Friday, 2 September 2011

Sadly, there are a few bridge players who have developed a disturbing habit of arriving at their club before everyone else, simply to secure a particular seat and a particular table. Some psycho-analysts see this fixed mind set to occupy the same seat week in week out as a basic territorial instinct. By announcing the seat " as theirs ", they can assert their claim to rightful possession, thereby establishing ownership rights in a relatively short period of time . Thankfully, the prospect of having to turf out strays and trespassers is extremely remote, given that they move hell and high water to be first person sitting down .
Nevertheless, although this theory does have its merits, players diagnosed with the same seat syndrome all share one thing in common. They suffer from acute separation anxiety, which can be traced back to their early childhood.
This disorder probably started when they were new born babies, when they became very attached to their mothers and/or soft cuddly blankets. Separation from these safe, warm, protective comforters would have caused great alarm. Victims would then carry on in this vein, unable to bear or cope with separation from familiar faces and objects, no matter how brief the time period involved. Unable to break this craving for repetition, routine and adherence to rules, they would drift into adulthood desperate to seek out new permanent attachments, such as regular bridge partners, corner tables, and room facing seats.
In every bridge club, you will always find them partnering the same people, occupying the same seat, at the same table. Even if their partners are numpties at the game, the need to feel safe ( with them ) is what matters. To get at the club early to secure the same parking place and table seat will always be their two main objectives for the night. Should someone else arrive before them and " steal" their chair, then victims will experience " seatsickness " almost immediately , desperate to re-claim what has been taken. If however the situation is not resolved quickly, then the victim's anxiety levels will go through the roof, often leading to life threatening physiological symptoms , such as heart palpitations.
However, other symptoms of the same seat syndrome might well include :
- an unrealistic, preoccupying worry about (a) leaving their seat in case another player on another table chooses to swap seats over, and (b) the club committee voting to spend money on new seats or changing the layout and arrangement of the tables
- a persistent refusal to consider sitting at another table, in an opposite direction, in an unfamiliar and unwelcome seat
- excessive, recurrent distress ( as shown by anxiety, crying, tantrums, misery, apathy, or social withdrawal ) if made to move to another table by the TD, who is attempting to accommodate a last minute change to the movement
Unfortunately, since this syndrome is so ingrained into their psyches, nothing can be done to treat or cure these inadequate, whinging, territorially-minded, cry babies. Clearly, their strict routines will never allow them to even consider an out-of-the-way visit for unconventional treatment at my surgery.

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