How important is it where you sit? Do you sit on the fence on any issues? What about traditional publishing versus epublishing?
Experts tell us your seat's location can be important if the aircraft you're in crashes. First class gives you the smallest chance of survival. That doesn't seem to be part of the airline's pricing model, though. They deal with the market of supply and demand. People prefer specific seats in specific aircraft models so those seats cost more and they little reflect their chances of survival. Anyone who's flown in the back can appreciate it, as the rear of the plane experiences more movement, but your chances of surviving the accident is 69% back there, compared to 49% in first class.
I'm a window person, myself, whether it's in an aircraft, car, restaurant or house. I like sitting by someplace where I can look out and think. That's been true my entire life.
I was part of a new program in my high school in my senior year. Six other students and I were identified as 'gifted'. What to do with us? Math and sciences weren't difficult; they put us in our own classes. We spent hours together each day, three males, four females.
We mingled with the 'commoners' for other classes. The philosophy in those classes was to put the students having trouble in the front and those with high scores in the back so I was always in the back row, sometimes by myself, and usually without a window. Very boring.
In our gifted classes, the three males all sat in window seats. Two girls sat in the middle; two others sat on the other side of the room, by the door.
We three guys were all new to the community, arriving three years before. The two middle seat girls were best friends all of their life. Their parents pushed them to succeed academically. The two door girls were also best friends. They didn't live close to one another but they were best friends during the school year.
Looking back on that, I wonder how much of our window selection was social and how much was insecurity. We three guys had already become good friends before this program pushed us closer together because we were new people to school, thus outsiders. I'd run away from home the previous summer, then Dad had returned from overseas duty and I moved in with him. It was comical for a bit because this school of less than 500 students had three new boys simultaneously. Rumors went around about each of us and other students grew confused, commingling our identies. We figured out what was happening and toyed with people.
But we were different. I was an athlete and developed friends on the teams, and was part of the art club, and was elected to student council in my junior and senior years, and so on, but the other two boys weren't involved with anything and hung around with no one else. Yet they wouldn't be considered outcasts. They were just different, smart but uninterested in many other activities. Both read a great deal. That was one of the strongest connections between the three of us.
The military changed some of my seating habits. They trained us to have situational awareness and beware of sitting in traps. As an airman, I was also selected as the first participant in a program my wing initiated, to shadow the wing commander for a few days. I'd been identified because of my leadership qualities, they told me. I accompanied the commander to meetings, sitting beside him or behind him. He always introduced me, "This is Airman Seidel. He's my shadow."
I remembered that program years later, when I became the director of Quality Air Force for our base and re-initiated it so airmen could shadow their commanders and get a broader glimpse of what was going on. While it was my idea to start it at this base, each squadron could determine how they would select their participants. Most went with the whole, this is an outstanding airman, with leadership qualities, so we're going to nurture those abilities. I though, kept pushing for another angle; give people a chance who weren't identified as outstanding. Let them feel special by being identified as a person to shadow the commander. The commanders were good with that but the enlisted community balked. They felt people the shadow program should be a reward for doing good work. I won a few of the other senior enlisted over, though, with the commanders' help, and we ended up with some notable success, using this as encouragement to try harder and realize how it feels to sit in a seat of honor.
When I taught, I had the standard rows and columms and let my students sit anywhere they wanted. By then I'd studied more about group dynamics. My rows had their backs to the windows, and the door was at the classroom's back. No one could sit by the door or the window because of the arrangement. Once they were seated, though, and we went through introductions, I rearranged the room. I usually talked with the class about it and left it up to them as a choice. No class ever turned it down. The whole idea was to change dynamics, break people out of their comfort zones, and encourage dialogue and participation. I always set up teams, as well, usually using the count method. The ones were a team, the twos, et cetera. They had to move around again to be with their teams. We then re-arranged the desks so they could work as teams by turning their desks to one another. It was a lot of fun.
In meeting rooms, there are 'power positions'. Most homes with retangular tables know the power positions are on the end, where there's usually one chair. Everyone can see them; they can see everyone. The closest flanking positions were on either side of the power chair, where people can have immediate contact with the power position. Some sought that; others preferred to blend in.
I still prefer window seats. I sit on the left side of the political spectrum. I like to be in the back of the room, where I can watch everything. I usually sit alone.
I'm told that's because I'm just too cool.
I call bullshit. I know that I sit in the back, by the window, because I remain a shy, withdrawn, insecure person. No matter what I've achieved or the compliments I receive, I can't elude those demons and phantoms. I'm most comfortable reading and writing, or working alone.
It doesn't appear that I'll ever change. I'll always sit by the window.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com