The Dangerous Chair? What is it and why do we call ourselves "The Dangerous Chair Society"?
Well, it all began Memorial Day weekend in the spring of 2004. I was visiting Morro Bay, California. If you have not been there, it is a beautiful coastal town sits near the coast with a 'back bay,' meaning there is an estuary nearly surrounded by sand dunes. The back bay becomes almost entirely empty at low tide. The sandy bottom of the bay is exposed and all kinds of pluvers, herons, and cranes settle in to eat their fill of the stranded fish and exposed plant life. Small boats settle in too. Where at high tide, they rock and bouy themselves on the waves, at low tide they settle on their sides and keels--waiting for the tide to come in and hide their dirty bottoms and return them to their usual graceful, floating state.
I was staying at the Back Bay Inn which is near the very back end of the back bay. There one can sit by the bay and watch people walk by while the birds restlessly move from one tidal pond to another looking for a bit to eat. I was doing just that one morning, enjoying the sights and the sun, when a woman walked by and gave me the kind of look that one takes as either vague recognition or curiosity. She hesitated briefly and then walked on.
A few minutes later, she walked by again, in the opposite direction. She stopped again. This time she looked at me more intently and for a bit longer. But rather than say anything, she just continued on her way. Some ten minutes later, she appeared a third time and stopped turned to look at me full on. She nodded her head resolutely and walked up the lawn to speak to me.
"I wasn't sure if I should tell you this," she began, "but that is a very dangerous chair you are sitting in."
This took me quite by surprise. Was I in danger of breaking the chair? I know I am not a small woman, but I didn't think I was large enough to warrant a warning from a passing stranger.
"You see," she went on, "I was sitting in that very chair, in that very spot a year ago. I realized that I hated my life in Los Angeles. I hated my job, I had few friends, and I knew something had to change. So, I went back, quit my job, sold my house, and moved here. All because of that chair." She looked at me for a long moment. "I figured you should know. That chair is dangerous."
Indeed, that chair was more dangerous than I knew when I sat down in it to watch the boats rest on their keels, the birds search for a snack, and the people walk by. A year later, Memorial Day 2005, I too had changed my life. I left my position as a Dean at a small art and design college to focus on the things that are most important to me.
We are The Dangerous Chair Society because we know how important it is to live in a thougthful and courageous way. We also know that as often as not it is very, very helpful for someone to come along and point out that we are sitting in a very dangerous chair.
Sarah DennisonPosted by at November 7, 2005 12:41 PM