class. At the beginning of the semester, everyone stakes out their spot with their steps and their mats. This is an important decision because this will be your unofficial place for the next three months.
And trust me. You do not want to piss anyone off at 5:30 in the morning by taking their place.
Naturally, the unwritten rule is that if you miss too many classes, you give up the right to your spot.
“The same thing happens at the gym in the morning,” Husband-Head informed me. “We usually use the same equipment each time. You have this one treadmill that you like and if someone else is on it when you come in, it kind of makes you mad.”
“Do you ever, like, throw someone off a piece of equipment that you have claimed as yours?” I asked.
“Nah,” Husband-Head admitted. “It’s no big deal. You just unscrew some bolts on it when they’re not looking and watch as they go flying across the room when they try to use it. There’s a good chance they’ll never choose that machine again.”
Even in church, people stake out their territory. It seems the same people sit in the same places in the same pews every week. My spot is on the aisle, third pew from the front on the right side of the room. This is my spot. I don’t know if God would recognize me if I sat somewhere else. I don’t know if another parishioner would freak out if I changed my spot and sat next to them.
“Nooooo!” I can just imagine someone clutching their Bible and running away from their seat towards the back of the church. “Don’t make me sit next to Mrs. Rice! Please God, I haven’t done anything that wrong!”
People also get territorial at their place of employment.
Can you imagine if you came in to the office and someone was sitting at your desk and talking on your phone?
“People at my work get mad if you even park in ‘their’ parking space,” Husband-Head agreed. “And there’s not even assigned parking!”
At dinner time, Husband-Head and I always sit at the same places at the table – he on the left and me on the right. And of course, it would throw everything off if someone did not sleep on “their” side of the bed.
When I looked up this whole phenomenon on the Internet, I found something that said, “Humans are homeostatic by nature.” In other words, our bodies like things to pretty much stay the same.
But not just humans.
Our dogs are the same way. Each of them has a spot where they like to lie down and where they like to sleep.
But it makes us happy – just like the old song we used to sing in kindergarten.
“Good morning to you! Good morning to you! We’re all in our places with bright, shining faces. This is the way, to start a new day.”
– “Fried Rice” appears every Friday. Heidi Rice is a staff writer and columnist for the Post Independent. She lives in Rifle. Visit her website, http://www.heidirice.com for more columns and her book. Contact Heidi at email@example.com.