Happy Days Question #8 ~ Sittin' on a Bench

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Happy Days Question #8 ~ Sittin' on a Bench

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:33 am

Another quote from the Philippe Perrier interview.

The interview took place on a bench in the middle of the cornfield.

“I have a passion for benches…the bench is really the margin of the world, it is at the same time a step and a podium.”


And from the book: “I’ve always loved benches. They’re the image of a withdrawal, the seat of a contemplative distance, a peaceful marginality at the edge of the world. They represent a privileged observation post, a disengagement off the beaten path for those who know how to pause there. I’ve spent many an hour on benches taking stock of the world. Some of them are marvelous, unexpected, outlandish, and each site is a revelation. Someone sitting on a bench is detached from reality, or no longer belongs to it. This simple seat confers upon the sitter the status of poet, and lends a certain breadth of vision. If there is one place that ought to lie beyond the bounds of torment, it is the bench.”

What does this passage mean to you? Do you have a favorite place where you like to observe the world? Why that place?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Unread postby Parlez » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:20 am

Interesting passage, especially considering Antoine refers to a bench as a place to pause, yet he seems to never want to move on! He wants to stay there permanently...detached, observing and witnessing the world from that marginal, anonymous place.

I like the idea of a bench as a resting place, but I wouldn't want to live on one. I like observing people too, and I've chosen jobs
over the years that allow me to do that ~ probably the most obvious was working for an airline, which allowed me ample time in airports...watching the marvelous array of humanity hurrying by. I still like to arrive at airports ahead of time so I can people-watch.

But my favorite places, in the context of being on the subliminal margins of the world, are coastlines. (Funny coming from a Coloradoan, eh?!) A coastline is lands end, where two elements (water and earth) meet. I find that unique ~ inspiring as well as restful. If I was Antione, that's where I'd go to hang out and
'pause' for the duration!
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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:49 am

I like the bench imagery in the book, but like Parlez I think Antoine has spent too much time on his particular bench, does the poignancy of pausing on a bench have much weight if you never leave?

I can't say I've ever had a particular place from which I prefer to observe people/the world. My pausing places tend to happen often when I least expect it, sitting in my car waiting for someone watching the people go by. While reading a book and suddenly being struck with a need to comtemplate in metaphorical sense the world.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:53 am

Doesn't the story also begin and end on a bench? Not that I want to discuss the ending just yet...

I love to people watch too. Anywhere is good, airports, malls, anytime I'm in a crowd. I love to sit on a bench, a rock, the ground or anywhere quiet when I'm in a park or just out in nature and just listen to the silence too. I think anytime we have the good luck to just stop and observe our world it's a worthy opportunity!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Linda Lee » Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:24 pm

There are two places that I love to "pause and observe the world" from one isthe boardwalk in any shore town that has one.
To be able to breathe the salt air and watch the ever changing ocean is wonderful, peaceful and calming,(and you see quite a cross section of the population), the other is the woods, I can feel all the tension draining away when I take a walk in the woods.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby Depputante » Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:35 pm

In highschool I did lots of bench sitting on a beach, looking at the horizon (not the water/land, but the water/air), and wanting to go to the other side. 'Now bring me that Horizon!' It is still my most fascinating place. :cloud9: I feel quite lost and away from home without a horizon.
I much prefer watching nature rather than people.
Last edited by Depputante on Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Dec 11, 2006 12:54 pm

I've done alot of bench sitting, watching people.Its as he says a great place to be detached from the world and watch it go by, to observe but be apart. I don't have a favorite place though most of my bench sitting is done on a daily basis while waiting for my son to come out from school :lol:
But a nice shady arbour in a lovely garden is a wonderful place to sit.

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:04 pm

I agree that Antoine has spent too much time on that bench.

I like Boardwalks also—to observe the people. Ski lifts are good too. They are peaceful and allow one to observe the beauty the snow in the trees, sometimes juxtaposed against the intensely blue sky.

But my favorite place is on a beach chair, preferably at the beach where one can be hypnotized by the crashing waves or watch the dogs, surfers or people walking by. I also like to sit in a beach chair at the water park or at a soccer or baseball field.
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Unread postby Depputante » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:11 pm

I remember Johnny said he liked sitting in his garden, watching tomatoes grow. And he also mentioned he likes watching people, and gains his 'channeling' as an actor by doing this.

Finding Neverland also has a prominent bench. Any others?
Last edited by Depputante on Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:19 pm

Liz wrote: Ski lifts are good too. They are peaceful and allow one to observe the beauty the snow in the trees, sometimes juxtaposed against the intensely blue sky.


Unless of course you have THE :fear: of heights like some of us. Then you spend your time with a death grip on the rail, eyes closed praying you survive! :lol:

Depputante, good question about other benches. Off the top of my head I think of Sam sitting on his mailbox.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Depputante » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:23 pm

If there is one place that ought to lie beyond the bounds of torment, it is the bench.
I loved the whole quote untill this last part. He's not floating anymore, he's coming down to ground level, closer. I need to reread the book, but I think, this time, the bench may mark a huge transition for him in the book.

My aching question: Why is it that when someone just sits, people assume they are doing nothing?
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Unread postby Raven » Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:36 pm

My thinking is this:

When I was young, there was no time for sitting on a bench. I would maybe stand on it to get a better view, but not sit. But as the years went by, benches became stopping points. Maybe to sit and take your shoe off to get the sand out, or grab a snack from your back pack. And to wait for your ride? Your friend? Your Child? And as the years go by some more they are now welcome spots to rest, really look at the view. Talk, discuss, contemplate.
The last time we went to the Oregon coast, DH and I found sitting on a bench we passed many time a day the best place to watch the sunset, watch the deer on the trail below us. Just sit. Ahhh that's what a bench is for....
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:08 pm

Depputante wrote: My aching question: Why is it that when someone just sits, people assume they are doing nothing?


Well, I’ll show those people. I’ve decided that this week, weather permitting, I’m going to go park myself on a bench along the cliffs by the ocean and write my Christmas cards.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby gemini » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:32 pm

Laurant; “I have a passion for benches…"
Antionne" I’ve always loved benches"
And yet another similarity between Laurant and Antionne. I think there is a little more that letting a little of yourself slip into your characters here.

What does this passage mean to you? Do you have a favorite place where you like to observe the world? Why that place?

The world is a much faster paced place then it used to be. There used to be time to just sit on a bench and watch people or just look at a beautiful day. Now most of my people watching is done standing in lines at cash registers or waiting for admission somewhere. When I really think of this question the place I observe the world most of late is in front of my computer screen.

If I were to take time off just to relax my favorite place probably would be the beach looking at the ocean. For short relaxation at home I am like Johnny, I like to spend time in my garden. Time for these things gets shorter as life's chores keep cutting into them.
One of the things I noticed reading Happy Days was the relaxing atmosphere of his bench which I am a little envious of.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Dec 11, 2006 3:55 pm

Liz wrote:
Depputante wrote: My aching question: Why is it that when someone just sits, people assume they are doing nothing?


Well, I’ll show those people. I’ve decided that this week, weather permitting, I’m going to go park myself on a bench along the cliffs by the ocean and write my Christmas cards.


Hope they don't blow away


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