The Magic Chair Circle in the Retirement Home Is Finally Revealed

It’s been a mystery since we moved in here almost a year ago. We fell in with a small group of people who tend to congregate in the coffee lounge at more or less regular hours. In the mornings it’s between 11 and 12:30 when we all rush downstairs to the dining room see what’s on the menu for lunch. Then again in the afternoon between about 4:30 and 6 when there is free coffee and cake on the counter. The conversation is non-stop and general and in 2 hours or so we cover everything that’s going on anywhere in the world – complete with practical suggestions and solutions.

The seating is simple. A small round coffee table stands in the middle and a two-seater couch and a couple of comfortable chairs make up the group. After 4 or 5 people are seated, newcomers who wish to join in drag chairs over from other groups and wedge themselves into the circle. By time we are at full complement we may be 8 or 10 people sitting around. The mystery up to now has been who moves to the left and who moves to the right as newcomers join the circle.

Today I discovered what was going on. Sam is deaf in his left ear so he sits to the right of Jake, who is deaf in his right ear. Janie doesn’t hear well from the left so she makes sure to sit to the left of Sally. Sally hardly hears anything so she’s not particular where she sits. Mark usually arrives late and wedges himself close to Joe who knows darn well that Mark can’t hear anything. So the juggling for a good seat goes on. By the end of the session, whether it’s a morning or afternoon one, no one is any the wiser, no one knows better and no one remembers what was discussed anyway. We’ll do it all again tomorrow. Same seats, same results.

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