Monday, August 16, 2004

The Same, But Different

"Excuse me," said the stranger, to the shapely young woman walking through the park, "But how big are your tits? Like 34C?"

"Actually, they’re 36D," said the young woman.

"Wow. 36D. That’s amazing. Are you a stripper? Or a porn star?"

"No," she replied with a weary smile. "Actually, I’m a graphic designer."

"Cool. That’s cool," said the stranger. Suddenly there seemed to be no more conversational electricity. The question was answered, and in its wake, awkward silence. "Well, bye."

"Yeah, bye," said the woman, who continued walking through the park.

By now I’m sure most of you think I’ve lost my mind. But wait, please, the denouement is arriving in the next sentence. Rewrite the above conversation by replacing the inquiry about tits with a question about height.

"How tall are you?"

"I’m 6 foot 5."

"Wow. Six-foot-Five. That’s amazing. Are you a basketball player?"

Obviously asking about height and asking about the size of someone’s tits is viewed differently in our society, but as someone who is tall, after awhile the question is equally annoying. Last week, two different people asked me how tall I was. I ignored both of them. The first time, I overheard a teenage girl whisper to her friend "Ask him how tall he is" as I was walking through a local park. Because of this advance warning, I ignored the girl when she said, "Excuse me." I kept right on walking, after repeated attempts of "Excuse me." Steps before I was out of earshot, in desperation, the girl yelled, "How tall are you?"

The second time was a day later, when some guy on the sidewalk asked me how tall I was. I continued walking as well. To his credit, he did not persist.

You see, I’m over 30, which means I have gone through this song and dance about my height for at least 10 years, which is roughly when I stopped growing. Unless you are a cute little old lady, or a kindly old man, I will not humour your requests for information about my height. The seniors I treat like gold, let me assure you.

(I think, back in May, I promised more love, less bitterness and I’m doing my best to deliver. Just don’t ask me how tall I am, if that’s OK…)
Some quick hits:

* A novel in 88 blog postings:

* My suburbia article is finally on newsstands. (And, er, online.) Descant, the literary journal in which the article appears, had a launch on Wednesday at the Victory Café in Toronto. The turn-out was pretty decent, and, even better, as a reader, I received a cellophane-wrapped goody bag of organic vegetables. Drink tickets are more traditional, I suppose, but not very memorable. I will never forget receiving two ears of corn, a pair of apricots, a bunch of cherries, and one tomato for doing a reading.

* At a party on Thursday I was delighted to learn that the cab drivers waiting outside the Via Rail station are always stupid jerks. I thought it was only me – upon returning from an ultra-pleasant month in Montreal, I was jolted back to the arrhythmic rudeness (as opposed to the elegant rudeness of New York, for example) of Toronto within five minutes of stepping off the train platform. The details are dull, but the end result was my valve became immediately and severely irritated. Turns out the same thing happened to my friend Dave recently. I write this bile despite it being taxi appreciation week or day or hour or something today or yesterday or something. (On a related note, it’s clearly tourist season here in the center of the universe. I find it strange that people visit here of their own volition, yet I don’t wish to discourage anyone from innervating our economy. Although, when I recently overheard an American whigger on a cellphone telling a friend that "There was no ghetto downtown. Anywhere" I had to give pause.)

* Recent Onion A/V Club interview with Triumph, discussing how to beg before J.Lo: "I tried to play up how pathetic I was, which is not too hard if you're a 42-year-old guy crouched on your knees in the aisle of an awards show with a puppet on your hand. You do evoke sympathy."

* Smart article by Gord McLaughlin in this week’s eye about the dangers of being critical about the business of the dramatic arts in Canada. The shock ending is memorable and well executed.