01 September, 2013

Take a Stand

Pull up a chair, have a seat, brace yourself for IDEA #2: Standing Up.  I mean like, all the time.  Hear me out, this one might be a little harder to implement than the early bed time thing, but that doesn't make it any less of a great idea.  Incidentally, curfew is now extended until 11:00 pm here in Cairo - but for those of us early sleepers, curfew-schmerfew anyway.

So, standing... I would like to propose adding a little standing to our days.  Nowadays, we are most certainly getting enough sitting time.  We are master sitters.  Most of us eat our breakfast sitting, ride to work sitting, sit at work, ride home sitting, eat supper sitting, sit in front of the TV or computer, and then finally stretch out only as we lay down to sleep.

Take a moment and look down at those lovely stems of yours, those attractive feet, those wiggly little toes.  These boots were made for walkin' were they not?  And what of the lost arts of hovering, leaning, crouching, perching and squatting?  We've got so many other options and it's high time we give 'em all a fair shot.

My standing experiments on this front have been years in the making and there is admittedly still a long way to go.  The truth is that standers tend to make people uncomfortable.  Just last week I went to a photocopy shop and was asked to have a seat three times while I was waiting for my order.  Every new staff member that walked by would take their turn smiling politely and gesturing at the row of chairs behind me.  Also, standing up beside a table in a restaurant?  Definitely gets some looks.  There are times when sitting is just expected and I have yet to figure out a way around that except to create other standing opportunities.

In Italy for example, breakfast of a cappuccino or espresso and a pastry is nearly always taken standing.  Many of the cafes we visited would actually charge you more if you wanted to take a seat.  Why can't we implement something like that?  Seat tax?

I've also tried standing on a tour bus, standing while watching a TV show, and standing at a visit to the dentist.  Okay, not that last one.  Just checking if you were still reading or if you had fallen asleep in your chair.  While we're on the subject, I've noticed that if I'm sitting down and there is something that I need to get to, I'm 50% less likely to get to it than if I'm standing.  If you're standing, you're already halfway there.  Getting up from a comfy chair is a major deterrent to taking action.  Word?

Well, until you are ready for the more advanced maneuvers like standing awkwardly beside a group of seated diners, pacing by the bus stop or pulling yoga poses in a board meeting, here are some practical standing opportunities that you can try right now:

1. Coffee walks versus coffee sits.  The next time you are meeting a friend for coffee, why not get your drinks to go?  You can enjoy a short walk together and a change of scenery while still catching up.  Best bit: if your coffee buddy gets a bit too chatty, you can always increase the pace until they get short of breath, or you can try and lose them at the next left turn.

2. Food truck lunches.  Standing up with your food in a sit-down restaurant?  Weird.  Standing up with a hot dog or burrito from a road side stand? No problemo!

3. Cocktail parties versus dinner parties.  If you stand up to eat at a dinner party, you may not get a repeat invitation.  Even if you brought the best side salad ever.  If you stand up while circulating the room at a cocktail hour, you just may find yourself being the life of the party!

4. Computer pose.  How about the 'leaning crane' or the 'downward dip'?  If you have a laptop, there is no reason that you need to sit in a chair with your computer on a table in front of you.  In fact, if you have to support yourself, it might actually cause you to move around more and maybe take a much needed computer break.

Speaking of which: step away from the computer.  Today's rant is done.  I would like to conclude with the thought provoking and elegant words of  Eminem: "Please stand up; please stand up!"

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