Monday, August 24, 2015

The seating chart

Some of the good volunteers at BYU's 2015 Education Week were clearly becoming frustrated.
Some were even angry.
I'll explain.
Most of the classes in the auditoriums and classrooms I attended were filled to capacity and so people either had to leave to find another class, climb over you to a middle seat or stand in the hall hoping to catch a word or two.
When the chairs in a class you wanted to attend were all full, it was aggravating, especially if people in the class the hour before just didn't leave.
The overseers in each class tried to help.
They kindly suggested we all slide to the center of the row as we came in so those coming in late could easily find a seat — if there was one.
People weren't supposed to save a seat or take up more than one with their coat, backpack, etc. If we all slid over, the empties became visible.
It was a good plan in theory and one that I understand.'s always somewhat annoying to arrive 15-20 minutes early to get the seat you want and then have to move to one where you're flanked by humanity.
In my case, I always had another class across campus that I needed to attend and cover as a story so if I sat in the middle, it took forever to get out. (Then I'd be a latecomer hoping they'd move over!)
Plus, inevitably, the people taking seats on either side of me really liked wearing a lot of perfume or had just had onions for lunch.
It made it hard to focus and to breathe.
But, as the week wore on, I noticed the class bosses were losing patience.
They'd write on the chalkboard: "Sit In Center!"
They'd ask rather sternly, "Please move in! Now, please!"
And in a couple of instances, they said, "I'm noticing no one is moving! Hello?"
You'd think they were working with mobs of kids rather than with Gospel-fearing, mostly friendly adults.
But we all reacted pretty much the same.
We were comfortable.
We didn't want to move.
We prefer to make our own choices.
So we mostly stayed put and drove the volunteers crazy. It wasn't very mature of us.
Maybe if they'd offered mint brownies to anyone who followed their direction!

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