Having dinner as a kid was (as I realize now) a not pleasant experience. At the time, I thought it was what it was... dinnertime.
As kids, we all sat in the kitchen at the table to eat dinner. My parents never joined us unless it was a holiday or something else where it required them to eat with us (friends over, ect..).
My folks would sit in the living room with TV trays and eat while watching TV. Me, my sister and my brother would all sit around the table and we'd always 'fight' over who would sit on the side that the back faced the opening into the kitchen.
See, the table was oval and the one 'long' side faced the window but then your back was exposed to the doorway where my father would walk through from the living room.
If us kids were talking or if he even thought we were up to no good, he'd walk through that door and "clock" whomever was the unfortunate one to be sitting in that spot. I guess he thought he'd just take it out on whomever was closest?
To this very day, if my dad or other over bearing person or even just someone who is loud or walks heavy, etc... walks behind me, I still will physically and unconsciously flinch and almost duck - closing my eyes and slightly leaning forward as if to dodge a wayward ball coming toward my head. It's a reflex to trying to get away from getting knuckled to the back of the head without warning. It happened more than I can count and honestly if I did count, it'd probably make me sick to my stomach.
Same with car rides.
Three kids, a back seat. One had to sit smack in the middle and that was the most undesirable place in the car.
Whoever sat there, would surely 'get it' whenever my dad got a wild hair to smack the shit out of someone because in his mind, we were being too loud (IE: talking) or because another person pissed him off and since he couldn't hit THEM, he'd hit us.
Story of our lives.
So whichever one of us 'got' the middle, we were the easiest to reach and he could manuever the car and beat the living snot out of whoever sat in that spot. The person directly behind him could duck and lean toward the door and naturally, the person sitting behind my mom.. that was the preemo seat. Too far to reach - at least while the car was moving.
Again, I now avoid back seats like the plague and even riding with someone if they start to get a bit PO'd because some wanker cut them off in traffic, I feel queasy and anxious even though I'm sitting up front.
So many things have an impact and we don't even realize it....