It was a beautiful mid-summer’s day. It was early enough that most people had not gotten into their cars to start the day. But one lady was slowly approaching a local bus stop. Marcella was starting her day the way she did most every day: walking to the bus. And like every day before this one, she was complaining.
“I am getting too old for this nonsense.” She mumbled to herself. “Every day I hurry to get to the bus stop just so I can wait. The bus is always late. Always! And I know if I come late then that damn bus will come early!”
Marcella wasn’t a young woman but she didn’t consider herself old just yet. Yes, she did have sore knees and her feet would swell if the day was hot, but she was not ready to be put out to pasture. There would be time enough to be old. For now, she just liked to take advantage of the fact that everyone else thought she was old. She could complain all she wanted. People were so polite and considerate.
As she approached her destination, she became suspicious. Something had changed. A new bench had been deposited beside the bus shelter. Marcella was uncomfortable with change so she looked at this new piece of outdoor furniture with distrust.
“Now why would someone put a pretty new bench out here where it can get all wet?” She queried, “kids will be playing on it before you know it and it will get damaged. Now why would they do something so silly?”
“So that you can be more comfortable while you wait for your bus, you silly old woman!”
Marcella was startled! She let out a sharp cry and turned around.
“Land sakes! Beatrice you scared five years off my life! And you are late!”
Beatrice didn’t respond immediately. She simply nodded at the first woman and then proceeded to make herself comfortable on the new bench. After a moment’s hesitation Marcella followed suit. And then the conversation continued.
“I think it’s very nice of them to want us to be comfortable while we wait for their bus.” Beatrice always seemed to find the good in any situation. She was exactly the same age as Marcella but she looked 10 years younger. People thought the two of them had a strange friendship. One always saw the good and one always saw the bad.
“Well I think it’s a terrible waste of money. They should spend that money on buses so that we aren’t always waiting!” True to form Marcella saw the bad. “And think of the trees that died so that our bums could be comfortable. It is a terrible shame!”
“Oh, I bet this is a green bench. No trees would have been killed. People are getting smart about that.”
“Beatrice you are going blind, this is not a green bench. It’s brown. And an ugly brown too.”
“No, no I am not referring to the colour I’m talking about the bench itself. Nowadays these things are made green.”
Marcella shifted in her seat and stared at her friend. She knew that both of them were getting older and that sooner or later their mental capacities would begin to alter. She hadn’t thought that Beatrice had gotten that old. But now she looked at her very carefully.
“Beatrice what colour is the sky?”
“Well that’s a silly question, its blue.” She turned towards her friend. “Is this a trick question?”
“What colour is the road?”
“Now I know you’re up to something. The road is grey, just like your hair. And before you ask, the grass is green. Now what’s up?”
“Last question. What colour is the bench we’re sitting on?”
“Well, it’s brown. What is going on?”
“Hah! You admit it! This bench is brown!”
“Well of course it’s brown, woman. Are you blind?”
“A minute ago, you said it was green.”
Beatrice looked at her friend dumbfounded for just a moment. And then she burst out laughing. Poor Marcella just looked on, confused.
“Marcella, when some one refers to an item as being green, they are talking about how it was made. Green items are made by recycling other items. They are not necessarily referring to the colour.”
The woman in question sat without moving for just a moment. Then she turned away from her friend and sat up straight facing the road. She was processing what she had just heard and trying to understand it.
“Are you telling me that this bench my bum is residing on could have been somebody’s deck? How do you know where this wood has been? And who has been doing what on it? It could be filthy!” No sooner were the words out of her mouth then Marcella jumped up and turned around to face the offending bench.
“Oh, you silly old woman! Sit down! I don’t care what this bench was in a previous life, now it is comfortable and I can get a load off my feet. That’s all I care about.”
Begrudgingly Marcella did as instructed, but gingerly. As she was settling back down on the bench she started to think.
“Do you think there’s any way we could recycle a few people I know? I can think of something useful I like to make them into: how about two gorgeous 40-year-olds for one wrinkle 80-year-old?”
As both women started to laugh, they saw the bus.