There are rules for everything in life.
We are taught what side of the road to drive on and how fast to drive. We are instructed the proper way to file our taxes and the rules we must adhere to. We are told to wait to eat until others have received their meal and it is hammered into our heads that if Andrew gets up, we’ll all get up and it’ll be anarchy.
But what of the armrest? Where are the rules about that?
In a perfect world, while sitting in an airplane seat or in a movie theater chair or at a Broadway show — there would be no one sitting on either side of me. Then I could sit back, relax, and spread my wings and fly. Those elbows of mine could be free to juke and jive, back and forth, with no other person’s limbs to worry about. The cushioney-goodness of arm-rest heaven would be mine to enjoy, experience and expound upon.
But are we living in a perfect world? No, not really.
We live in a world where none of us will ever find ourselves sitting alone, with no one on either side of us, unless we are going to see Date Movie at the local multiplex at 10:35 AM on a Wednesday morning or visiting a Broadway play that is housed in an auditorium that has just been sprayed with an extremely strong strain of the bird flu virus or has been blanketed with anthrax. See, people love to sit in chairs with armrests and they’re not gonna let you have both to yourself if they have anything to say about it.
Personally, I get a little possessive when it comes to my armrests.
If I’m the first person sitting in a movie theater seat, I’m going to accost both. I’m going to put my drink in one armrest and my candy in the other. And then, when you sit down on my right side, there’s going to be a moral dilemma to face. Do I cling to my right armrest in an attempt to force you to go for your right armrest? Do I cling to my left armrest, offering up the right to you? Well, not if you’ve got an armrest free on your right side. I only have to give up one of mine if you have none. Then again, if I only have one, and you sit down and want two, doesn’t it seem realistic that I should be able to have one and a half?
Someone needs to establish rules, and quick. Before society collapses.
In a selfish way, I believe that the laws of the armrest should be fairly cut and dry. It should all come down to who was there first. I mean, if I walk into a bathroom and I walk up to a urinal, it’s mine. You can’t come up and try to share it with me just because you want to. Same goes for produce at the supermarket. If I show up to the red pepper area of the fresh food annex and there’s only a few left and I take them all — they’re mine. Just cause you show up and want to have some red peppers doesn’t mean I have to give you any.
So then why, if I’m sitting all comfortable with both armrests and you sit down next to me, do I have to share an armrest with you? It’s first come first serve, buddy. Use your lap.
Until someone forms the Armrest Association of America (AAA) and sets up some ground rules about how to go about sharing or not-sharing your armrest in a public seating arena — I think we should treat the entire scenario just like the old West. You do what you want to do and as long as you don’t shoot anyone, people should pretty much leave you alone. But if you do shoot someone, well, then you’re going to have to pay the price. But if you don’t shoot anyone, while holding firm to those double-armrests of paradise — then you should be able to sit back, enjoy the cuhioney goodness, and give those elbows the well-deserved cushy rest they’ve been hankering for. In addition to these overall general laws regarding the armrest, I’d also like to incorporate these laws:
- Armrests that include cup-holders can be claimed by placing a full, uneaten (or consumed) item in the cup holder themselves. Only after the item has been consumed may another party share the back portion of the armrest after asking and gaining permission to do so.
- In the event you do not have items to consume as a way to claim your armrest, by naming your armrest you may also claim ownership. Names must be easy to spell and must originate from the country of origin in which the armrest is currently being used. You may not name both armrests the same names or else you must forfeit one of the pair.
- If the primary armrest owner is wearing a short-sleeve shirt (i.e., baring skin) and an individual sits on either side who is also wearing a short-sleeve shirt — the newly arrived individual may not even ask to share the armrest if their bare skin will touch your bare skin. This, of course, stems from Paragrah 4.3, Page 12 of the AAA rulebook which states that a stranger’s bare skin must never touch another stranger’s bare skin, especially when sharing an armrest.
- Broken armrests that feel as if they may fall off at any point must never, under any circumstance, be shared. If the primary armrest owner (i.e. the first one there) breaks it by their own free will, this will not affect the rule. Broke is broke. In fact, if you break your armrest on purpose, in order to gain ownership, that is okay too.
- If, while sharing an armrest, one party spills any sticky substance into the cup-holder area — said sticky substance sharer must forfeit all usage of said armrest for the remaining portion of the attended event in question.
If someone would form the damn AAA, we could have more organization to the chaos of the lawlessness regarding the armrest. But until such a day arrives, we must (just like the Old West) find our own way, make up our own rules, and take what is ours without a second thought.
Life’s tough. We just have to be tougher.