A quick thank you to shorter friends who willingly take the back seat

One of my core values is remembering to show gratitude. On Friday, I was getting into the car of my coworker and my other co-worker instantly insisted that I get the front seat. I don’t mind getting in the back seat, but I definitely appreciate the consideration whenever my friends willingly jump in the back.

So all I want to say tonight is thank you, from my knees to yours.

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Tall Health: Back Pain

Throughout my twenties (yes, unfortunately ALL of my twenties are behind me, wah) I experienced sporadic back pain. I was doing alright in my thirties until about two Thursdays ago when I suffered the most intense back pain of my life. Not only was it excruciating to walk more than quarter of a step at a time, it was painful to sit, lie down, and stand. I was a walking, er– hobbling- pity party. The worst part was that I felt that I could have prevented it.

It’s a small world

As I have discussed in this  blog and will continue to do, the world is not built for the vertically enhanced. My chiropractor, who helped me a lot during this time, reminded me that even a small hunch while standing at my counter chopping veggies causes extra strain on my spine. And I thought about how many times a week I do that.

So why did I think I could have prevented it? Simply because I know that to offset the extra everyday strains of low counters and uncomfortable chairs, among others, I need to make a concerted effort to keep myself fit- in particular my core. And had I ever let my strength and fitness slide.

This back brace is not a fashion statement

As comfortable as my back-brace belt is, I’d rather know that my own muscles can act to support my teetery spine rather than an external aid. Sheesh! To my friends and family- call me on my laziness and be enablers to my physical well being! And if you are tall too, let my experience be a reminder to you that keeping your spine in a strong, happy bed of muscles is the best thing you can do for yourself. I am going to start with Pilates, by recommendation of my chiropractor.

Check out this discussion at the Tall Street Journal (ha! cute, right?) regarding being tall and back pain for more info.

This is not me, but it will be soon.

Is there a tall lady “nod?”

It’s like when drivers of the same car make flash their lights at one another on the road. A friend of mine used to have a Mini Cooper and once mentioned that she had participated in a reciprocal wave or headlight-flash of sorts with other Mini Cooper drivers. Respect. In the last few months, I have had a series of interactions with remarkably tall ladies and each one has been quite different and leaves me to wonder whether we need to decide if we are going to talk about the giraffe in the room and get that, “Yep, we’re both tall,” conversation out of the way. I am going to share these situations and welcome further opinion or insight.

THE STARBUCKS LINE UP: I found myself behind a lady wearing the same height heels and I am pretty sure, was the same height as me. Do we acknowledge?
NO. I am pretty confident on this one. Unless the line is extraordinarily long or there’s some other reason to chat, it doesn’t need to happen. Sometimes, it’s about as relevant as having the same color shoes. Coooooool……

IN A CLASSROOM: I took a course a few months back and one of my peers was arguably as tall as me, if not taller. Throughout the five days of class, there were a few moments where she shared a moment about the way her coworkers mocked her because of her height. I found myself longing, neigh- feeling entitled to a shout out. A simple, “Yvonne, you must get that sometimes,” or the opportunity for a knowing eyeroll exchange and smile. Didn’t happen. Seriously? Fine.

DRUNK AT THE BAR: This one is pretty obvious. You don’t have to think about this one for too long to figure out how this conversation goes:
On a crowded dance floor
Me: Heeeeeeyyyyyyy! Are you taller than me? I think you might be taller than me!
Tall girl: Hey noooooo! I think YOU’RE taller than meeeeeees!
Me: Really?!?! Noooo!? I can never tell if someone is taller or the same, when we’re all so TALL!
Tall girl: Yay being tall! [turns to her friend] This is my new friend! Look how tall she is!
Friend: Wow, you ARE both tall!

And so on. Fun is had by all. (Except for the men who don’t dig being surrounded by tall glamazons…That’s another post entirely.)

AT THE AIRLINE COUNTER: This was an experience I appreciated. A fellow tall lady was looking out for me. And I didn’t notice her at first- she was like a ninja, appearing from beyond the baggage belt. I was about to leave the counter and suddenly she was right behind med when I turned around. She handed me a piece of paper. “When you have a chance, have a look at this. It’s a clothing website for tall women.” I thanked her and appreciatively took the paper and looked at it: longtallsally.com. It’s an American based site and although I truthfully haven’t spent a lot of time on the site, the gesture was not lost on me.

In review of my experiences, it has not gone over my head that the desire to be acknowledged for our proud affliction (if you see it that way) is out there. By myself, and by others, even if they don’t want to throw me a bone. Maybe I’ll even start telling them about my li’l blog.

Tall Airlines

Can’t you just see it? Tall Airlines’ fleet will boast the first planes made to accommodate the comfort and eliminate the inconveniences that tall people experience when traveling by air.

Tall Airlines will feature:

– Higher seatbacks to allow for neck support

– At least 15 cm more leg room. This would also ensure that the person in the seat in front of you can recline their seat without crunching down on your kneecaps.

– Higher overhead compartments. I’m tired of the unnecessary strain on my back having to duck at the waist to get in and out of my seat.

…and more! As Tall Airlines is in its infancy stages of planning, I welcome more recommendations.

This post was obviously provoked by my travels this weekend on an airplane. Until Tall Airlines is fully operational, I have some tips for the tall travelers to minimize the frustrations:

– Ladies: wear flats. Soon, I will share my positioning on the “should tall ladies wear heels” debate, but in this case, I will always stand by wearing flats when traveling. This is a situation where enhancing your height is definitely not to your benefit.

– Ask for the seat by the emergency exit: depending on the aircraft, there is usually extra legroom between your seat and the one in front of you- OR, better yet, there is sometimes NO seat in front of you!

– Or, better yet, just plan ahead when booking your seat. I stumbled upon seatguru.com which lets you select your airline and flight number and then tells you which aircraft you will be on, which are the good seats, and which seats have drawbacks! Pretty cool.

There’s no question that traveling isn’t a pain in the patella for most people, but it is definitely worse those with limbs longer than the average, er, bird. Happy future travels!

Burdened with the Umbrella

Today our fair city had a reluctant reprieve from the beautiful spring weather when I awoke to grey skies and an ambitious drizzle.  I, for one, am a careless Vancouverite- that, or I have just accepted that an umbrella doesn’t really prevent my hair from getting frizzy in this moist weather.

I was thinking all day today about something that is unique to tall ladies in this weather and I fought off  the urge to discuss the cliche that we are first to experience the rain, being so much closer to the clouds.

Instead, let’s acknowledge that as the tall person amongst friends, we are always stuck carrying the umbrella. Not to say that others don’t offer- let’s be honest, however, that no matter how hard they try to keep that umbrella propped up above our heads, we always get bopped in the head with the pole, or the fabric from the umbrella rests on your head and is really what’s keeping that thing up although from behind it looks like the umbrella has a deformity.

Another fun moment is when your hair gets caught in the spokes and ripped out of your head at a sudden dip in the pavement, curve, or falter of your friend’s arm muscles.

At that, I insist- allow me, I will carry the umbrella!