Reach Tall But Duck Small
They say that inside every short man is a tall man doubled over in pain… and I’ve been told that it’s nice that I’m tall, because there is more of me to hate (or love?).
I’m originally from Ohio. In Ohio the homes are newer, better thought out in terms of the height of people and the growth of cities, society, etc.
Currently, I live in New England where, let’s face it… there was no fore-thought to the growth of communities. The average height of the male when New England was founded (17th century) was 5′ 5″ tall. Now, an interesting tidbit, the average height of a human male in the 9th and 10th centuries was 5′ 8″ tall. That declined until the 17th century when humans began to grow taller again.
Due to this shorter height, much of the older areas in and around New England have buildings that just do not work well with tall people. I am 6′ 2″ tall, not a basketball player height by any means, but definitely tall for an average male (5′ 9′ by today’s standards).
I have a friend who’s home I have gone to several times that has a ceiling fan in their kitchen. The kitchen’s ceiling is, I would say probably just a few inches lower than the normal eight-foot height. However, that difference is just enough that my nerves always rise up about four notches whenever I go near that spinning fan for fear my head will be hit.
Similarly, there are doors that I have gone into (especially in older parts of Boston or Marblehead) that I have to duck to keep from hitting my head. In fact, I can think of one subway station, in particular, I always need to duck when heading down the stairs. Nothing worse than slamming your head into a concrete ceiling. *ouch!*
There are however advantages to being tall. You can see over a crowd and work your way around it (those of you that own SCVs know exactly what I’m talking about). Also, in the home, you can take advantage of things that others might not be able to, such as those spaces on tops of cabinets or refrigerators in the kitchen or closet.
Lastly, it gives me a chance to be a gentleman to ladies (like I need a reason) in the store who can not reach that item on the top shelf – something I’m asked to help with at an alarming frequency, but happy to do.
Little Hobbits and Hiding Places
Respectively, there are those who are shorter. You might be surprised, but I envy short people sometimes, being able to slip through places that I cannot. I also tend to forget that there are things that seem obvious to me – such as laying a key on top of a shelf that I can easily see that they may not be able to. Or living in a house where the spices are so high up over the stove that they can’t reach them.
My grandmother was a whopping five-two. She used to have a stool in the kitchen so that she could reach things on high shelves, and phone books on her seat in the car so she could see over the steering wheel. I will admit that her height did come in handy when she wanted to kick you in the shins for not listening.
In recent years I’ve seen kitchens that had cabinets specially designed for people of shorter stature. Very cool designs, these cabinets are mounted on special rails that slide or ‘bend’ down to a height that a person may then use them, and then spring-loaded so they can easily be put back into place. Amazing and creative!
One other advantage about being small that I’ve learned from my children, there are places to hide that I had completely forgotten about. Such as my keys being hidden in small places behind the entertainment center where I would never in a million years think to look.
It may be a small and tall world, but I’m very glad we all get to live in it together. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have such diversity in inventions and unique perspectives on things.
So a big “Yay” to the Short and a “Yay” to the tall and a “Hooray” to everyone in-between! Happy Twisted Thursday!