Sitting in the Front Row

I am a front-row sitter. Stop in at any large company meeting at my day job and you will find the front row of seats empty of bodies, save one: me. When I attend science fiction conventions and go to see a panel discussion, I am right there sitting in the front row. If I am taking some kind of training course, and the room is set up classroom style, you know where to find me.

I wasn’t always a front-row sitter. In fact, until my junior year in college, I avoided the front row for most of my life. In the summer between my sophomore and junior years, I read a small book on how to study. I wish I still had that book. It taught me the note-taking style that I use to this day. The book also taught me the value of sitting up close to the action. I’ve done it ever since.

It’s funny to watch people come into a large conference room a minute or two before the meeting starts. There is standing room only, people crowded against the wall at the back. And there are nine or ten empty seats right up front.

“There are plenty of seats up front,” the presenter says, as people scurry into the room, but no one seems to pay any attention. It means I get the row all to myself.

My front-row sitting isn’t limited to the day job. On those occasions where I (reluctantly) attend a homeowners association meeting, I find a seat in the front row. Meetings at my kids’ school find me in the front row as well. It’s part of my DNA at this point. I can’t help it. Whether or not it is true, I feel like I learn more sitting up front.

I get annoyed when I come into a room to find that someone else is sitting in the front row. It doesn’t happen often, and I know it shouldn’t bother me, but I feel as if someone is encroaching on my territory.

There are some places where I never sit in the front row. On those rare occasions when we go the movies, I never sit in the front row. I usually settle for someplace in the dead center of the theater if I can. If the kids are with me, I take an aisle in case we have to make a break for the restrooms.

I avoid the front row in airplanes, as well. There is always a bulkhead in the front row of each cabin in the plane. The flight is boring enough without having to spend it staring at a blank wall. Then, too, you can’t stick your backpack under the seat in front of you where the seat in front of you is separated by said wall.

The one place in which I’d love to sit in the front row, but never do, is at a baseball game. Front row tickets are nearly impossible to get, and if they are available, they are too expensive for me.


  1. Good thinking. Sit in the front row was always advice I gave my kids for school. Teachers appreciate engaged students, and it’s harder to drift off or get distracted by others up front. Plus it’s a good place to be if they ever hand out cake.


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