Saturday, October 22, 2005

Scene 65: Court

A young high school student was following me around the other day at work as I negotiated some cases. She was really sweet and quiet and shy. Finally, after about 45 minutes of observing me and not saying a word, we get ready to go into another courtroom. As we're about to walk in she finally says: " You're tall." I say "I know" and we go into the next courtroom.


At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Uri Breitman said...

Hi, I'm from Israel. The American mentality ("Leave me alone, I want my privacy") is very different from the Israeli mentality ("talk to me, we might be related somehow").

This blog reflects a cultural alienation which has its down-side. In Israel people don't treat privacy as a god, and most people here understand that society is sometimes like one big family.

My tired point is this: people who are talking about your height are not always bothering you - they are humans trying to interact with humans, like humans did, do and will keep on doing.

If you will reply with more originality to the "you're tall" remarks, you will get more out of life, and feel better. The common "I know" answer is not making the world a better place, and not making you happier, either.

Good luck, short-pants.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger Cladeedah said...

My blog is an example of me interacting on my own terms, sharing my height anecdotes when and where it suits me. When I am at my grandfather's funeral trying to interact w/ people who knew my grandfather, I don't want to talk about being tall. When I am drunk and crying, I don't want to oblige someone else's curiosities and talk about being tall.

Do people in Israel stop each other in the street to exclaim the obvious? Do they stop fat people and say, "My, you're fat!" Or old people and say, "Damn, you're old!" I would imagine not. I don't think it's as much a privacy issue for me as it is a social grace issue.

If you read back far enough in this blog, you'll see a pattern. People don't say witty things to me. They don't try to get to know me. They also don't care where we are. Courtesy and common sense go out the window. People say rude, obvious, ridiculous things and it gets really old. If that's how my "societal family" is going to treat me, then frankly I'd rather be an orphan.

And the reason I always say "I know" is because it's just enough to snap people back to reality, without hurting their feelings.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Chesty McTickles said...

you tell her/him cla-cla!!!!....

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

I can see Uri's point to a degree. I don't think that other tall people in other cultures necessarily feel or think the same about the comments they receive. It might be in Israel that people say "Wow, you're fat" and the fat person doesn't really care. But we're not in Israel and people here know that it's not considered polite to be commenting in some of the ways they do.

Additionally, I don't think every instance you post is negative. There are plenty of nitwits to be sure, but a couple of moments (I'm thinkin' that guy at the 7-11 in Reno) which some positive and funny interactions happened, where you seem not be offended. Dunno. Maybe I've misread some of it though...

At 2:01 AM, Blogger Cladeedah said...

Shannon - correct, I'm not always complaining. This blog is mostly about the idiots, but it's also about the random nice comments too. The point is mostly to demonstrate how often I get stopped about my height - more about documenting in hopes that people will get the hint and resist the urge to tell tall people the same stupid crap they've heard a billion times before. I'm used to it now, but of course I'd prefer if the comments were purely positive. Unfortunately, most times they're not.

I get that cultures are different. But people w/ in cultures are individuals. Some people are shy, some people are not. My mother and sister are EXTREMELY social people. They make friends with just about everyone they meet. My dad was not at all social. I'm a lot like my dad. I tend to not be so social/extroverted/friendly. I don't see anything wrong w/ that. It's just not who I am. Maybe it's not so much my American culture but my own personal nature/attributes that make me want to be left alone.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Uri Breitman said...

Hi again,

I didn't meet to criticize you in any way. You are what you are - your character is not the issue here, and you're not to blame for alienating cultural conceptions.

What I'm trying to recommend to you is to improve your own life by treating people differently. If people say "You're Tall!", you can answer with "Isn't that amazing?" or "and I feel great! how do you feel?", or "Are you happy for me that I'm so tall?", or even "You're 100% correct, how did you spot that?" - all with a smile. You will make people happier, yourself happier, and profit by getting people to treat you better.

This fits in with the Israeli attitude of "Talk to me, man", because you'll never know what will happen if you'll be rude to someone who may meet you again soon.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Cladeedah said...

What if I just start telling people to "Eat shit" w/ a smile? I think that might make me happier as well. :-)

Look man, when you've been harassed every day of your life, multiples times, about the exact same thing, in the exact same way, you can tell me to smile and say "Have a nice day." (Think Groundhog's Day - the Bill Murray movie if they have it in Israel.) But until you've walked a mile in my shoes, you should keep your "be a shiny happy person" advice to yourself. First of all, it's not who I am, second, why would I want to be sweet and smiley and encourage people to harass other tall people? I think "eat shit" would have a really nice deterrent effect and would make other tall people's days go a little smoother.

At 4:05 AM, Anonymous Uri Breitman (29, Israel) said...

Hi Claudia,

Yes, we have the Bill Murray film in Israel... :-)

You'd be surprised, but I'm running a specialist site on the web, and get asked the same questions over and over again. Well, after putting an FAQ page I still get the same questions (not "how tall are you", but you get the drill).

I always answer with a smile, and with a sense of humor. It's always much better than trying the negative attitude.

After all, you can't change the world and convince people to stop asking you how tall are you. All you can do is make the best of it - and the positive attitude always wins. After all, people are really curious about this, they're not mean or anything.

I hold the highest respect for your blog and your writing - I'm just trying to endorse a more positive attitude towards this "people harassing me" issue. I'm 100% sure that the positive attitude is more fulfilling.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Cladeedah said...

I disasgree that your web site questions parallel my situation. Height is something that I was born with. I have no choice but to deal with stranger-comments. Your situation is more akin to being a celebrity. You choose to host a website. In fact, the whole point of your site is to get traffic, so the more people the better, and the friendlier the customer service, the more traffic you'll get. Again, not the same as my situation. I did not choose to be in the "customer service" business.

I also disagree that you can't change the world. The few people that have read my blog have frequently commented that they now leave tall people alone. It may not be many, but at least it's helping.

Also, you have no place to argue that people are not mean to me. They are. You don't know because you haven't walked a mile in my shoes. Although many are friendly and positive, many are not.

Next, althugh you said before that you did not intend to criticize me, that is exactly what you are doing by telling me I have a poor attitude and to just just suck it up and smile each time someone goes through the ridiculous "how tall are you/do you play basketball" rigamaroll. I am never nasty to people, so I don't see what the problem is. Ironically, part of the purpose of this blog, as stated in the menu bar, is to demonstrate my unparalled patience. The fact that I haven't gone postal and that I don't curse people out each and everytime should be positivity enough.

I am generally a very happy, very positive person. I even like being tall, believe it or not. But I do have a chip on my shoulder about the contant stupid questions. And rightfully so. ANYONE IN MY POSITION WOULD BE FRUSTRATED. (See the other tall girl's comments throughout this blog for reference). So my position is that people should know that about tall people - that they don't like to be harassed - and respect that. I'm not the one being rude, they are, so they are the ones that need to modify their behavior, not me.

And if I want to go home and bitch about how stupid people are, well then that's cool too. Gives people like you somehting to read about when you're bored. If I didn't complain, there would be no blog.

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Uri Breitman (29, Male, Israel, happy guy) said...

"if I want to go home and bitch about how stupid people are..."
Well, they more curious than stupid. Curiosity is a great human virtue. It makes people learn new things.

You would probably not believe me, but I've read a lot about tall people. The ones who have achieved some kind of publicity, don't dare to call people "stupid". They understand that they're an attraction, they understand that short people feel inferior next to them, and they understand the envy.

You might even not understand the "short attitude" - people are genuinely challanged when spotting a taller person. It's a human instinct: "Hold it! here comes some kind of danger!".

You did not choose to be tall, but people will always react to it, whether you like it or not. Your blog is funny and worth-while, but it's more 'Seinfeld-funny' than 'happy-funny'. Meaning: it's all in the comic aspect of human alienation.

Stay as you are and don't change - that's fine. You are what you are, and you're OK. I'm just trying to promote a more friendly, tolerant, empathetic attitude. It will not be as funny for blog readers, but it might revolutionize your life.

At 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're killing me! You talk and talk and talk and yet you haven't said anything worth listening to. You are an outsider. You have no clue as to what it feels like to be an involuntary walking display for everyone to gawk at and comment on. I respect that you have your own ideas on this subject but it is just that-ideas. We live it, you've only read about it. I don't feel that i have any right to tell someone who is a different race, sex, weight, or height that i understand but this is how you should deal with it because i have no clue as to what they are experiencing or have experienced. You keep saying "you are who you are" and yet keep telling Cladeedah that there are things she should be doing differently--if she did them your way then she wouldn't be who she is.

At 4:58 AM, Anonymous Tony said...

Hi Claudia,

I just wanted to say that you should realize that, as Uri said, people are curious... they don't see that they might be the thousandth person telling "Wow! You're tall" since the beginning of the day. They are just surprized because they've never seen anyone like you and they express their surprize. Yes, it's boring for you, I can understand that.

And I would also like to say that all the tall girls don't react like you: I'm dating a 6'4 girl and I am really amazed because she never complains about remarks. Even to me... She never tells me "I've seen someone in the street who asked me how tall I was" althought it probably happens a lot. And I know it hurts her. But maybe you just complain here on your blog and not in the "real life"

I have a question: most of the remarks you note here are remarks from women; men don't hit on you that much or you just don't feel the need to put it here ?

Anyway, I wish you all the very best and I admire the fact that you always stay calm even if you get really stupid reactions out there sometimes.


PS: sorry for the mistakes I've made, english is not my native language.

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Tony T said...

Claudia, I just wanted to say that I am only 5 ft 8 and I always have considered tall women to be very appealing (they say opposites attract). I wouldn't make comments to such a woman about her height, but I might if I got bold say something along the lines of 'Wow you look fantastic' which would still probably get me into trouble! I also adore women's feet and specially the larger sizes so I'd be hoping to catch a peek at her feet to see how nice they look, if I was lucky enough that she had them on show. Anyway please bear in mind that some at least of us guys would just LOVE to have the chance to be with a woman like you and many of the comments would be from admiration, maybe awkwardly expressed due to the awe factor!
Just my 2 cents worth,
Tony T (from New Zealand)


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