Friday, October 23, 2009


I've noticed two things recently. One is that there appears to be an inordinately high number of short people around at the moment, and the other is that I think I'm developing some sort of variation of Tourette's Syndrome where I feel compelled to tell people the truth. At lunchtime today these two things collided in what could've been a very nasty incident.

Because I saw a short woman smoking and I had an overwhelming desire to tell her that it would stunt her growth.

Fortunately I managed to bite my tongue at the last second, because not only would it have been a smidgeon rude, but also because short people fight dirty. I mean really dirty. They go for the groin, mostly, because it's about the right height and generally the most vulnerable area. Anyway, I digress, because this little almost-incident reminded me of something that happened last week when I genuinely did put my foot in it.

As per my usual lunchtime routine, early last week I popped down to Secret Starbucks for a coffee. Because I know the baristas in there by name I usually stand around at the end of the bar chatting to them for a few minutes before going and grabbing a seat. And it was while I was here waiting for my grande misto and generally engaging in some inane banter, that an old lady walked up to collect her drink. I believe it was a tall caramel macchiato, and she looked a bit like Dame Maggie Smith if that helps you build an accurate mental image.

So, anyway the barista pops her drink on the counter and she wraps both hands around it, smiles with the expectation of that first sip, and lifts it to her lips. She takes a short drink from it, closes her eyes, and lets out a deep "aaaaah" and – well, you know how sometimes you MEAN to say one thing, but a visual stimulus kind of unconsciously MAKES you say something completely different? Well, I MEANT to say "you *sound* like you need that," but it was as I looked at her that I noticed she had a mad wonky-eye and I … well, I actually said:

"You *look* like you need that."

In kind of an alarmed tone.

She looked at me. Well, I think she looked at. It's conceivable that she was looking at me and the menu board that was positioned at a 90 degree angle to her, but the gist of it is that she knew I'd made something of a faux pas. She didn't say anything, though, and just went and took a seat - the comfy seat by the door, I should add; the one I'd wanted. I bet she did it in revenge. Bitch.

Anyway, I blame Yazzle Dazzle for all this because she's not been lunching with me recently, and as pathetic as it sounds, she's the nearest thing I've got to a moral compass - mainly because she jumps in and talks over me whenever it looks like I'm about to say something inappropriate (which, to be honest, happens with alarming regularity these days). That being the case, I went and grabbed a table by the window and hurriedly tapped out a text to her explaining what I'd done. She replied instantly and told me I was a rude doofus, which I guess I pretty much asked for. While I pondered a reply I looked over to the comfy seats only to see Dame Maggie glaring back at me.

Well, I think she was glaring at me - quite frankly she could've been staring at the muffin display behind her.


So *ahem* apologies for the fact I've been a bit distant recently. It's not you, honest; it's me. Really. I've had some … stuff going on. I'd love to quote my new hero Bronson Pinchot and say I've been off f**king "until the skin came off my dick" (I kid you not, check out the brutally frank interview HERE where he also massively slags off Tom Cruise - bless you, Balki!), but the truth of the matter is that I've been working.

And not work working. I've been doing some stuff outside of work - proofreading a book, to be specific. It's not really my place - well, actually it's not my place at all - to tell you who the author is or what it's about, but I thoroughly enjoyed contributing to it in some small way and I can't wait to see the end product. All will be revealed in due course, and when it's available I'll no doubt be screaming it from the rooftops, even if it's not my book.


Tara said...

Oh my, so many things to talk about..

First of all, yeah we short people do fight dirty. I'm not into physical violence, though, but my soul smiles whenever I see a tall person knock their heads on a chandelier or door frame.

It's difficult to look into the right eye of a person with a wonky set. I've had to do that before too, and I just try to focus on the one that seems to be looking at me. I could be off, though. We must try to think of how frustrating it is for them...People looking at them and yet...not. At least you didn't say something Wayne's World 2ish like, "I'll cross the Ts and dot the case Js.

Welcome back!

Tim said...

How short, Tara? Lollipop Guild short? Or Tom Cruise short…?

Ha ha - I'd forgotten that Wayne's World 2 quote!!

Tara said...

I'm 5'1 - taller than the Lollipop Guild and Zelda Rubinstein (the short, bossy psychic from "Poltergeist"), but shorter than Tom Cruise and Ryan Seacrest.

Dinah said...

I've been talking to strangers a lot more recently, partly because in my new job I've been doing a lot of library programming, so I'm talking with lots of people at work, and then I leave work and forget to turn it off. It can get quite embarrassing.

And I'm excited for when you can shout about books. Hurrah!

p.s. my wv is subgman - some kind of low-rent FBI agent?

Emma said...

Mmm, what about the inordinately high number of tall people in the city, with their clown-sized feet with which they insist on stomping on us! I have often been 'walked into' by a clumsy giant who then mumbled 'Oh sorry, didn't see you'. Damn right us shorties fight dirty!

Tim said...

Tara - Ah, you're waaaaaay taller than the people I'm talking about!

And Ryan Seacrest is short?!

Dinah - I've kind of discovered the joy of talking to strangers. It's nice how - if you say the right thing, which unfortunately I didn't really do here! - you can make a stranger smile! I don't think it's embarrassing - I say: keep it up! We can make the world a better place one awkward conversation at a time!

Emma - No, you're not short either. But I see where you're coming from with the tall people thing!

Emma said...

Mmmm, I must hang around with unusually tall people, that or you've been seeing midgets... Sounds like a job for The Ape. He kicks midgets in the street you know ;o)

Tim said...

I've been seeing midgets. I'll call you-know-who.

Tara said...

Joel McHale from "The Soup" keeps making fun of Seacrest about how short he is, but then again Joel McHale is 6'5. Many people would be short compared to him.