Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sit down for your rights!

Perhaps it was the hour, or perhaps it was the fact that I'd just walked from Northcote through Fitzroy to Brunswick, but suddenly I was struck by an inexplicable desire to sit down. It also might have had something to do with the shop window right in front of me, full of seats inviting me to sit down in them in a wide number of enticing and delightful ways.

It is true they were protected by a locked door and a thick layer of glass and a security system. But if a man can't sit down and stretch his own limbs out in someone else's own store, where can he sit down?

Since the dawn of time, one imagines, Man has lived with the strong compulsion to sit down. It is part of what it means to be human. Who knows what we must have done before the epoch of the airmchair, the era of the lounge? One contemplates with mingled curiosity and horror those rude barbaric years, barely perceivable over the vistas of cushions and blankets. Life must have indeed been savage and brief in those years before the armchair was available, and people must have been forced to improvise with whatever was at hand - a stone here, a rock there.

As I gazed at the chairs haloed within the windows of the furniture store, my limbs yearning for comfort, my legs lusting for rest, I seemed to swoon and sigh, and a vision arose before my eyes. I saw myself gliding, unbidden, towards one of these chairs; I saw myself relaxing into their cushioned embrace. Within one hand, I held a book; within another, a pipe from which I took slow contemplative puffs; with a third, I occasionally took sips from a cup of cocoa*. Tears swam unbidden from my eyes as I contemplated the beauty of the occasion. Or perhaps it was the hallucinatory pipe smoke getting in my eyes? It was hard to tell from the other end of my vision.

Yes, I said to myself; yes, I will sit down; I will be at one with that chair, and those pillows: I sounded the barbaric yawp and prepared myself to charge through the glass and sit down - united at last! All things considered, it's a good thing the tram came when it did. Who knows where I might have been forced to sit down if it hadn't? I could have been a second Martin Luther: "Here I sit - I can do no other."

After all, there comes a time in everyone's life when they have to sit down for the rights, and - by heaven or hell, he or she had better take it!

*Astute readers will notice a fantastic element in this vision: in real life, I would wait until after I had finished my pipe before beginning on the cocoa.


Capital Ideas Australia said...

So the seat went un-sat?

TimT said...

Sadly, yes. An unsat seat is a seat that is sad.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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