I remember a conversation we had with a colleague, Yoda, right before we moved. His nickname comes from his bald head, large ears and shortish stature. My husband was ragging on him for obvious reasons when Yoda made this statement, “Think of me when you are riding on Asian public transportation.” My hubby laughed and we went on with our business. You see my husband is tall even by western world standards, hanging out at almost 6’2”. It the States that was never a big deal, but here in the land of short people, he’s monstrous.
If the knees in the back of the seat for the full two day plane ride over here wasn’t enough to convince him of incoming discomfort, I don’t know what else would.
Enter the motorized rickshaw. A smallish side-car, usually with a roof, fastened to a motorcycle… a very normal mode of transportation in our area. And since we only have one car (a car I am thankful for every day of my life!!!) my poor 6’2″ hubby will regularly fold himself up Gumby-style into this miniature box and brave the bumpy city streets, often with kids in tow.
Can you can imagine the doorways in a country where the average male is only 5’2”(158 cm)? My husband has to duck to enter the bathroom in his very own home. The average countertop in a kitchen comes to the middle of his thigh. Light fixtures, chandeliers, ceiling fans are all common head hazards for tall people.
It took my husband exactly one week before he had his first busted head. I stood over the wound…clueless, on what to do. I mean it looked like it might need stitches, but were in the world would we get that done. It seemed easier to just clean it (by clean it, I mean dabbing it a little with a q-tip smeared with neosporin). I am thankful he still has a full head of hair and if he ever does lose it, he is too tall for most to see the remnant of his flesh wound.
Our friend, a fellow expat in a neighboring city is even taller. Poor man spent several days in a hospital bed with his legs hanging off the end. If having dengue fever wasn’t enough, laying in the bed of a hospital like a circus freak was just too much.
But being tall has a few benefits. My hubby is always easy to spot in a crowd and he always knows how long the wait is ahead of him. I think you breathe easier being a foot taller than the average population, especially in tight spaces like the elevator or the subway.
But mostly he just lives with the hazards of being squished and bumped around. This land is just not friends for a tall lanky man like himself. But I am always there to help. When I am a little too late yelling out “duck”, I am always there to comfort him with a gentle pat (or a q-tip) when he is gaining his composure from a near decapitation.