On Monday mornings I have been offering Mass at the local monastery of the Poor Clares. It's really a joy; I've enjoyed getting to know some of the sisters and consider it a privilege to offer Mass for them and their intentions.
The liturgical space, however, offers some challenges. One of them for me has been where to begin the Mass. When I arrive, the sacramentary is paged up and neatly arranged on the altar. A missalette with a ribbon at the collect for the day is at the chair. The chair and altar are on opposite sides of the sanctuary, with the ambo and tabernacle between them. There is no server.
Thus, a dilemma arises and a choice must be made about which rubric to abandon. The opening rites of the Mass, from the sign of the cross to the collect, are to be made from the chair. (GIRM 124 ff.) However, with no server, this means that one is not able to observe the proper gesture for presidential prayer, the manibus extensis or "orans," due to having to hold the book (and even worse, a missallete, though at least it has a cover) oneself.
On the other hand, the Mass can be begun from the altar, which must be approached for the veneration during the introit anyway (Ah, the joy of hearing the introit instead of substituting some song for it!) Because the sacramentary is arranged on the altar, the 'hands extended' posture of prayer is no problem. This possibility, however, slights the chair.
So...given that one rubric must be omitted, is it better to abandon the proper gesture for the collect, or its proper location?
(Since the Prayer after Communion may be made either from the chair or the altar (GIRM 165), the problem does not arise for the end of Mass.)