If you’ve ever sat in a university coffee shop during an exam period, then you know that they are prime examples of how land, and space, is not a God-given right.
For example: at the University of Tennessee’s Hodge’s Library, the Starbucks is the go-to place for meeting up with study groups. And, since humans are social animals, study groups may be defined as, “A group of ten people, two of whom are doing any sort of work, crammed around a very small table.” The Starbucks on campus had two types of seating: typical Starbucks tables–the small sorts of thing where even two people feel crammed together–and these incredibly comfortable leather recliners.
For the individual studier–like me–the two leather recliners were the best thing on the planet Earth. They had the feeling of being at home, but with all the environs of a sort of place where, if you weren’t doing any work, you’d feel guilty. (That, of course, didn’t stop me from people watching around 75% of the time I managed to snag a chair and their glorious ottoman counterparts.) More importantly, they were one of the few places where you could feel comfortable grabbing a cat nap in the library.
And, by and large, the people at Hodge’s kept to the rule that the recliners were to be used by one or two people at the most, but, from time to time, you’d get groups who came in and completely ignored this unwritten etiquette. From what I could tell, they were usually business students. No judgment there; I’m just making an observation. They’d trickle in, intent on working on their presentations for whatever Business Admin class that week, and then, slowly, spreading like a cancer, take over the leather recliners.
One day, as I sat in Hodges, working on an assignment for a literature class, the group trickled in and, rather than doing anything about it, I wrote this passive aggressive piece of short fiction.
Capitulation; Or, I was Crowded Out of a Chair in Starbucks
From President Simon of the United Chair Number Three to Prime Minister Haverton of the People’s Democratic Republic of Chair Number Four and Its Dependencies:
In the best interests of my people, I have decided to capitulate to your demands for more lands and cede the Large and Round Ottoman territory to your forces.
I am not entirely sure why the End Table State (wherein was contained my nation’s cell phone reservoirs) did not suffice, but your policy of Breathing Room apparently required more land than Table. It truly was a long battle and I feel that my people in that state deserve nothing but the most admirable treatment at your hands. Your general, Rebecca Black, utilized a truly superb combination of shock-and-awe and the blitzkrieg. Were these military maneuvers foreseen (or your general not hot, and thus distracting to my mostly male army), I am certain that we would not have lost the End Table State as easily as it occurred. However, such an event unfolded in your favor.
Next, your general LaQuisha Ronda Brown began the incursions upon our Round Ottoman dependency. I am proud to say that, now that we were prepared for these hostilities at the hands of your armed forces, my army was quite ready to repel these hostilities, and we did. For a time, we valiantly held the territory, despite the general’s excessive usage of the military technique pioneered by the Aztecs: Obscenely Loud and Banal Speech. Yes, we held that territory for quite a while, and indeed fought back with our own technique: Stretched Out Legs and Spreading-out of Books. Our tactics worked superbly, as I’m sure you know by looking at the tallies of your dead and wounded.
However, your barbarism showed a new face when you deployed an unknown strategist, whom my advisers have dubbed Really Intimidating Black Dude. Due to his sheer intimidation factor (no doubt amplified by his use of Urban Gear warfare), my forces were forced to retreat to the mainland of Chair Number Three.
Though it would appear that, as of now, you hold the upper hand, I assure you that it shall not always be so. The time will come when allies come to our aide, for we are the righteous nation, and these lands were rightfully ours and only taken through the use of forbidden warfare techniques. These incursions on a sovereign nation, the attacks on innocent civilians, and the rampant destruction of civilian infrastructure will not go unpunished.
Your time is at hand, Ms. Haverton. I suggest you revel in victory while you still have citizens with whom you may revel.