By Dorothy Knight Burchett
I went to line dance class last week. We were all wearing our masks and social distancing and following all CDC guidelines and state restrictions. In spite of it all, we were having a good time. But, only half of the class was there.
When I say half, I do mean half. Everybody was on one half of the dance floor and the other half—where the absent line dancers usually stand—was empty. No one ventured to the empty side to get a little more room to do a vine, or some kicks, or a jazz box in our dance routines. We liked it where we were.
As I contemplated the reasoning behind this phenomenon, I came to the conclusion that everybody was standing in her “spot.” As I looked around, I discovered that I, too, was standing in my “spot.” The same people were on either side of me and in front of me. (Nobody is behind me, because I stand in the back row.) And all of those people were standing beside the people they always stand beside.
I wonder why we did that. I wonder why we do that. I wonder why I did that.
It doesn’t just happen at line dance class. It happens about everywhere where people congregate on a regular basis. When Sweetheart and I used to go to the dances, we always sat at the same table with the same group of friends. Why did we do that? They were always there, waiting for us, too. I think it gave us a sense of belonging and of ownership.
When we went to the Gospel jam for the first time, Sweetheart and I picked a pew and sat down. After that, every time we went there, we sat in the same pew. As I looked around, I saw other people sitting in the same seats, week after week, too. It amazed and amused me.
One night, one of the singers in the band noticed it, too, and pointed it out to us in the audience. As I pondered what he said, I later stood up and said, “You band members always sit in the same seats. You’d think you were in church.”
He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look, until he realized I was joking.
The whole situation harkens me back to my days in school, when the teacher assigned everyone seats at the beginning of the year. I’m sure the teacher did it for his/her own benefit, but we students soon adjusted ourselves to the situation and, usually, liked it.
I wonder if ownership has anything to do with it? For instance, when we were assigned seats in school, it became “our desk.” When we sit down in a seat or find a “spot,” it seems to give us some comfort. Having something of our own is a comforting feeling.
Maybe, times being what they are, we could use whatever gives us comfort—even if it’s only our own “spot.”