Situations Where You Need a Good Seat
Ever since the days of school field trips, I’ve known one thing to be true – there is nothing more important to having a good time than picking the right seat. However, like most of you, I’ve gotten a little rusty with my seat-selection ability after a long year of staying indoors. But with restaurants, offices, and Chuck E. Cheese’s opening their doors to the public once more, there has never been a more pivotal time to refocus, retool, and re-energize your strategic seat-picking strategy.
Here are the top situations where a strong chair selection plan and execution process is absolutely mandatory.
Social Scenarios That Demand a Good Seat
Brunch Where You Know Less Than Half the People There
I love a brunch, I really do. Especially since I’m still getting my post-pandemic socializing stamina back, a day drink that ends with a nap at like 8 pm and no mention of a rally is really the ideal Saturday. However, these can be ripe with tricky seating scenarios.
Ideal Seat: Smack dab in the middle of the perfect crew. It’s the right mix of catching up with your friends and meeting new people who you vibe with. The waiter comes to you first and you never have to worry about hearing the specials, ordering another round of drinks, or having to shout your order from the end of the table. You’re sitting outside with the right amount of shade, plus you have a view of the sidewalk and can people-watch in peace if you need a conversation break. God is good and so is brunch.
Nightmare Seat: Pinned against a wall on the end of a rickety table that’s meant for 6 people but you guys squeezed in 9 for some reason. If you get up to go to the bathroom, 4 other people have to get up as well. You’re across from your friend’s coworker’s roommate who got the invite for some reason and is the least interesting person in American history. Your friends are 2+ chairs away and you can only watch wistfully as they have what can only be described as the best time of their entire lives. Plus your phone is dead and you’ve been trying to order another drink for 15 minutes but the waiter either can’t see you or is blatantly ignoring you. Fuck brunch.
One thing I will not be missing about returning to the office is the conference room table dance. I dread the feeling of showing up to a meeting 2 minutes late, trying to juggle a laptop, hot coffee and wireless mouse (why did I bring this with me?) and trying to strategically pick the right seat while the suck-up goes through the agenda. This situation, more than any other, demands that you come prepared with a seating plan.
Ideal Seat: Two chairs away from your boss. You’re in the mix and can contribute, but they can’t see what’s on your laptop screen. You can freely browse the Internet if you’re bored, answer emails or quickly look up the answer to their questions without them knowing. You’re close to the door so you can go to the bathroom or leave for another meeting without disturbing the peace.
Nightmare Seat: Immediately next to your boss and tragically, the cord to connect your laptop to the projector. It’s only natural that you’re the one sharing your screen for this meeting and making sure everyone else can get into the Zoom. After 8 minutes of technical difficulties the meeting finally starts and you have to juggle driving the deck and staying alert in case your boss asks you something. Everyone decides to do a working session and you’re the one who has to edit the slides or Excel files as everyone watches on the big screen. You’re exposed as a worthless loser who doesn’t even know how to do a PivotTable or automatically ‘Align Center’ on all images.
Holiday Meal with Family
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, you name it. It’s the prime time for your extended family to gather, eat food you only make once a year (looking at you glazed Easter ham and every Thanksgiving dish) and make conversation for a few hours before retreating to the TV room. Family is great and all but nothing makes you revert to the worst, 14-year old version of yourself like a holiday meal. Which is why there’s really only two options for seating arrangements.
Ideal Seat: Kid’s Table.
Nightmare Seat: Not the Kid’s Table.
Simple as that.
Sports Bar During an Important Game
A very hit or miss situation. Normally, I would rather just watch a big game from the comfort of my home. You don’t have to worry about seeing the TV, save money on beers by stocking your fridge and can pause and rewind the game if you miss something. HOWEVER…celebrating with drunken strangers is one of the true joys in life, so this can be one of the best nights ever. Seat selection is very important here but oftentimes it’s in the hands of a hostess, which can be scary. But fear shouldn’t paralyze you…it should wake you up.
Inspired? Me neither. Back to the blog.
Ideal Seat: Perfect view of the TV and close enough that you can hear some of the announcer’s commentary, or at least read the subtitles. End of the table so you can easily go to the bar for another round or flag the waitress to get more wings and pitchers. Near the Wi-Fi router or strong cell spot so you can easily text your bookie to put in a live bet. Table is next to a group of fans that you can celebrate with and buy each other shots after big moments. This is the reason sports bars were invented.
Nightmare Seat: The TV is behind you and you have to constantly twist and turn to see the action. You’re next to a rowdy table that keeps bumping into your seat. There’s no service so you can’t even follow along on your ESPN app or Twitter. Someone ordered nachos but they’re 3 seats away from you, so you have to keep passing your plate if you want more. You somehow spend $94 on Bud Lights and the nachos that were of course split evenly even though you barely had any. Why did you even leave your house in the first place?
These can be a mixed bag. On the plus side, it’s a great opportunity to abuse the corporate card and guzzle nice cocktails at a restaurant you could never afford on your own. However, while you might even impress the higher-ups with your social skills and grace outside of the office, it usually ends up being a boring dinner with a bunch of people 20 years older than you that takes you away from fun plans or your normal routine. Which is why it is incredibly important to seat yourself well.
Ideal Seat: Firmly positioned in the middle of the fun group of younger people and the people who actually matter. You can hang out with your friends but can also impress your boss with your familiarity with appetizers, wine and current events opinions that you’ve simply regurgitated from podcasts and tweets. Most importantly, you don’t have the pressure of maintaining a 2-hour conversation with important adults who you likely have zero in common with. You can float in and out of discussions as it suits you.
Nightmare Seat: On the edge of the table, trapped in a group of the most boring people in the entire world. You haven’t even ordered yet and you’ve already exhausted the standard conversation topics of their kids (they’re not even that cute) what looks good on the menu (they can’t have most of it since they’re on some diet they won’t shut up about) and surface level work talk. You’re in for a long night and will have to get drunk on expensive Old Fashions and make at least two bathroom breaks to survive it. Buckle up buddy.