Anxious, not Passive-Aggressive

Recently I was witness to a conversation between people of the opinion that train passengers who occupy the aisle seat of a pair rather than move over to the window seat are making a passive aggressive attempt to hog both seats.

I have to disagree.

That immediately marks me as one of the aisle-seat hoggers. Yes, I’d do it if I ever rode a train. I do it in meetings and lectures. I do it in the cinema. I’m even the first chair violinist in my orchestra for the same reason.

That reason: Anxiety.

Trap me in and I panic. I would wholeheartedly prefer occasionally having to get up to let an inner-seat-sitter in or out over an alternative of sweating, feeling dizzy/ill/uncomfortable, hot, and entirely unable to concentrate on my reading/listening/looking at the scenery. If you’re mad because you want the aisle for some similar reason, I can empathise…but if you’re mad because you presume that aisle-sitters are row-hoggers, that’s not ok. As an aisle-sitter, it doesn’t matter to me much whether the seat next to me is occupied or not. All I want is to maximise my own chance of ‘surviving’ the journey/event/movie and having a relatively normal and comfortable time.

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