“What are we doing?” I asked Mike.
I plopped down into the redwood cushioned chair on the front porch, a low wooden table between us. I’d watered the planters, weeded around the sitooterie, and refilled the hummingbird feeders. Before embarking on my next task, I checked with Mike to see if he had plans in mind for us.
“We’re sitting,” answered Mike then sipped his cabernet.
“Yes, it’s called relaxing.”
Sitting didn’t come easy for me. (See “Move A Muscle” last week’s post.)
“And don’t start stretching,” he warned, “because then you’ll stand then wander then bike and then you’ll want me to bike and right now I think we should sit.” (I think HE read last week’s post.)
Mike produced a second wine glass and poured the cab. He ambushed me into just sitting.
Naomi Epel in her A Tool Kit for Writers suggested “Ribe Tuchus” which is Yiddish for “Rub your bottom on the chair.” Writers needed to sit still so that their muse could find them. My muse must favor red wines, because sitting stirred thoughts which formulated questions which resulted in research about sitting. Here’s the who, what, where, when, why, and how about sitting that I found interesting.
Sit among your tribe at suppertime. Communal eating improves digestion and a sense of connection. Table talk and storytelling release endogenous opioids and oxytocin that stimulate pleasant feelings. Children who consistently ate dinner with their families performed well on standard achievement tests.
You don’t get that with McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal to go.
Prairie dogs, highly social rodents, sit together and communicate except their topics of discussion are more about who’s trying to eat them. For three decades a Northern Arizona professor, Con Slobodchikoff, studied prairie dog speak. He concluded that prairie dogs had different calls for dangerous intruders such as coyotes, hawks, and tall skinny humans. They also had calls for short fat humans. Prairie dogs are not politically correct.
Take A Load Off
Favorite chairs vary from person to person. Mine is an oversized arm chair that my son, Jack, and I read in before his bedtime. Except that chair developed a rip and a slump and my son grew up and moved away. (That happens with furniture and children.) I replaced the chair with a similar one and it’s in the same location. Pleasant memories circle it and land in my mind when I settle there in the evening.
Charles Darwin’s favorite seat may have been his office chair. He evolved it by installing coasters on the legs. Miss Muffet’s may have been a tuffet, except a tuffet can be a cushioned stool or a grassy mound which isn’t a chair at all. Why anyone would claim the Iron Throne as their favorite is beyond me. Your chances of beheading increase significantly after calling dibs.
A koala’s favorite seat is a eucalyptus tree nook. After munching on the fibrous leaves, the little critter rests for 20 hours or so a day. Now THAT’S an after dinner nap!
Where you choose to sit makes a difference. My catbird’s seat is a middle seat at the dinner table. The middle seat suggests I’m a team player, approachable, and collaborative. I REALLY sit there because it’s closest to the kitchen otherwise known as “headquarters.”
Mike sits at the head of the table which indicates leadership, control, and intimidation. He REALLY sits there because he knows it’s not my favorite. It’s also near the bay window area where he places Squeaks, our rescue cockatiel. After dinner Mike finishes his wine and constructs a maze from the potted plants and a few coasters. Squeaks then finds his way through the maze while we cheer him on. (This popular Covid days entertainment endured post quarantine, like remote work and sidewalk dining.)
The capybara, a large rodent ranging from South Africa to east of the Andes, is known as the “living chair.” This social animal carries birds and monkeys around on their backs. The capybara’s good nature and barrel-shaped chest make for an ideal seat for birds and monkeys. The capybara doesn’t mind monkeying around.
Sit A Spell
I’m most likely to sit during my morning writing sessions (though I’m exploring a raised desk) and evening wine sessions (though I have a wineglass holder to sling around my neck).
Humans sit for a daily average of 4.7 hours. While I didn’t find a world record for sitting in a chair, I did find a site www.recordsetter.com with a “Chair World Records” category.
Many of the records involved office chairs such as “Most Office Spins in 30 Seconds,” “Longest 2-Wheel Office Chair Balance,” and my favorite “Farthest Distance to Push an Office Chair Using One’s Head.” (Respectively the records are 45 spins, 26.42 seconds, and 154 feet.) Why CEO’s want their workers BACK in the office instead of working remotely is a mystery. From the photos it appears these shenanigans took place at the office.
Trapdoor spiders sit in wait. They dig a burrow with a web door hinged on one side. Silk threads radiate from the opening. When an unsuspecting insect trips the line, the spider opens the door and ambushes the prey. Those silk threads are one heck of a welcome mat.
Taking It Sitting Down
Humans sit for many reasons such as resting, drawing, and waiting.
Endurance, publicity, and stupidity motivated many to flagpole sit. Flagpole sitting is basically sitting on a flagpole, perhaps equipped with a small platform, for extended periods of time. This fad began in the 1920s by Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly. Being a stunt actor, I can see how the idea of flagpole sitting may have come up in a conversation with his buddies after a couple of beers. Shipwreck’s first 1924 sit lasted just over 13 hours. Many similarly motivated sitters broke Shipwreck’s record since. Flagpole sitting’s heyday was in the 1920s. Then the Great Depression began and people had more important matters on their minds.
Hunger is the orchid mantis’s incentive for sitting. Using shape and color to mimic an orchid, the mantis waits for its prey. Once in range the mantis snaps it up. Using camouflage to hunt as well as hide is called aggressive mimicry.
If you’re slouching, slumping, or sprawling, you’re not sitting pretty. Sit pretty and your back will thank you by not hurting. From the bottom up, feet flat on floor, knees bent 90 degrees, sitting bones (They’re the rounded ones on your butt. I had to squirm around to find them.) in contact with the chair seat, back touching the back rest, and a slight curve to your spine. This is the position I asked my third graders to maintain when I taught them cursive. (I no longer teach third grade and third graders no longer learn cursive. The world changed!)
No matter however, wherever, whenever, or whoever you sit with, avoid sitting on your hands, sitting on a powder keg, and definitely don’t be a sitting duck!
Instead find a gold mine or cloud 9 to sit upon.