I’m a short man. However, contrary to the opinion any reasonable person reading this blog would have formed, I don’t suffer from short-man syndrome. At least I don’t think so. I’m fairly polite in the flesh, a little more empathetic than most and well aware of my own limitations.
One of those limitations is my ability to comfortably wield an umbrella at a height that doesn’t gouge out the eyes of taller human beings. Indeed, to avoid this from happening, I keep a constant vigil when I’m out and about in the rain so that should any person above 5’ 6” enter my immediate surroundings I am able to either move my umbrella, stretch my arm upwards to raise it above their head, or reconfigure the apparatus entirely. I’m nice like that. Plus, I figure it’s a bit off to sacrifice a taller person’s sight for my comfort and relative dryness. It just seems an unfair trade.
Alas, this isn’t a trait shared by many of my vertically challenged peers. I’ve even been on the receiving end of brolly wielders more petite than myself, and can attest to the fact that they can be obliviously vicious.
I can understand such behaviour, if not condone it. When you’re small and that umbrella goes up you’re in your own little world. With everything above your eye level obscured by waterproof fabric, taller people are temporarily erased from existence – only their legs and torsos remain. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.
But they’re still there, the faces of the tall people. The fact that you can’t see them doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly retracted their heads into their body cavity like some horrific man-tortoise hybrid. Their vulnerable, fleshy cheeks full of blood vessels and other penetrable organic structures are still present, still mere inches from the sharp prongs of your umbrella, and still perfectly susceptible to scratches and lacerations. Think about that the next time you charge down a busy pavement in the rain.
Better yet, think about it, and then do something about it. Thanks.