I dedicated one of my previous 30 days to bench hunting.
It’s no easy task. Sure, you’re used to seeing parks and streets full of places to plunk down, but when it’s a game of hide and seek in the middle of the winter, damned if some of those benches haven’t just gone up and straight-away disappeared.
Everywhere I had gone it seemed that there were no benches primed for me to adorn with my butt. So I set out to sleuth what the real situation was. I did find plenty of benches: ones with no back rests, metal ones, wooden ones, ones set way out along the far reaches of pathways, ones lining the downtown streets, ones sitting in the park, and ones you’d miss unless you were a skilled bench hunter. But this was about more than just finding the benches. It was about finding ones that could actually be useful for more than holding a bank of snow.
The most abysmal one, which I didn’t even get a photo of, was along the sidewalk in front of the Shopper’s Drug Mart’s parking lot. That poor sucker was covered in snow, then doused with exhaust and wind whipped until it looked like a filthy mountain glacier. Although I found a significant amount of unsuitable rump resting places, there were still benches that one could have decorated with their derrière. So my little Bench Hunting Photo Run Down isn’t an accurate depiction of the smattering of seats in Yellowknife, but I can tell you that I did learn that there aren’t that many benches that are snow-free or accessible.
One of the things this made me think about was how people who have nowhere to go can’t even just sit still for a while unless they find one of the few suitable benches or just give up and plunk themselves into a snow bank. Not everyone is on the move. Those who don’t have somewhere to go should be able to at least sit down – they already don’t have much and in the winter, they’re barely even given the opportunity to do this one simple thing that most people probably haven’t even considered unless they remove the snow themselves or traipse through it to a clear bench. In a way, it seems analogous to the City’s decision to remove benches from outside the post office.