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  • Writer's pictureAndy Ross

The Bench Warmer



I went to a wedding recently. People do invite me to such things from time to time, it’s always nice as it gives me a chance to pick from the somewhat large number of bow ties I own. Though there was that one awkward time when I accidentally out-dressed the groom, that’s a risk you take when you invite Andy Ross to your nuptials. The wedding was at a wedding venue. I’m sure you can picture it in your mind without my having to describe it to you. 


It was once farmland, now it’s rolling hills and grassy fields. There’s a man-made lake/pond, or if it wasn’t man-made they added water features to the existing one. There were two areas for the wedding to occur, with a pre-fab, metal barn-like structure that served as the reception hall. As someone in a polo shirt with the name of the venue on it directed me towards which of the two “Hitchin’ Arenas” where the wedding was going to occur, I saw something that filled me with dread. 


Benches. Thick planks that were bought from Lowe’s, painted black, and screwed into two stumpy tree logs. No back. No back at all. Having just come off of a three-week run of performances, being tired as hell, and generally having a body that is breaking down on the regular, this did not improve morale. I sat on a bench, near the aisle. I needed this as I’m tall and my long legs sometimes need room. I regretted it almost immediately. 


The bench was hard and uncomfortable, with no support of any kind. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea. Was it supposed to be a sort of “rustic charm?” The view was very pretty from the bench, but having arrived there early to get good parking, I spent almost 45 minutes on it before the wedding began. It began in my knees, a slow-building aching. That soon moved to my feet, causing me to shift my legs a lot. 


The pain then moved into my lower back. There was still 15 minutes to go before the wedding began. I started to squirm, it was awful. “If I can just make it through this wedding surely there will be some better chairs in the metal barn,” I told myself. The prayers that took place during the ceremony were sweet, but they went on a little too long for a man who was suffering on a terrible bench. 


The happy couple kissed, everyone walked away, and I shot up off of that bench like I had just been struck by lightning. My body ached and creaked as I made my way into the reception hall. I was so happy at the thought of a chair with a real back on it. I walked into the pre-fab barn with thoughts of food and lumbar support. The joy dissipated when I saw the seats in the hall. They had back, but they were cheap-looking. It was hard to tell if they were made from highly varnished wood or plastic. 


The chairs were packed in around long tables, it was cramped, and though my back had some relief, I was still sore and ready to go home. I stayed for the food, it was fine. I greeted the people I needed to greet. I didn’t stay to dance, as I reached a point where my body and brain said “We are done, time to go.” I slowly stood, I felt the sound of my body needing WD-40, like a carousel that needs to be badly serviced or retired. 


I took myself home, drew a hot bath, and got in. I almost fell asleep in the tub. I was tired and sore, and I hope to never go to a wedding at a place that doesn’t have decent seating ever again. Reader, if you’re looking for a place to have a wedding, make sure the chairs have backs. Your guests will thank you. See you next week. 


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