March 15, 2005

Are all the people in charge of public transport midgets?

I'm 5'11''. I'm reasonably tall, especially for a girl. But I'm not some gigantic out of proportion being, who sticks out like a sore thumb in every day life. (Okay, well, maybe I do – but that's not really a height thing – it's more to do with my tendency to trip on kerbs and steps that everyone else manages to avoid, spill anything remotely hot or prettily coloured enough to maim or stain, and you already know my issues with automatic doors…)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Basically the point is that I'm not more than an ordinary amount of tall. I may be the tallest girl that I know, but I know lots of guys who have at least a couple of inches on me, and if I have problems with everyday things like buses, then they must suffer a great deal more.

There are a lot of buses where I can't actually sit straight on a seat. Physically, my thigh bones won't fit, unless I'm bruising my knees by ramming them into the seat back in front. Not a problem, except at peak times of day, when, to be honest, if I can't find an aisle seat I'd rather stand. At least then I wouldn't lose all feeling in my feet by the end of a forty five minute bus journey. (Yesterday evening + Liverpool to Heswall + rush hour = almost falling off bus due to pins and needles by the time we got to my stop). I love ancient Travel Coventry buses. The lack of suspension and smell of mould is worth it for those extra miles of leg room between the seats.

The same goes for trains. I used to think that bagging a table seat was the answer, until I accidentally kicked an elderly lady quite hard in the shin when I was trying to get rid of leg cramp. Now, to avoid any more GBH, I stick to the conventional two seat option. Aeroplanes are even more interesting. I'm quite a popular holiday companion as nobody ever has to fight for the window seat when travelling with me.

What is it about tall people? Do the bus companies assume that tall people don't use public transport? Are we just so wonderful that people automatically assume that we have too much money to ever travel with the rest of the less privileged world? Even clothes are more expensive… and don't get me started on the price of shoes… They ought to give tall people government grants, to cover expenses such as large supplies of arnica for constantly bruised heads (on that one, that might just be me – see above re: Lizzie's general cackhandedness).

Ah well, it's not all doom and gloom. On the upside, I never suffocate at gigs, even the most scary thrashy ones; I almost always get shotgun (in order to save anyone else the torment of having to share the backseat with me as I shuffle and fidget in an effort to get my legs in some sort of acceptable position); and if Trivial Pursuit ever included a category on makes of buses and the differing leg room from seat to seat on each particular bus, you'd want me on your team.

I can't be alone on this. There must be tons of people who are taller than me, and suffer the same loss of feeling, bruising and cramps in the name of carrying on with day to day life… it's enough to make me want to get a car – so that I wouldn't be able to afford to go anywhere, but I could rest in my isolation in the beautiful knowledge that if I could, it would be in a comfortable fashion. It's a cruel world… :-P

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  1. I'm about the same height as you and it's a real bugger, isn't it? You should see some of the buses in London.

    15 Mar 2005, 15:51

  2. I never thought someone under 6 foot would suffer such a problem!

    This sort of thing has been driving me batty for years now! Buses- when people expect you to fold up so they can sit next to you, which usually reults with one leg bent up with the knee against the top of the chair in front.

    I charge thee: Never travel on Ryan Air – pitiful sight to see a squad of rowers in such cramped conditions.
    And as a lady at least you have 'some' choice in shoes :'(

    Seriously, the average adult height has been growing for decades… and yet midget transport. Tsk. Sorry for rant.

    16 Mar 2005, 09:41

  3. I'm feeling the too tall pain there. I just try and take an aisle seat and then spread into it which does no favours at all for my terrible posture. The world was designed by average people for average people. They are the enemy…

    19 Mar 2005, 02:37

  4. Indeed… I always smile at people I pass who are taller than me, in friendly solidarity and recognition of our shared trials… but I think they probably just think I'm a bit weird, or am laughing at their extra inches…

    Oh, and as for 'some' choice of shoes… try being a girl who with size 10 feet who doesn't want to spend her life in trainers and old lady court shoes, and you very quickly end up with a lot less than 'some.' I used to spend my life wishing I could magically make my feet 3 sizes smaller, until someone pointed out that if that actually happened, I'd actually be unable to stand up, as I'd be so out of proportion that I'd have teeny pointy barbie feet.

    (Oh and for anyone who's got the same problem – after years of hideous footwear and flipflops, I've now found a mail order company called nine to elleven that actually makes somewhere near pretty shoes for girls with big feet, and trousers that actually reach the floor and don't flap somewhere round my shins. It has been my lifesaver for about 2 years now! But you'd think there'd be more things around for people with taller proportions really, as there's obviously more and more of us!)

    20 Mar 2005, 12:52

  5. Hey Elizabeth
    You should join the rowingf club; then you would feel average to short!

    12 Apr 2005, 08:55

  6. John

    I know exactly what you mean.

    I found this blog which is all about being tall, have a look.

    "A recent government report stated that 30% of UK males are over 6ft and with each generation the population is getting taller. But tall people are a section of society that is often overlooked in almost every way."


    18 Apr 2005, 15:44

  7. Wow – it's nice to know we're not alone. Up with the tall people! (bad unfunny pun not intended) :-)

    19 Apr 2005, 12:21

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