It’s a special festival that results in its attendees rocking pens and notebooks instead of glow sticks and wristbands. And the Melbourne Writers Festival is just that; a special series of events spanning the last 10 days of August, for readers and for writers alike. It’s a celebration of words. How cool is that?!
So it’s fair to say I was a little excited to be attending some of the events held at the 2015 festival, so much so that I succumbed to what I like to call the “overexcited and preemptive sit down syndrome.”
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll try to explain as plainly as possible using my own recent episode as a case study for you all. Here goes.
Try to imagine for a moment what it would be like to sit next to a total stranger in a large hall where there are dozens of vacant seats around you. Got it? Now try and imagine several rows of these seats, small empty seats, each separated by a narrow gap to allow for maximum seating capacity. Finally, try and visualise two women sitting side by side in these small and scarcely parted seats, their outer most layers of clothing making contact and exchanging polite but strained smiles.
I unfortunately don’t need to summon, conjure, imagine, or visualise this scenario. And even more unfortunate is the fact that I’m the one that created the uncomfortable situation for me and my newest buddy. You see, I stepped into a small hall where one of the events I had bought tickets to was being held. As the name of the syndrome articulates, I was a little overexcited. I saw all these empty seats before me and in an awkward and unsure moment, I preemptively took one of them. I could have sat in any number of available seats but I panicked, overcome with choice. I found myself sitting next to a woman with a surprised face, or maybe she was just surprised to see me, someone unknown to her, at such close proximity.
Here’s the worst part, I couldn’t move. She must have ached for me to get out of her space. She was uneasy and so was I, but I couldn’t bring myself to move. I had made a choice and I was committed to making it work. I felt like I was 10 years old again trying to prove a point that I had long lost but sticking with it and making everyone anxious in the process.
“Overexcited and preemptive sit down syndrome” can strike when you least expect it. Don’t be a victim.