We’re facing a national crisis that is burrowing into the very moral soul of our country, and I’m not talking about the current collection of candidates running for president. No, my friends, this problem supersedes politics and finds us perching our fannies at the crossroads of good and evil, for the malady of which I speak is the growing problem of people saving seats.
Now, before you jump up from your chair, sofa, breakfast nook barstool or, let’s be real here, the toilet to shake your fist in the air and proclaim me a confused simpleton not worthy of your time, I beg of you to sit down and hear me out as I take you on a historical journey of seat saving and finish up with a tale so vile it will have you never looking at your pillowcase the same ever again.
Are you right now thinking, “Hmm, pillowcase? Has she finally lost her mind? What in the world can a pillowcase have to do with seat saving?” All I have to say in response is “probably” to the lost your mind question and “oh just you wait” for the pillowcase tell-all.
First up is the history lesson. Saving seats for families and friends can be traced back to prehistoric man, where one Neanderthal would put sticks on top of large rocks designating them as being “on hold” for when the rest of his tribe finally showed up after a rough day of cheating death.
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Time travel a couple of million years to my childhood, where a woman would very apologetically, to the point of begging forgiveness to all concerned and writing thank you notes, save a seat for her husband who was late for their daughter’s fifth-grade choir concert.
Now, in 2016, it’s a seat-saving smack-down with overtures of professional wrestling: “Ladies and gentleman in the center section of the middle school bleachers right where the woodwinds of the seventh-grade band will be playing, we have the PTO vice president, 11 and under soccer coach and chairperson of Teacher Appreciation Day using an array of programs and her champion vocal chords to shout ‘These are already taken!’ to successfully save two rows of bleacher space for a family that won’t show up until after intermission.”
“Not to be out done, her opponent, one section over, is going for the seat-saving title by attempting to hold hostage three rows of bleachers. No amateur to seat saving, this woman has brought supplies. In what can only be called a tour-de-force performance, she’s gone all-in and has her children lying down on the bleachers as human seat savers.”
The very worst is when one mother has found her calling as a seat wrangler and comes and saves 60 chairs in the school auditorium for her clique of mom friends.
Just to be clear, I’m not against seat-saving. I don’t even bat an eye to someone saving at least six seats, but when you’re a dozen seat saves in and counting, I’m probably going to give you the crazy nod. For, you see, I believe this adult backslide back to pre-adolescent behavior is a troubling sign of a country abandoning with fervor their grown-up skills.
To illustrate the depths of this problem, I’ll share what happened to me last weekend. I was at a child’s sports competition and was confused by what looked like chair covers on the majority of the front row seats. Upon further examination I discovered that parents, yes parents, had taken pillowcases and written in black Sharpie the word “MINE.” These “monogrammed” cases were then put on the backs of the chairs.
I don’t know what surprised me the most — the fact that alleged grown-ups would revert to the language of preschool and do this, or that they would take pillowcases that seemed to have a very luxurious thread count (I’m guessing at least 400 and it felt like Egyptian cotton) and crudely tattoo them with a Sharpie.
I felt duty bound to do what I know you would have done — plop myself in one of the probably 20 empty “MINE” seats and wait for retribution. It didn’t take long before a pillowcase posse tried to oust me. I pretended to be confused by what they wanted and instead of getting up reached over the back of the seat and removed the pillowcase of the chair I was sitting in. I then gently handed it to a woman who looked ready to stroke out, smiled, got up and thanked them for hospitality.
Mark my words, it’s time for all of us to rise up against the tyranny of aggressive seat saving. Today it’s pillowcase-covered chairs, but tomorrow it could be a pillowcase-covered nation suffocating under the rule of adults who have never mastered the art of acting like one.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at email@example.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.