This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Things That Make Me Anxious #1

So there are things in life that make us all anxious...sometimes they are odd things. Here is an odd thing that makes me anxious:

Finding seats for people in a crowded room.

This happens a lot. An example is when in a theater, and it's, say, an opening night for a popular movie. We try to get there early to get our favorite seats, which is the very back row, in the middle. Once planted, everything is fine. I have no stress factor whatsoever.

However, when the seats start to fill, my eyes start seeing the empty seats and it becomes a game of tetris.

A party of four, there are four seats there, there and there. Uh-oh, that looks like seven or eight teens...let me re-count. OK. That is eight...that's going to be tough...ah, there seems to be eight seats right there.

Once it's really full and the empty seats are harder to see, full anxiety sets in. Three people come in and they can't see anything but I've been noting the empty seats all along. I try to make eye contact so I can direct them to the seats. I am oblivious to my family around me because my duty is to get non-seated people into seats. Of course, no one will ever see me and, the one thing I don't do, is stand up to direct anyone to seats...unless they get close to the back for me to be acknowledged. This anxious time will continue until the lights go out and I just give up.

Now, it doesn't only happen in the theater. At work, there are a couple of meetings I attend that fill up. Here, I CAN direct people to chairs. And fortunately, but surprisingly, not always, there are people who tend to the chairless.

Yesterday there was one such meeting. For some odd reason, people don't sit next to each other and fill these chairs up...and still do the "I'm going to sit one chair away from this person". Which then gives the illusion that there are no chairs, when the room gets full. But, because I'm this weird person that is hyperaware of empty seats, I know where the empty seats are. In fact, I do the prairie dog bob and look for empty seats in the room, DURING THE MEETING, when I start seeing people entering the meeting (minutes late...which is the MO at our company).

So back to yesterday, but similar to other yesterdays, people come in a few minutes late, then stand right by the door, or start sitting on the floor. This makes me crazy with anxiety. THEY CAN'T POSSIBLY BE COMFORTABLE OR STAND THERE FOR AN ENTIRE HOUR!! THIS CAN'T BE!!!

So I stare at them until I get their attention. Usually, the person next to me stares back and I then look at them and say "I can't stand it. It gives me anxiety until they sit." Then that person laughs and then the attention goes back to the meeting.

If the non-chaired person stares back at me, I then point them to the next available chair. If they don't, I then get the attention of the seated person next to the non-chaired person, THEN I point them to the next available chair.

Yesterday, I took it a step further. I tapped the person near me, made him get an empty chair, move it to a closer place, then get the non-seated person, and escort her to the chair. I think I like that process better. That made her think: what a gentleman this guy is. And I'm sure that guy thought: she thinks I rock. And all because of me. I could care less that I didn't get credit for anxiety was relieved and that lady is comfortable, and that guy felt good.

Now maybe he'll do it on his own next time. I've just paid it forward.