I’m screwed. The flight is full. I need to go where I’m going but there are only middle seats. The guy in the middle is in no man’s land and no one wants to be associated with “no man”. Aisle seat gate keepers refuse to look me in the eye. The strategy seems to be: block the entrance with a briefcase.
No man’s land is a term for land that is not occupied or is in dispute between parties that will not occupy it because of fear or uncertainty.
You’re fighting for real estate with no ability to define your space. There are no clear boundaries; no arm rests dedicated to your seat. Action appears to be at the fringes but the fringes aren’t accessible on your boarding pass; you’re a middle seat guy for this trip.
Without a pass one can only play at the fringes for short periods. You can sit on the aisle but if it’s not indicated on the boarding pass you’ll soon get busted back to the middle. In the middle you are unrecognizable, uncomfortable, ignored, assigned token worth, or dismissed out of hand no matter how very good you are.
Some how you need to reserve that aisle seat; get in that exit row with A/B choices. Ride the middle for a while but if your a traveler and get the middle seat on every trip, I may suggest you use the exit slide. You’ll need to create an authentic story of a fringe player and live it.
Here are some of the famous “middles”:
Middle America is beloved but horribly abused, misunderstood and misquoted.
Middle class is a proud group but one whose definition is unclear and shifty. My father was one and so am I, but there couldn’t be two more different people in the same category.
Middle Management, even the name sounds unimportant. “Hi, I’m a middle manager” – I can’t imaging a greeting more apt to inspire escape. Having been one once, I know what a lonely position this is. You have all the responsibility with none of the position power or ability to directly affect things on the ground.
Middle Name: It’s rarely used and less often recognized as you. Those without one don’t miss it all that much.
The Middle Aged are typically lost in a crisis of neither starting nor finishing. They’re stereotypically on a bridge to nowhere, upset by their aimlessness while lamenting dreams unfulfilled.
Middle of the Road has a firm reputation for boredom and a dead lock on the inadequately mundane result.
Middle Ground is impossible to defend, but then, no one will attack you anyway since you have nothing remarkable to offer. Well, that is unless you are in the way of some fringe element trying to cross your path.
Middle Passage: Synonymous with death to would be slaves. At the very best it meant months of torture followed by a lifetime of servitude.
The Middle Man is always in danger of being squeezed out; Rumored as worthless. There is even a word for eliminating him: Disintermediation [an economic term for cutting out intermediaries] and is considered a method for gaining efficiencies.
Middle Child: There is a syndrome attached to this position, one defined by a sense of not belonging. Need I say more?
Middle Urinal: As the middle airline seat is to travel, it’s the last resort for queued personal relief. There is an instant calculation upon entering a men’s room: “Which of the remaining spots is least likely to attract a neighbor?”
Everyone should know Seth Godin – there is no disputing he’s perpetually reserving an aisle seat. If you haven’t seen his presentation from 2003 you must view it. If you have it’s worth a revisit – I’ve viewed it half a dozen times at least. It’s seven years old but will remain fresh in seven more, with the possible exception of the Hummer – it may not be here but the message is still dead on accurate. He speaks of the middle brilliantly and is guaranteed to make you laugh.