This is sort of a random post based on things I witnessed last night.
It was our 7th grader’s end-of-year band concert, which they hold annually in the middle school gym. It isn’t an optimal location for seating so many people, but the options are limited.
The concert was at 6pm, but the kids had to be there at 5pm. There being no point in driving anywhere just to come right back, my other two kids and I took the best seats we could find in the bleachers and started our hour-long wait. My wife had an appointment, so she would join us later … and I was saving her a seat.
Philosophically, I am against the idea of “saving seats.” Or saving places in line. Or anything of the sort, unless it absolutely doesn’t affect anyone else. Then I’m okay with it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t done it. Or won’t do it in the future. With a family of five, holding seats happens more often than I’d like, for one reason or another. This is life.
The gymnasium started filling up fast. It seemed most people were of the same mind, that there was no point in going elsewhere since we were all there already. People milled around. Some talked. Many phones came out and heads tilted to the screens. One of my daughters read a book while the other played a game. I just observed everything quietly.
In front of me a single, older lady put her hands out on the bleachers to each side of her body. A few minutes later, a somewhat rambunctious family of four came over and asked to sit next to her. She said she was saving seats. The family said okay, but they started talking amongst each other loudly about it. They huffed and puffed and made loud declarations about “some people” and how in this world, “first come, first served” was the right way. They sat down very, very close to the lady and continued their tirade.
The saving seats lady scooted down. I didn’t blame her. I hate to judge a book by its cover, but this “family” was what you might call a little rough around the edges. It was very easy to imagine them starting a scuffle and before you know it the phones come out and we’re all on Facebook and YouTube. And I’m just the bystander with his kids.
So, my guard went up. I watched and waited.
I should add that there were PLENTY of seats still available at that time. Many seats. But, well, we were in some prime spots. So I found myself torn.
What is right?
I was one row back from them, saving a seat myself. Granted, it was easier for me with two big kids … I just spread us out and laid my keys and phone down and most people didn’t think twice. Maybe they thought mom was off with our band kid. Somewhere in the building. Which is a more viable excuse for saving a seat, or so a person might think.
I don’t know. It was really strange. On the one hand, I don’t like saving seats, and I only was doing it as a necessary evil for the situation. I could see why the family was annoyed, though their approach to the situation was arguably childish.
I mean, they talked about it for four or five solid minutes. Glared occasionally at the lady. It was purposely, clearly audible conversation with hostile undertones.
People continued to stampede through the doors like cattle. An announcement was made over the PA for everyone to move inward to make room for people. I checked my watch. They made the announcement again.
Please move in to make room for everyone! they said.
I just sort of whistled to myself and pretended there wasn’t an empty spot next to me. Checked my watch. Twiddled my fingers. Checked my watch again.
Then my wife rolled in and we settled back for the show and I forgot about the silly stuff that had happened earlier. Well, sort of. The rowdy family of four laughed a little louder and moved a little more than everyone else. They talked just a little too much. In an ironic turn of events, they weren’t very considerate people despite being so ready to chastise others.
But, whatever … I spend a lot of time dissecting situations like that. Creating characters in my head from real situations. Thinking too much. My little brain is going to burn up one day.
What do you think? Is saving seats okay? Conditionally okay? A big no-no? A necessary evil?