Posted: 11 July 2005 in observations

A bus route runs down the busy road near my apartment, making stops nearly every block and picking up the folks planning to shop and work at the large, high-scale mall at the end of the road. Most of the bus stops are marked by a metal post and sign. A few have a plastic shelter. Only one has both a bench and shelter. The two most popular stops are simple signs located by the grocery stores and nearest the apartment complexes populated heavily by blue collar workers. Driving back and forth to work at all hours I see groups of people standing in the pouring rain, blazing sun and sweltering humidity. Most look past the point of caring, but you’ve got to wonder who’s responsible for the installations of shelters and benches.

After all, it’s a busy road, and people stand precariously closer to the curb, getting splashed by semis crashing through puddles from the last rain, pregnant women wiping the sweat from their faces, and everyday folks waiting the 30 minute bus intervals, just trying to get to work. Assuming it’s the landowner who pays to protect its bus riders, it appears some of the stops are in a sort of no man’s land, not really on store property or on anyone’s lawn, but on the city maintained median between the sidewalk and the shopping centers. So who would pony up for the shelter?

A few weeks ago, a rough bench appeared on the grass by one particularly busy stop. It’s too tall for most folks and the bench is narrow, but it looks anchored sturdily in the dirt and it gets a lot of use. This morning a nurse was perched on it, feet dangling. Yesterday, I saw three men from the construction company eating lunch. I always look for it on my way home, to see if it’s still there. Grass has grown up and the city has since mowed around it. It’s obviously not a sanctioned bench and it remains to be seen if the city will remove it, despite the fact that it’s doing more good than harm.


I wonder who put the bench there. I imagine it’s a son and father outraged that their wife (and mother) stands there everyday, waiting for the bus, with nowhere to sit. Or maybe it was the construction workers themselves. It probably wasn’t any one of the white collar shoppers (who, incidentally, seem to shun the bench, preferring to stand on the curb). Whether it stays or goes, I think it pleases me because compassion was the only reason to put the bench there. Like planting a public garden, or picking up a piece of trash. Bravo bench builders.


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