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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reserved Seating

by DeanJ (bio)

The only time I get nervous walking into the chapel at church is when we are visiting a ward for a family or friends blessing/talk. The nervousness is caused by a very common activity no one talks about in church - Reserved Seating. I'm not talking about people laying out their jackets or purses to save a seat. I mean the families in your ward that sit in the same seat every week.

I can tell you where most people in my ward sit, and they can tell you where I sit. And it's a funny thing because you don't get an assigned seat in your bishop's interview. Just some families have their little groove. And when you walk into a different ward you are usually early because you needed the extra time to find the building or you knew it was going to be packed and wanted to get a seat. When you show up early to a different ward you notice two things.

1 - You have your pick of the seats. You can sit anywhere! And in a weird role playing game you can see what it feels like to sit in the Brown's family isle or the Smith's family corner! You can be any of these families and they will never know. You can sit up front and center like a good sunbeam. You can sit in a side isle casually. You can sit in the back on the folding chairs like a good guest.

2 - You become painfully aware as every person walks by. You try to casually look at their face to see if you have taken their assigned seating.

Have you ever had anyone take your reserved seat? It throws off your next 75 minutes. Your kids were used to sitting on the pew. Now they are stuck in the folding chairs that tip back way to easy. Suddenly all the speakers seem foreign when viewed from the left side of the room. The kids think they are on vacation and are getting acquainted with all the new people around them. And all these new people your kids are staring at? They are wondering why you are sitting in their section and what have you done with the Jones's?

And you can't do anything about it. If you are in their seat they aren't going to ask you to move. They will just stare at the back of your mean seat-stealing-head all meeting. And now you feel like a jerk. You know why you feel like a jerk? Because deep down you know that you have broken the reserved seat rule. And the only reason you know you broke it is because you have your own little reserved seats back at your ward. That some family is in right now pretending to be you.

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