Rules for sitting on the steps of a building:

It is assumed that you don't (want to look as if you) know anyone there.

  • 1 other person, not at an end: Sit on the end farthest from them. If they're in the center and have bags, sit on the side such that their bags are between you. If they don't have any, sit to their right if they're right-handed or you don't know their handedness. If they're left handed, sit on their left. If they're ambidextrous, sit so that they're on the side of your weak hand. If you're ambidextrous, too, sit so that they're on your left.
  • 1 other person, on an end: Sit at the opposite end.
  • 2 other people, neither at an end: If they're far apart, bisect the line segment between them. If they're not, follow the rules for 1 person, treating the two as one; if their handedness is different, treat them as an ambidextrous person.
  • 2 other people, 1 is at an end: Sit at the other end unless this would put you closer to the non-end person than bisecting the segment between them. In that case, bisect.
  • 2 other people, each at their own end: Bisect.
  • 3 or more people: Bisect the space between the farthest-apart people.

note: this is a rather pathetic attempt to explain the way that people who are overly socially conscious will sit.

the reasoning behind sitting on a person's strong side: they can't get a swing with their strong arm; if they tried, it would hit the steps. it's more important that they can't get a swing than that you can, hence the decision tree.

how to sit on steps

Consider the pitch of the steps. If you are in the center away from the edges and there is sufficient pitch you can sit with your legs crossed (almost Indian style) on the step one level lower from you. If there is not sufficient pitch, your legs should be uncrossed and two levels lower from you.

Consider walls. You can sit with your back against the wall and your legs either on the same level as your body or one level below, crossed or uncrossed.

Consider area. If the steps are far-ranging, as on a significant public building, sit wherever. You could play cricket and not get in anyone's way. If the steps have more strict parameters, sit to the side so you don't inadvertently disgruntle someone and get yourself shot in the head.

Consider time. If you have a self-amusing personality, just sit. Or take the Gameboy, the mp3 player, and the pokemon. These kids today...

Sitting on the stoop, you should be sitting in the sunshine, with a lazy afternoon sense of smiling. You should have a cold beer in your hand, and a good book by your side. You should watch the people go by, and smile at them, randomly. You should attempt to charm passing cats. You should pull faces at the little kids, just to make them giggle. You should blow bubbles, and twist around to watch them drift up over the building. You should catch leaves as they fall down around your feet. You should carry some chalk, in case you feel the urge to play a quick game of hopscotch with a neighbour. You should leap up to help an old person who is struggling with shopping bags. You should lean back, and watch the clouds skid across the skies. You should always, always bring a slinky.

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