Sunday, January 15, 2006

What's the weather like up there?

I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked that in my life. I am 6ft 2. I am a girl. I am tall.

''Do you play basketball?' and 'Gosh you're tall' are other old favorites. The ingenuity and the wit behind these comments never ceases to dumbfound me. Everyone who has ever uttered one of these sharp witted one liners has delivered it with the originality of a cloned mouse. They are stunningly convinced that never before have I had the good fortune to stumble upon a being with such show stopping humour. They are wrong.

You would have thought that a person such as myself, being in possession of such obviously superior intelligence and wit (not to mention height) would have gathered, over the years, a collection of piercing retaliations to throw at these clowns. I have not.

What do I do? Sometimes I ignore them, usually I mutter 'yes I know'. Boy oh boy do I make them feel small. I walk away with my head held high satisfied with the efficient manner with which I have deflated them. I am pathetic.

What is the answer? It's out there, but I have never found it. I have a badge that says 'not to scale'. I thought that was funny for a while. I nearly bought a t-shirt declaring 'no I do not play basketball'. Nothing comes close to expressing the indignation I feel towards these numpsters. I need help.

What makes them think they have the right? What is so unique about us tallies? Do inebriated suits walk up to overweight girls in bars and ask 'are you a sumo wrestler?', do builders whistle at my vertically challenged sisters 'hey shortie!'? What is it about being tall? Why do people feel they have an open invitation to comment upon the glaringly obvious? I don't know.

I hated being tall when I was a teenager. I think, however, we all despise something about ourselves during those hormone fuelled years. I have grown into my height, it has shaped my personality and now I walk proud. It makes me different, I am memorable. Of course there are times when I would love to be able to slip under the blanket of a crowd and become invisible, but mostly I enjoy being different. I am me.

On the 7th July we were plunged into darkness, we remember each other from the words that were spoken. We recall men, women and voices but we do not remember faces. Our bonds were formed through being there together, through talking and touching, not from seeing. It is very rare that people from the same carriage recognise each other visually. Everyone remembers me.