There was a Randy Newman song that came out in 1977 which became an instant hit, but I hated with a passion from the very beginning (the MTV even more), and still do. For the sake of today´s topic, here it is:
I am short by any standards, at 152cm, and am proud of my height, it´s just that in some countries I am short and in others I seem to be microscopic! Of all the countries I have lived in, however, Germany has made me feel the smallest both emotionally and physically. I have lost track of the number of times when I stood next to somebody in the train or bus and I barely reached past their elbow! The worst days for me are when the trains are jam packed during rush hour, half the people´s deodorants have expired, and we have suddenly been transmogrified into upright sardines being carted along against our will – and there I am among the Teutonic giants with my nose at everyone´s underarm level.
While living in Asia I grinned every time the Europeans or North Americans complained that the house fixtures were too low for them. The kitchen counters were too low and gave them back pains, the toilet seats were even lower and not comfortable for longer sessions, and they seemed to bump their head against everything. Now here I am, the short Asian in Germany complaining that everything is too high. If I lean in slightly into the kitchen counter, specifically over the stove, my boobs always activate the panels! I need a step ladder to reach the second level of any of my kitchen cabinets, and there is no way for me to reach the top of the windows unless I have an extension arm to whatever gadget I am using. On the intercity trains and some of the local buses my feet don´t touch the floor, so my legs are dangling like the schoolboy next to me. Grrrrr.
Short people have every reason to be grumpy when living in the land of the giants! The number of times somebody´s backpack has hit me in the face is frustrating, and it happened because I was too short to be in their line of vision. I mean, I am a human teapot, short and stout, there is technically no way you can miss me – unless of course you are 230cm tall and can´t be bothered with any living creature below 170cm. Sigh. Oh, and buying clothes in this country, are always a challenge, especially pants and skirts, when the length of the article of clothing in question is my entire height! Yes, there are petite sizes in the larger department stores, but there is not always a 1:1 correspondence to the regular-sized items.
My pet peeve in Germany, however, is the much favoured cocktail table (Stehtisch) at receptions or outdoor cafes, particularly the Christmas markets. While the average German stands around leaning happily with his or her beer, wine, or grog, the damn table is already up to my chin and there is no possible way for me to remain calm, cool, and at par while feeling like a kindergarten child allowed at the grown-up table. Even if I wear heels I still can´t be at the expected level. Double grrrr.