Why I Sit in the Front Row

Nowadays, I sit in the front row.

Book readings, lectures, panels, public meetings; if it’s general admission, I generally admit myself to row one.

I didn’t used to. I used to stay in the back near the door. Even if there were plenty of seats, I’d take one in the last row or lean against the wall.

And way back there, I could discretely check texts or look up how to make your own mochi, tomorrow’s weather, today’s news. I could be dismissive of the present moment and those occupying it.

But I stopped that. It felt disconnected, unkind. And lonely.

So, I go to the front row now. You can’t check your email or horoscope or applesauce recipes up there. The only thing you can do is listen and be witness to life unfolding before you.

Which, I think, is one way of participating in the present moment. Of honoring those occupying it. And of feeling a little more connected to the world.

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