They say you don’t have assigned seats in college, but everyone knows that’s a lie. After the second or third class of the semester, no one wants to move. The class has shifted around briefly and is now settled into a comfortable arrangement of friend groups and varying degrees of attentiveness. Why mess with it?
But she did. One day, midway through the semester, I walked into my global lit class to discover that some girl was in my seat.
I didn’t even know she was in the class, meaning she’d been in the back up until that day. She glanced up to meet my glare, then quickly looked back down at her phone. My friends had all moved down one seat in the row so there was still space for me, but as I slid into place, J. leaned over and hissed, “I don’t like this.”
“This angle is throwing me off,” A. agreed, nodding at the whiteboard. Even the subtle shift of a few inches to the right had thrown off our entire groove for the class.
Now, I realize this sounds somewhat petty. We are, after all, voting adults. Can we not just take Elsa’s advice and let it go? It’s just a chair.
Well, I got to the next class ridiculously early
to reclaim my rightful place, so I sat in my normal spot. When Miss Seat Stealer waltzed in, she did a double take, glared at me, then slid into the seat next to mine with a stage whispered, “I guess I’ll just have to take Charlotte’s seat,” to her friend, who shrugged and sat down without complaint.
So I’m not the only childish one in this tale.
I’m a creature of habit. The uncertain hovering on the edge of a classroom, wondering which row to sit in and which friends will be within reach for in-class discussion, should be reserved for the first, maybe the second, week of classes. We’re all outsiders for those first couple of days, until the class gels. After that, it’s a domino effect: if one person moves, the person whose seat was stolen must now occupy someone else’s seat, displacing yet another person to someone else’s chosen spot, and so on until the whole class feels as awkward and uncomfortable as the first day they walked in. Each person temporarily becomes an outsider again as they wonder where on earth to sit. And we are too far into the semester to justify that feeling!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get to class a little early. That seat is mine.
[Dissolve into classic bucolic college exterior – walkways, brick quads, trees, old buildings, etc. It is obviously early in the morning as the light is just breaking so that everything has a vague and ghostly sense to it.]
[Entering stage right is a figure – female – bridge coat, boots, jeans, college uniform B. She is walking in a determined manner towards a building in the distance. She glances at her watch. Her countenance is serious.She is Girl 1]
[Enter stage right another female dressed similarly. We are supposed to sense common history, common purpose, common identity. She glances at her watch. There are no others visible anywhere – it is early and deserted. She is Girl 2]
Girl #1: [To herself] “This is freaking ridiculous. It’s 5:30 am and I’m going to a 11:00 am class. I’ll bet there isn’t another person awake on the entire campus. I should be in bed. But I’m gonna be in that seat for Global Lit or else. Even if i have to sit through two other classes in that room in the meantime.”
Girl #2 is mumbling to herself unintelligibly mostly except for the occasional muttered epithet sounding like “witch”. She is more furtive than Girl #1, sneaking looks over her shoulder. She is jumpy and nervous. She has one hand in the pocket of her coat gripping something.
Girl#1 stops suddenly and pulls opera glasses out of her pocket and looks downrange. “It’s her! That [“sounds like witch!”.] Girl #1 starts to hurry and tries to break into a jog. Her stylish boots have ridiculously high heels however which makes her progress balky and shaky. The heels also make noise, tap tap tapping on the brick walkway.
Girl #2 stops and listens. She emits a primal scream and breaks into a run.
[The camera pulls back so that we can see both girls are running towards the entrance to a building. Each is aware of the other now and over the score we can hear their breathing getting harsher and faster and they are sucking wind – both should have engaged in more aerobic exercise while at college. The camera shows them both in slow motion now, faces straining, hair flying, etc]
Girl #1 gets to the steps first and throws herself up the stairs reaching for the door. Girl #2 is close behind and as Girl #1 opens the door Girl #2 reaches into her pocket and pulls out a can and hoses Girl #1 down with silly string. She stumbles because of string in her eyes and Girl #2 breaks past her into the building and is hauling down the hallway at top speed, pursued by Girl #1 who is hindered by trying to clear her eyes and face of silly string. As Girl #2 reaches for the doorknob Girl #1 throws a cross-body block on her knocking her down the hallway screaming with rage.
Girl #2 scrambles to her feet and sprints for the door and runs inside the classroom but Girl #1 is in “The Seat” and as Girl #2 readies to try and pull her out of it she sees that Girl #1 is draped with chains and padlocks, having chained herself to the chair.
Girl #1: “Mine…..Mine…..MINE…MINE…BWAH HAH HAH HAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH [Classic evil scientist laugh].
Girl #2: “You may have won this time, Ms Reed, but I will have my revenge! My minions and i will be back. Oh yes, we will be back, BWAH HAH HAH HAHHHHHHHHHH [Another classic evil laugh]
[Camera zooms out to wide shot of classroom and then outside the building and then a long shot of the campus but we can still hear both girls exchanging evil laughs.]
[Dissolve to commercial]
1. I should not have read this while in a public place, because my laughter is attracting stares.
2. This is exactly how it went down. Perfect. (Except I can run faster in heels than you think!)