It’s all in the chairs

Being a news reporter my sound like an exciting job, but often, it includes sitting. A lot of sitting.

As I type this, the Maryland House of Delegates is into its eighth straight hour of debating budget and tax bills.

Thankfully, I am not there. I’m actually off today and following the action on Twitter. (Which, actually, is pretty sad!)

I really feel for the reporters at the State House because the reporters’ chairs in the House of Delegates are not friendly to one’s backside.

Quality of chairs is the sort of thing you notice when you cover lots of government hearings, court cases and community meetings. A few venues have lovely, comfortable chairs. Most do not.

The House of Delegates has a press area set up on the floor, not far from the speaker’s rostrum. There are a few rows of those wooden chair-and-desk combos that you may remember from your school days. In fact, I sat in a lot of these kind of chair/desks in college.

The seats are upholstered, but there’s not much padding. The little desk is kind of nice for note-taking, but not if you’re a lefty. And pens tend to roll off onto the floor.

One reporter even joked on Twitter that delegates should have to sit in the reporters’ chairs. Debates would never last as long. Not a bad idea, I say!

The state Senate across the hall is smaller and can get crowded with reporters much more quickly. But the Senate has much nicer accommodations for reporters.

Generously padded red leather chairs are arranged behind large shiny tables. Eight hours in the Senate would definitely be less punishing than in the House.

If I had a rating system for chairs in public places, the state Senate would definitely get the highest rating.

The Anne Arundel County Council has fold-out, auditorium-style seats that aren’t bad. The seats in the front row have little writing tables that you can pull out or leave down to the side — that’s a nice option.

Then you’ve got courthouses, which generally have wooden benches that are like church pews. Thankfully, there are no kneelers.

The award for the worst place to sit through a long news event, though, has to go to any of the number of church halls and fire station halls. Inevitably, they usually have metal folding chairs. Try sitting in a metal chair and talking about zoning for two hours!

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