Benched

Patio furniture was invented for Californians. We love patio furniture in all of its forms—wood, vinyl, plastic, wicker, log. However patio furniture can be imagined, there’s a Californian who will love it. Californians, particularly those along the coast, live for living outdoors. Even a small yard is infinitely important to landscape it, privatize it, and yes, add patio furniture to it.

The outdoor living space is something that I do miss about California. Coloradans all want yards, but the “why” eludes me. To zeroscape them (no, not xeriscape)? To have a place for the dogs to entertain themselves? As a status symbol? Who knows, but it certainly isn’t to live in the yard. I’m told that a basement is important because it is the primary living space during winter. Albeit, there is a month or two worth of days during which outdoor time would not be pleasant, the rest of the year is perfectly enjoyable outside in the right gear.

I do have to credit Coloradans on their [somewhat absurd and cult-ish] loyalty to a piece of patio furniture long forgotten by Californians—The Bench. Colorado as a state has this strange obsession with having a bench, so much so that it almost seems to be a mandate: all new homes must come equipped with a bench. Odd, but no less so than not being able to sell cars on Sunday. Now these aren’t, for the most part, modern or comfortable benches; they are hokey, cabiny, uncomfortable, throwback-to-a-millwork-era benches. My house came with a bench. It is an awful, rickety thing that thus far has not been made straight. I don’t know how many layers of paint are caked over the cracked planks, or at what point the screws were thickly painted over green. But, what does one do with an old, rickety, uncomfortable bench?

Anyway, this page is my tribute to the obscure bench tradition in Colorado.