Thursday, 18 November 2010

A Short Tale (and a cryptic note)

Standing short at 5ft 3 and ¾ (which I round up to 5ft 4, obviously), I am not exactly the tiniest person in the world, but I do frequently find myself living below the natural eye line of friends and family. This includes my ‘little’ sister, as measured by age, who quickly becomes my ‘big’ sister when measured by height. This is disappointing to me.

It was not always this way though. I have previously been a tall person (well, relatively speaking, at least).

When I left primary school, I was second tallest in our class – obviously an important fact, given that I recall it some eighteen years later. Being one of the tallest was a way of life that I had spent 11 years becoming accustomed to, so I wasn’t exactly prepared when I started high school and within a year, witnessed everyone around me shooting up to the size of giants while my height stubbornly refused to change. 

I still remember the first time I realised that I was officially ‘short’. It was during a PE lesson when I was sixteen and we were told to measure our height and compare it to the expected average for our age. I was not only below average for my age, but fell squarely into the average height of a thirteen year old. I wasn’t even the same height as a tall thirteen year old. And the thing is, I’m pretty sure I spent the next thirteen years failing to get any taller, which means I’m now the same height as sixteen year old me when I was the average height of a thirteen year old.

And that is a pain in the ass, because being the height of a just-teenager makes things more difficult than they need to be. For example, I can’t stand flat footed in front of the mirror on our bathroom cupboard, because if I do, this is what I see:

I have to rely on Fiance to get down any ingredients I need that happen to reside on the top shelf in the kitchen cupboard. (I did actually buy a little foldaway stool that was very handy for a while. But then I found a dead spider stuck to it, and it will probably come back to life and eat me if I try to dispose of it).

And when I go to a gig, I can pretty much guarantee that this is going to be my view of the whole show: 

But these are mere trifles compared to the ultimate challenge I was faced with earlier today. I have been expecting a DVD box set (House M.D. Season 2 – late to discover it, but seriously addicted) to arrive since Monday, and its non-arrival was slowly leading me to suspect that our slightly unreliable post man had delivered my post to someone else’s house, rather then his usual tactic of delivering everyone else’s post to our house (regardless whether or not the intended address was remotely similar to ours). He is a special postman.

I got back from work to once again find a distinct lack of package waiting for me. Stopping mid-way through a sigh of resignation, I spotted this scribbled note from Postie on the envelope of a letter lying on the mat. 

Forgetting the parcel I was expecting in order to make the most of my imagination, I asked myself what the cryptic message could mean. I studied the words. 'You have A PUT IN BLUE BIN'. What is a ‘put’? I have never heard of a put – is it good or bad? Why the capitalisation of the words 'put in blue bin'? Is Postie letting me in on a secret about some wonderful object that resides in the blue bin, or is he sending a warning because he discovered a horrible creature dwelling within?

Or maybe it was an algebraic code, and scribbled on another envelope was the information required to decipher his message. Something like 'A = a package that looks like a DVD box set'.

Eventually, I stopped playing Poirot, and checked the contents of the blue bin (which I should probably point out is for recyclable material, rather than grimy rubbish), hoping Postie’s message did indeed mean the DVDs were here. And joy to the world, it did and they were! I was delighted.

There was just one small problem. 

Despite tipping the bin to various different angles and shifting my position slightly to the left or to the right, I could not will my arms to be long enough to reach the parcel sitting so demurely at the bottom of the bin. After five minutes, I was forced to give up that tactic when an unexpected movement from the bin during a particularly vigorous reach led to me to realise that Fiance could well come home and find this vision waiting for him at the front door:

Managing to defy physics, I manipulated the bin onto its side within the minuscule amount of space available to me and just about succeeded in using one arm to tip the bottom of the bin gradually upwards, whilst leaving the other in charge of making sure the lid didn’t flop open (thus saving the box set from an ungraceful fall into a dangerously close patch of muddy soil).

While the tactic worked, it was not my most successful – thanks to the rain that kindly coincided with my retrieval mission, I got soaked by the water that hadn’t run off the bin because my arms weren’t long enough to stretch along its length without body hugging it.

So technically, while the operation was a success on the basis that I successfully retrieved a slightly soggy DVD box set-shaped package from the bin, I have to say the process was a tad unnecessary, and a lot damper than it needed to be. That is my main reason for saying that being short sucks, because if I was taller, then maybe I wouldn't have had to hug a wet bin.

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