Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seating Manners


I have never be appointed or accused of being part of the manners police. When it comes to social manners I usually am at a loss for what is right or wrong. However, the manners I do understand and follow I expect everyone else to follow with the same vigor I do.

In my everyday life the manners I follow use this logic, "What do I need to do to stay invisible?" I don't think I've ever done something outright rude, but in certain situations, like dinner with a group, I can be a bit aloof.

So, as I said, all that I do is to stay invisible. I have a critical rule that I will explain, but first let me set the scene. As with yesterday's post this story is in Fort Wayne, Indiana and the Rumble race. The race itself is an indoor event and is great bang for the buck with racing starting at 11AM and running all the way to about 11PM. To my mom's dismay, I want to get there as early as possible to get the seats on the top row. This photo was taken early on the first day with a skeleton audience.

Over the course of the day the audience does file in, but an aggravating thing happened to me that I could not understand. To describe this I go back to using MS Paint:

The black X's represent empty seats and my mom and I are the light blue X's. I love my space and this diagram is amazing. However, shortly after my photo was taken, the seating chart looked like this:

Four people came up and ended up sitting directly in front of my mom and I. There was an empty section to the left and an empty section to the right of my diagram as well as empty rows in front as well as many seats in the same row to the right that did not involve sitting directly in front of us. I like my space but don't get me wrong as eventually the only seats left will be the one's right around me, but when all the real estate is open isn't rude to sit right in front of people?

This is one of my rules and I am passionate about it; when seating, if it can be avoided, one should NEVER sit directly in front of a person when it is general admission.

The genesis of this rule in my life is that should I be the one sitting in front of a person I deeply fear that the people behind will yell at me or maybe put bubblegum in my hair. The bottomline is that I can't handle that type of social situation so I try to stay invisible and avoid it all costs.

As I said starting this, when I believe in a rule I expect all others to adhere to it just the way I do. I think my anger was evident on my face as my mom told me to, "calm down" but I was just at a loss as to how others can have a complete disregard to manner... and with that point right there this is one of the finer point of being on the spectrum. What I mean by that is that there is no gray area. If I don't understand the logic of a social rule or am fully ignorant of it, I may not follow it. However, if I understand it and live by it then I will be deeply angry when some yahoos sit right in front of me. Of course, I've never been a candidate for being on the manners police and I'll probably go another 500 or so blog posts until I'm on the right side of manner law, but for that one moment in Fort Wayne I wanted to get on my manners high horse and give those four people a piece of my mind, but had I done that I would have become visible and above all else staying invisible is the name of the game.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey, Aaron. Was at your presentation today, but didn't get a chance to say hi afterward. You did a great job! Glad you are doing well.



    PS: Sorry for tacking this onto a random post. Wasn't sure where else to put it.

  3. Whoa! You were there?! Small world!

  4. LOL LOL So sorry, I thought my post was going out there anonymously! See there.....God don't like ugly! I'm just a bit embarrassed and now, like you, I want to be invisible. :)

  5. Ugh people sitting in front of you in an empty theatre... That's a no-no for me too.

  6. In that situation you described, your mom is right! If the situations you fear are happening, then be assertive and say how you feel. Otherwise, just relax and have a good time. Yes, it maybe hard to open up for you... but this is another example of why having adequate community integration skills is important for people with autism!

  7. Yes it annoys me...I would have moved across as soon as they sat there. But if the place was filling up it probably wouldn't bother me. But no crowd? Yeah I'd move along.