Friday, July 29, 2011

small problems

My grandmother was a very tall woman. All of her children were tall, except for my mother who was the runt of the litter. I, in turn, am the runt of the runt's litter.
The Other, surprisingly enough, is even shorter.
Our schnauzers are miniature.

The Other likes my family. Even tho my big bro is 6'2", Both The Other and I tower over his wife.
I don't know what the legal definition of short is. I read in the paper that short people are worried they'll have nothing to hold on to when seats are ripped out of our trains to make room for more people. It's already bad enough, said one short spokesperson, that travelling on public transport means they have other people's bums in their face all the time.

When I first read this story I did not give it much thought. But today I actually did something totally out of character and cleaned the oven. When I grabbed some steps to clean the range hood, I didn't give it much thought.
It was only when, with the oven door open, I reached in to to wipe the back of the oven I remembered I'm not very tall and, being in proportion to the rest of my body, my arms are relatively short. As I struggled to reach the back of the oven I remembered that when I see people my height they look weird to me. And as I finished cleaning the oven, I remembered that the best thing about crowded trains is if we are all really packed in tight I can't fall over.

When I started secondary school my new uniforms were the smallest size available. My mother sewed up six inches at the waist and hemmed another three inches off the shoulders. When I left school 5 years later only the shoulders had been altered though, by then, at least I could hold a school bag normally without it dragging on the ground. The best thing about being short at school is never having to play sport because no one picked me for their team, I could just take a book along.

Even after I left school and started a new job I still had to ask people to pull the cord for me so I could get off the tram at my stop. The reason I wear 'sensible' shoes is not to reflect my lifestyle, but because I am afraid of heights and refuse to wear heels. I never teased my hair up into a beehive because I didn't want to look desperate to appear taller.

Armchairs, lounges, car seats - all have head rests designed to push the head of a short person forward at an unnatural angle. Being much taller than The Other, when I drive my feet can reach the pedals without me having to jam my fat stomach right up against the steering wheel.

In supermarkets, I climb up on the fixtures to reach stuff off the top shelves. On the way to the car with our shopping, The Other climbs up onto the legs of the supermarket trolley, to ride it down hill.

But even though they are taking seats out of trains and there will be less to hold on to than ever, this is cool. When you live in Melbourne, and you actually manage to get ON a train, you count your blessings. And while standing in a crowded summer train with malfunctioning air-conditioning means my face is usually in some rank armpit, sitting puts my face at groin level.
I drive a sad, old, dented Hyundai. My car has been rear-ended [lady driver turning around to scream at her kids]. I've been backed into [furniture removal van]. I've been side swiped waiting in a left hand lane by some bloke in a brand new car who was rushing to catch a right turn arrow [cost him more than it cost me].

By now you've probably seen pictures of the big car pile up in Monte Carlo. 
The Herald-Sun headline for this story screams '$1m car pile up [it involves a blonde].'
The bingle involved a Bentley, Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche and an Aston Martin.

Some wag commented that the next time a used car salesman claims a car was 'only driven by a lady' potential buyers should exercise caution. 

The cars ended up packed so tightly together the driver could not open her car doors and was trapped. She must be blonde, commented another wag, because she was in an open convertible.

I can see the humour in blonde jokes, even before someone tries to explain them to me. I don't mind having blonde hair; it's more than my brothers have. They've reached an age where the only hair they grow is sprouting from their ears. It's blonde.

When I searched for 'blonde jokes' Google immediately located 1,900,000 hits.

A blind guy on a bar stool shouts to the bartender, "Wanna hear a blonde joke?"
In a hushed voice, the guy next to him says, "Before you tell that joke, you should know something. Our bartender IS blonde and the bouncer is blonde. I'm a 6' tall blonde, 200 lb black belt. The guy sitting next to me is a blonde, 6' 2, weighs 225 and he's a rugby player. The fella to your right is 6' 5" pushing 300 and he's a wrestler. Each one of US is blonde. Think about it, Mister. You still wanna tell that joke?"
The blind guy says, "Nah, not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times."


  1. Hahaha! As a tall person, I don't actually get why several short people I know take it as an insult to be referred to as 'short'. And Red is just an extreme shade of blonde, right?!

  2. Figure I may as well get a laugh out of being short - everybody else does! I admire the great photos you take and envy that travelling you do... and I can't help but feel blonde hair is just a pale imitation of red...