My sacred elbow space

Dear seat partner on my right side,

I believe it is the Fifth Amendment that guarantees no person shall be deprived of their life, liberty, or property without due process, so exactly why are you infringing upon this right by resting your elbow on my desk? That portion of my desk is mine. It’s not yours. It’s all mine, for my elbow alone.

Now, I don’t mean to be rude or anything; in fact, you’re a great seat partner! You’re always pulling up really great articles on Buzzfeed and tilting the screen so I can also see the Pinterest fails and cute baby animal pictures. I also strongly approve of your taste in Vox and New York Times articles. When I zone out during class, I know I can lean over to read your notes.

But when you rudely rest your left elbow on my desk, I feel a wedge being driven between us, I see the cracks starting to form in our ambiguous, not-really-a-relationship relationship. Listen, I don’t want us to go our separate ways. I’m scared of the future the potential flaws other strangers sitting next to me might have. What if they’re a loud potato chip cruncher, a tuna fish sandwich eater, or even worse, a person who uses their computer solely to take notes. I really do need and want you, but we simply cannot continue to have this infringing-upon-my-Constitutional-rights situation.

Writing this letter is my only option. Telling you upfront during class seems a little rude considering I don’t know your name and you don’t know mine. It also seems a little forward to put up a literal fence between you and I. Please, read this letter as a plea, a gentle plea that is begging you to keep your elbow to yourself. When you lean on my desk, I don’t know where to put my own elbow and am forced to uncomfortably contort myself. It’s not at all conducive to typing. But you, on the other hand, with all your elbow-spreading and chicken wing-ing, are free to type like the wind. If I were left-handed I might not need that space, but alas, I am not so fortunate.

But if you must go, just go; I’d never forgive myself if I held you back. Whoever gets you as their seat partner next will be the luckiest person in the world. In case we part, though, I have one last request: in the future, when you’re looking at “32 animals who are having a better day than you” or “12 cakes you will want to make,” remember me.

With platonic seat-partner love,


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