The Creamy Squishy Center

middle seats

I live in Chicago.  Actually, I live in a tiny suburb just north of Chicago, which is great-  I am only a 20 minute drive to the heart of downtown Chicago, Lake Michigan, and O’Hare Airport.  Of course, the last one is irrelevant because I don’t fly out of O’Hare.  I drive 45 minutes (if I am lucky) to Midway Airport.

Why would any sane person drive 3 times the distance from one of the largest hubs in the world, with a bevy of direct flights practically hourly to the east, west, north and south?

Now, I have to admit I may not always be described as sane, but I feel this is one of the soundest decisions I have ever made.


I drive this distance because I hate being in the middle.  You betcha.  I hate sitting in the middle seat.  Always have.  Although my yearly average in the air is 30K miles, that doesn’t make me a top dog to the major airlines who inhabit the corridors of O’Hare International Airport.  I may get my coveted aisle seat if I am lucky, but probably not with the throngs of 50-100K fliers.  I don’t want to take the chance.

So I fly Southwest out of Chicago Midway every chance I get.

You see on Southwest, there are no assigned seats.  Just numbers to determine when you get on the plane for open seating.  Pay a few extra dollars when you book any ticket and you get a higher number.  Easy.  No begging.  No waiting to be knighted a frequent flier.  Just pay a little, move up in line, and take the first non-middle seat you see on the plane.

So – what’s wrong with the middle?

Let’s see.  Looking up popular phrases with “middle” as the primary describing word, I found:

  • In the Middle of something
  • In the Middle of traffic
  • The Middle child
  • The Middle seat
  • Middling
  • Stuck in the middle
  • Sandwiched
  • Between a rock and a hard place
  • Middle reliever (not the starter, not the closer)
  • Middle of the line up
  • Middle age
  • Middle ages
  • Middle of the road
  • Middle school
  • Middle manager
  • In the middle of nowhere
  • Change horses in midstream
  • Middle ground
  • Smack dab in the middle
  • Caught in the middle
  • Piggy or “Monkey in the middle”
  • Play both ends against the middle
  • Middle east
  • Middle America
  • Middle man
  • Middle class
  • Meet in the Middle
  • Mid-air
  • Mid-season
  • Middle of the night
  • Split down the Middle
  • Middle Earth (For you JR Tolkien fans)
  • Middle of winter
  • Middle of the ocean
  • Middle lane
  • Mid-point
  • Middle of an argument
  • Mid-terms

and, of course, the always popular

  • Middle finger

Let’s face it.  Being in the middle is not a cake walk.  Wait a minute –  the creamy center of an Oreo cookie is in the middle.  That’s good.  Right?

Unless you prefer the chocolaty cookie to the creamy filling…then…you have other issues.

Welcome to Middle Seats, where we share our thoughts about the creamy squishy center of managing and leading others.

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