To get through a long list of things I’ve been meaning to take care of – get to the bank, get a hair cut, get a pedicure, return some purchases, install a ceiling fan, stop global warming – I took a day off from work.
I planned out the day so I could be as efficient as possible. However, I allowed too much time for item #1 on my list so found myself with 40 minutes to kill before tackling item #2.
On what was forecast to be a day of record breaking heat, at 9:30am it was already too hot for me to simply sit in my car and listen to the radio or read during those extra 40 minutes.
I drove toward my next appointment keeping my eyes open for a shaded oasis where I could spend the time. That’s when I noticed that there were none. The streets were without shade and without benches. Even the local pocket parks had no benches. Unlike European cities and other cities I’ve visited in the US, here in LA there were no community areas to sit. If I wanted to find a shady place to relax and read my magazine, I’d have to buy a coffee from one of the dozen of places with patio tables and chairs.
Frustrated, I parked and was about to give in and buy a coffee I didn’t want as the price for being able to simply sit when it occurred to me, the library. If anyplace was going to offer me a seat, it would have to be the library.
I was right. I parked my car across the street in semi-shade and sat myself on an uncomfortable concrete bench in front of the closed library. I wondered, is the city trying to dissuade people from enjoying the parks by making it impossible to do anything other than stroll through them or play a sport in them? Are they so afraid that we might linger that they removed anything which would encourage us to do so?
I was glad for the library bench, however uncomfortable, it gave me a place out of my car but we can do better, can’t we? How difficult to set out some Adirondacks on the grass, anchor them in concrete if you like. I’m going to toss one of the dozens of folding chairs I used to bring to soccer games, into the crowded trunk of my car. Maybe I’ll start a movement of sitters!
As disgruntled as I was about the bench situation, I was pleased to see that just before the library doors opened, the neighborhood moms and nanny’s began to arrive, the children eager and excited for their morning story hour.
At least the city is looking after someone, even if it isn’t me.