Today, I had a fantastic day with my wife and daughter. We got a train to Oxford, which in itself is a real treat. I forget the countryside that I am surrounded by in Reading, and seeing it all fly past the window is just fantastic. And I love all the little train stations on the way, that feel like they are still in another period.
We had one of the nicest days we’ve spent together; buying stuff for mountain walking, getting a penny whistle and jaw harp in a toy shop, watching the new Nanny McPhee film – (which is brilliant by the way!). All awesome stuff.
I have one complaint about Oxford though, and it’s not something peculiar to Oxford but it was really annoying to me when I noticed it and thought about it today.
These stupid seats are beginning to pop up all over the place, replacing normal seating and I really don’t like what they are about. You can’t sit on them for a start – although the above pic shows a rainy day it was dry in Oxford today and no-one was using any of the ‘seats’. You can only perch on them or lean against them.
But there is a point to this – wino’s can’t use them during the day, homeless people can’t sleep on them at night. It’s why bus stops have started having this pointless seating put in:
If you’ve tried sitting on these stupid benches then you’ll know three things:
1) Kids can’t stay on them because their legs don’t reach the floor.
2) If you have to wait any length of time for your bus, you get tired legs and a numb backside from having to physically try and keep yourself on a seat that only accommodates about half your bum cheeks, and
3) The cycle of starting at the back of the seat, sliding forward, sitting at the back and sliding forward again… is perfect for the creation of a wedgie.
And this because ‘we’ don’t want the homeless using our seating and shelters to sleep on…
The thing is, with the anti-sit seats, no-one wins. The elderly don’t get to sit and rest, pregnant women can whistle, kids can just wait until they’ve grown a bit more. In Oxford, with all it’s beautiful buildings and diverse people, what a shame that you’re not encouraged to sit and watch the world go by. How crazy that decision makers are so concerned with keeping messiness and the margins of society away from the centres of our towns and cities that everybody’s enjoyment of open spaces is reduced.
In researching these seats and looking for the above pics, which both came from here, I also read of someone who is going out and making cardboard benches to put by these stupid things in their town each night, so that those who have nowhere to go at least have somewhere to lie on. May that person never have another wedgie in their life – what a beautiful thing to do.