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I am a rule breaker. I have been ever since I can remember. I was sent to boarding school in 7th grade because my father didn’t like my attitude or my behavior. I wasn’t invited back the next year for 9th grade because as an 8th grader, I persuaded my friends to ride bikes into town with our hair in curlers (not allowed) and then arrive back a half hour after the bell rang for dinner. As a 10th grader at another boarding school, my boyfriend found a way to break me out of my dorm room in the middle of the night so that we could sneak to the meadow and kiss under the stars. In 12th grade when I was back at my public school, my friends and I frequently left campus at lunch (not allowed). Now in my sixties, I am bringing my dog with me everywhere I go, even when dogs are not allowed.

I am a rule breaker. I will sneak off campus. I will sneak my dog Georgia into a Broadway show and take her with me to restaurants and rock concerts. I will make a U-turn in the middle of the street when it says no U-turns when I deem it safe. I will bring dark chocolate and red wine into a movie theater when I know the rules forbid it. I will open a Facebook account for my dog when it is not permitted.

I am a rule breaker, but I will not sneak into a theater without paying or leave my economy class seat to jump into a vacant first class one. I believe in paying my fair share.

This topic recently came up when a Medium writer suggested it was okay to take a seat in the business class section of an airplane when one was unoccupied. I disagreed. And it’s not because I believe in following all the rules. I don’t. But I do when it comes to stealing or cheating someone out of something that isn’t mine.

Why do I care? If I am going to splurge and spend $575 a piece to see David Gray or Gwen Stefani in concert in third row center, I would not be pleased if Mr. and Mrs. Smith decide to move up in front of me to row two in what appears to be two vacant seats. Mr. Smith is blocking my view with his six-foot-four-inch football-player frame, and Mrs. Smith is leaning into him with her 1960s- style beehive hairdo, also known as the B-52. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Smith paid a total of $150 to sit in section 8 row P.

Sitting in a seat that wasn’t assigned to you on the airplane or theater or sneaking into the $2,000 a night hotel suite when you only paid $175 is not only cheating; it is stealing, in my opinion.

What’s yours?

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Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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