Everybody knows that six feet is the covid-safe distance. Stand six feet apart. Maintain six feet of open space between you and the next person. Respect the six-feet-apart marks you see on floors in stores everywhere. Though few of us have questioned this (arbitrary?) measurement, all of us henceforth will have a well-trained sense of what six feet looks like. Six feet, you say? Six feet I know.
Covid has also affected what people look like. Everybody knows (and can see) that the covid-ban of barbers and hairdressers caused men to fall into several predictable camps regarding their looks: 1. They have continued doing what they always did (rare barber visits or self-buzzing or practically nothing, with mixed results, did someone say there’s a pandemic?); 2. They’ve fretted and cajoled and somehow found someone who would cut their hair and keep them looking as if there isn’t a pandemic that changes things (appearances being ever important) ; 3. They’ve adopted a who-cares attitude and are looking rather bedraggled (you know who I mean, but what a great excuse – there’s a pandemic!); and 4. They’ve played with it. I find this last group most interesting. Hey, there’s a pandemic – what better time to see what a beard looks like?! Sandy says men are getting in touch with their inner Paul Bunyan.
Into this mix, throw my porch project. Two years ago we were ramping up to tackle the destruction of the old one, shabby and rotting and on its last legs as it was. Two years later we are putting some finishing touches on a new, expanded, roofed version. The less-than-well-detailed plan included two spaces for built-in benches, a nice idea but I had had no idea what those benches would look like (“we’ll figure it out” – my famous last words).
Guess how wide the bench spaces are. Yup, six feet. Guess what I like doing. Yup, chatting – relaxed and leisurely, in person if possible! – with nice people I know. Guess how you can safely chat with people outdoors. Yup, sit six feet apart.
Normal people would put two chairs six feet apart and sit and relax and chat and call it a day. Those are the people who have the chairs. Ummm, busy building here, didn’t get porch furniture yet. (Can I crowd-source for that?)
Ta-da! A covid-friendly bench! See what I mean? I think it should be a thing: The Covid Bench. You sit at one end, and I sit at the other, and we will be our follow-the-rules, six-feet-apart selves having a lovely chat.
Like this. And do you see what I see? Yup, that’s a Covid Beard on a Covid Bench! Far be it from Samuel to be bedraggled about it. All trimmed up he is – let us not drop our standards.
Just try finding a bench like this on Pinterest. I looked and looked, but everyone wants to put the back on a long side, so both people have to face the same direction with worrisome thoughts along the lines of are-we-correctly-social-distancing or they have to practice awkward neck-craning with bodies facing one way and faces facing another. Putting the backs on the short sides makes perfect sense to me. We used the standard 15-degree chair-back angle, and slightly curved them for added comfort.
The backs went on after the seemingly floating seat (well connected to the 6×6 posts, trust me) and before the outer railing, which turns out to be a great height to rest your arm (as Samuel so beautifully demonstrates) or your tea cup, which I invariably have near me unless (for obvious reasons) I am holding Coco. All to say: My covid bench invites and awaits company, whenever that may be, even if you don’t sport a covid beard!