In "Why Sitting is the Best, Part 1" I talked a lot about hopscotch. Here in Part 2, I will explain why sitting is actually the best. But first, some history.
Sitting skills run in the Abu Halen family. My dad made a living out of sitting. I am proud of him -- 65 years old and still sitting strong. He's a truck driver. I guess one day he just realized he could sit better than most other people, and he ran with it. Or, you know, sat with it.
|"You show promise at an early age, my young Padowan."|
Things weren't always easy for my dad. During the early years, other drivers sat better than him. I remember he bought this special black plastic thing that you blew up with air, and then you put it on the driver's seat in the semi truck, and you sat on it. It improved his sitting skills, kind of like how you can run faster if you buy certain kinds of shoes, especially ones that velcro or have pictures of Formula 1 cars on them. And from then on, Dad never really looked back, except sometimes he'd look in the rearview mirror, because that's the law. Once, I asked my dad what he thinks about when he's sitting in the truck, driving. "Nothing," he said. And I was like, guys who sit are so deep.
I don't claim to be as good at sitting as my dad. I have to stand up a lot in my job, only because I can't hang with the big boys when it comes to sitting. Or, you know, sit with the big boys. But I sit as a hobby, because it's in my blood. And sometimes sitting takes me places I never thought I'd go.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in the desert. It was dark and the scorching heat of the day had eased. My friend had invited me to spend the evening with a group of bedouin he works with. It was dinner time. We were miles from the nearest population center. There were stars overhead, splatter-painted all over outer space.
My legs were crossed and a pile of rice and chicken rested where my ankles met. The bedouin men chattered in Arabic around me, their voices the only sound in the intense silence of the desert. The starlight showed the black outline of rough, rocky mountains rising around us in the dark. I hugged my knees to my chest and sat, perfectly satisfied to do nothing more.
At that moment in cities and towns millions of people were multitasking. Wheeling and dealing and driving and texting and cleaning and working in three separate windows with sixteen tabs a piece. I was just sitting, just doing one thing. Just sitting. And as part and parcel of sitting, I listened and I saw and I felt. Laughter and the crackle of plastic as sitting bodies shifted. Shadows gesturing, scooping food from ground to mouth, silhouettes in starlight. Hot desert breeze, sand against the back of my legs.
The young bedu beside me noticed me gazing at the starry sky. He too pointed his chin to the heavens. "What would you like, Yusef?" he asked me in Arabic after a few moments. It should have been an odd question, like it didn't really fit in the context of what was happening. But for some reason, instead it seemed to me like the only perfect question he could've asked right then.
I thought for a few seconds before I answered. "Just to sit and watch the stars," I said. "Yes," he said. So we did. And that's why sitting is the best.