23 May, 2009

About Height

Humans have had a love affair with height throughout history. The highest mountain, the tallest building, a tall ship or a high-flying plane... even trips to the moon! Perhaps it is only about achieving 'a view from the top'. But I think there's more! 'Reaching for the stars' is a well-known mantra to generations of dreamers. We love the top…

The top of the hill, the top of the stairs, the penthouse views; the tallest tree can be seen from furthest away. As a culture we revere height, especially tall people. Abe Lincoln was tall. Anthony Robbins… tall. A tall person has power unavailable to the smaller of us. Chances of getting your own way are directly related to your height. Political candidates, basketball players, cruise directors and even State Troopers are selected partly because they have a 'look' that includes height.

Classic literature portrays women 'gazing up into the eyes' of their lover. Tall women can be imposing and intimidating. Men rather prefer to be the tallest person in a relationship. A really tall woman seems to defuse the male gender role. Knowing this, I think women choose to dress in heels!

Short people have their own syndrome… 'Short man's syndrome'. There is no such parallel for being tall. Short people have a reputation for being 'scrappy'. Tall people have a more languorous presence.

Tall people can reach to the highest shelf. They have less trouble washing the middle of the roof and observing the tops of our heads! They also have trouble getting their entire body under the covers at one time and avoid sporty cars with low ceilings. Being tall is likely safer, after all Giraffes are lookouts for the animal kingdom. Besides, it's tough to be short. You're the first one to smell a fart and the last one to know it's raining!

03 May, 2009

About Cell Phones

It’s likely we don’t think much about cell phones these days. That is until one rings and it sounds like our own. Everyone has a cell phone. A few days ago I saw an 11 year old girl ranting on her cell while marching out of the supermarket.

Like many of us I managed to get along for years without a cell phone. I already had a home phone and an answering machine and a fax number. Now if I leave home without my cell I feel naked! Adrift. Not connected. Inaccessible.

Cell phones have completely changed parenting. They’ve changed businesses everywhere and access in general. Where would Mulder and Scully be without their cells! Many plot elements of the Hitchcock masterpieces were dependant upon the ringing phone that goes unanswered or the desperate need to find a phone or the ubiquitous plot element “The line’s been cut!” I guess now they'd say: "There's no signal."

Cell phones have tossed into our daily lives a number of difficult issues. For one thing people weren’t that great at driving before this invention. Now 40% of everyone you see on the road is talking on their cell. As soon as they start the car… the phone goes to their ear. Many times they are so busy talking they might sit through a green light leaving the rest of us to wait. See that woman trying to navigate the parking lot who tries to steer her over large SUV with one hand?

Standing in line at the cash register and a woman is busy saying nothing into her cell but is so engrossed she‘s wasting the time of everyone behind her. Not to mention that we just don’t want to hear about your personal, private business! It’s excessive… TMI (too much information). Just because the phone is portable doesn’t mean you should manage your affairs while everyone else is listening. What could possibly be so important that you can’t call back when other business has finished?

A guy on a date goes to dinner. Her cell phone rings and she spends much of their time together chatting on the phone with someone else while her date pretends to be occupied. Can’t she say she’s busy and will call back? Riding in a car… same story.

Two people seated at a table chat on the phone with two other people and pay little attention to one another. No wonder Americans feel more isolated.

Next time you use your cell and sit alone in your home or walk quietly along the street, think of all those conversations buzzing along over your head or perhaps passing through your body. All the drivers stranded at turn signals, all the dates gone awry or all the conversations you weren’t trying to over hear… that’s weird.