Thursday, 27 September 2007

The future's bright... and small

I have alluded in previous posts to how my life is over-run with small things. It really is. I live with short people. On the Midget-Human-Giant spectrum, Stray is marginally taller than a legal midget (and thus a super-midget, verging on the sub-human). Badger is short for a human but rather tall for a badger, lying in the sub-human to human zone. (I suppose there is a clue in the species...) I am most certainly not short - nudging on 6ft, give or take, depending on how long it's been since I got out of bed, and the height of my heels. I fall somewhere between super-human and sub-giant territory.

I like being tall. I like the fact that, more often than not, my nostrils are well clear of other people's armpits on packed tubes and trains. This is usually a good thing, except when I find myself 'facing' under-heighted men whose heads are closer to my chest than the normal rules of decorum would allow. I also like the fact that the grey hairs which are beginning to sprout on the top of my head are out of sight of most other people.

I've observed aspects of being short which are less than ideal. Stray can barely reach the pedals in her car. This strikes me as A Thing Which Is Not Good.

I am tall enough to be able to reach a clothes lines strung high enough to hang bedlinen from without it engaging with passing dogs without having to jump and catch the line at full stretch.

I might be tempted to feel slightly superior, but I am instead rather jealous of my semi-pint housemates (see, I have to insult them at every opportunity to get over the sense of inadequacy caused my unnecessary height, mass and volume.)

Here's why:

  • They buy children's clothes and pay no VAT;
  • The loss of human functionality incurred on shrinking a human appears to be extremely nonlinear in favour of the midgets;
  • They fit in a normal size bed without feet hanging out the end or head crushed against the headboard;
  • They can live in tiny spaces and not get claustrophobic;
  • They can't see the dust on top of the fridge;
  • They can walk through the 'garden' without danger of being decapitated by low-hanging vines and other vegetation of horizontally-orientated growth;
  • They can walk on the roof without fear of it collapsing;
  • They have oodles of leg room on even the most cramped of commuter trains;
  • They weigh less, consume less fuel to transport, and require less food to sustain, being inherently more ecologically sustainable;
  • They are less likely to damage extraneous limbs or graze knuckles when climbing up stairs;
  • They have less far to fall;
  • They look sort of sweet, in the way that the next iteration of unfeasibly small laptops and mobiles look sweet.

Damn them...

On the other hand:
  • I do not have to perform minor athletic miracles every time I hang out my washing;
  • I can fully utilise top shelves;
  • My arms are sufficiently long to be able to put duvet covers on duvets unaided;
  • I can usually reach the loo roll, regardless of the ingenuity of the last visitor to the facility in replacing it after use;
  • I can see over the counter at the chippy;
  • And over the dashboard of my car;
  • People do not feel the need to tell me when they have encountered someone shorter than me.

On balance, though, I think the short people have it. They're certainly better for the planet. Perhaps a selective breeding programme should be established in the interests of a sustainable future...


Pixie said...

This item is largist and smallist and takes no account of equality for those of us somewhere in the middle.Why didn't we get a mention, is there a support group us in the middle could attend to fight for our rights.It is an outrage, an affront, an insult, a large cream cake....

trousers said...

As a child, The Other Side Of The Chip Shop Counter held many mysteries to me: it was more impenetrable than looking through the frosted glass window to see what it was like in the pub.

I'm tall enough to see over the chip shop counter now, but small enough not to see the dust on top of the fridge. Life's not too bad being a little under average height.

But Why? said...

There I was thinking that by being heightest and shrimpest in approximately equal measure, I could get away with those comments. I'd love to do a piece on the inadequacy of the average, but I'm not sure it's something I'm qualified to discuss (in both good and bad ways - there are upsides and downsides to being an over-heighted geek). xx

Being able to see over the counter at the chippy is an under-recognised rite of passage. I feel immensely sorry for those members of the population who never make it to that height. I do envy your inability to see the lurking dust atop the fridge, tho. I believe in these situations, ignorance is bliss. Fortunately, I'm not tall enough to see the top of the door frames... xx

trousers said...

Actually, regarding the fridge, I realised I AM tall enough, and it's the whisky bottles that stop me seeing the dust. I'm sure the fact that I assumed it was down to a lack of height suggests some deeper psychological truth. Which as we know, can lead to art.

Sorry. It's Friday. I feel free!

KindaBlue said...

Nah, it's us tall folk all the way.

Granted, cleaning the skirting boards is a bit of a miserable task, and whenever we suffer from cramp we look like John Cleese doing his Ministry of Silly Walks skit.

But - and here's the clincher for me - we are more sustainable in a socio-political sense, because our feet can touch the floor whenever we sit at desks. Therefore, we cost the NHS less in injuries caused by poor posture and thus extend the viability of the socialist principles of universal healthcare.

That's my story, anyway...

But Why? said...

I am concerned that the number of whisky bottles on top of your fridge is preventing you from seeing the dust accumulation. Are you sure they are stowed safely enough that an over-enthusiastic closure of the fridge door will not result in the bottles jumping a kinetic barrier and making their way gleefully to a thermodynamically more stable position, broken into many pieces on the floor and with the whisky a sorry puddle? Did you carry out a risk assessment before placing these precious items in their precarious position? Health and Safety will no doubt be having words! xx

Yes. But then again, I strongly, fervently believe the cleaning of skirting boards to be an indulgent waste of life. I suggest you replace any planned skirting board cleaning with something more posturally suitable and life-enriching, such as climbing trees or buying fish and chips... And as for being more suited than the little people for sitting at desks, well, I think we should keep quiet about these things as otherwise we might end up with more work to do, and that would be a Very Bad Thing. xx

trousers said...

but why?, given that I am responsible for health and safety policy and its implementation in my obode; and given that I also have responsibility for all aspects of risk assessment (taking into account:
likelihood of enthusiastic door closure = low; severity of same = low;
unsafe stowage of bottles = low (the fuller they are, the furthest from the edge they are);
likelihood of bottles becoming more precarious = low (due to an almost imperceptible lean backwards)

(deep breath)...GIVEN all of that,

I've forgotten what I was going to say.

ps Likelihood of long-lasting liver problems = medium/high

But Why? said...

Your devotion to Health and Safety in the abode is admirable and would no doubt exceed the expectations of even the most punctilious of inspectors. Have you ever considered it as a career?

But Why? ducks to reduce risk of collosion with low-flying whisky bottles...

But Why? said...

d'oh. Collision. I meant collision.

trousers said...

Ah yes - and I meant abode, not obode. D'oh from me too!

DJ Kirkby said...

Nope, I am a tall one too and we rule! Okay maybe not cute but hey the majority of people would get a kink in their necks trying to ascertain my degree of cutness anyway, so they don't bother! 'Sides, I am too independant and having to ask for help in reaching high items would be a living nightmare for me!

Ms Melancholy said...

As quite a small person - as well you know Dr But Why? - I rather enjoyed your list. However, travelling on commuter trains in London convinced me that an extra few inches would make my life so much more pleasant. Other people's armpits are sooo not where I want my face to be. I loathed it so much I took to cycling - much rather risk my life on the Holloway Road than sniff another stranger's loathsome armpit. So, as far as I'm concerned the tall folks have got it good. Best wishes x

But Why? said...

I thought of mentioning the independence advantage that being tall can have, but this can be something of a mixed blessing. Whilst I can reach the top shelves without having to ask other people, my head is permanently above the parapet of suitability of tall people tasks (changing lightbulbs, keeping goal, and heavy furniture relocation). The little people can invest in a stool for temporary height gain when it suits them. It's a far more elegant solution. But I must thank you for gracing my blog and giving me a bit of respite from the back, neck and shoulder aches acquired from trying to converse with the little people from a socially-appropriate level. xx

Ms M,
Lovely to see you here. Allow me to sit down and look you in the eye without slumping, slouching or taking the staring down one's nose approach... Much better. Now, whilst I appreciate that sniffing the armpits of strangers is a greeting ritual best left buried in hidden depths of the latter half of the twentieth century, you seem to have adopted a somewhat cavalier attitude to maintaining your life. I have no idea whether Deal or No Deal still exists, but if you were ever to find yourself as a contestant, I can tell the sweaty armpit of offer certainty would be insufficient to prise you away from the death or glory opening of the box... xx

Rach said...

hahahahahahahaha, loved your post

But Why? said...

Hi. Glad you liked the post. May I ask where you lie on the midget-human-giant continuum?? It's just that the people of average height seem to be a little upset at being overlooked.

I do love your picture, by the way. Most... most colourful.

Casdok said...

Im medium, so have the best of both worlds!!

But Why? said...

I've often wished I was a few inches shorter. As a kid I wished my feet had stopped growing at a 'normal' length, instead of morphing into the flippers I've ended up with. It made buying nice shoes no end of trouble. Trainers were not a problem, but shoes... pah! I think, despite Pixie's request for a support group, you people in the middle really do have the best of both worlds.