The World is Built for Tall People and I’m short
The world is built for tall people.
I’m not really that short. I’m more average. My mother was short at 4’11. But sometimes I think the rest of the world forgets that not everyone is 6 foot tall with long legs.
When I was in the army, the leadership always seemed to expect everyone to be able to match the pace of the tallest guy with the longest legs. We’d have formations of hundreds of runners, and the leadership always put these really tall guys at the front. One of their steps equaled three of mine. Exactly who was getting the true workout?
But then the world is built for tall people.
When I went to Desert Storm in 1990, the women were created with China Beach style showers. Essentially, the military built an outdoor stall and plopped a 500 gallon tank on it. A lever on the bottom of the tank is pulled down to dispense the water. Even if I hopped up and down (and possibly created an unintentional show for the guys), I couldn’t reach it. I finally had to take off my shower shoe, and hooked the strap over the lever.
And if you think this is a problem for women, one of the male sergeants was my height. He had to stand on his metal shaving bowl.
Ah, but the world is built for tall people.
I went to Wisconsin for my grandmother’s funeral and got a rental car from the airport. It looked like it was car that would be designed for people with shorter legs, because it was a pretty small car. Only one small problem: the cup holder. For whatever reason, they had it so far back that the only way it could be used safely was if you were six feet tall. To use it, I had reach my arm completely behind me and feel for where the cup holder was. Very poor design. Made me wonder if anyone actually tested the car with consumers.
I know it’s impossible to design for all types of people. But there tends to be a default, and also, often a lack of understanding that someone else might have a different experience. A lot of times, it’s just an extra step to make one more adjustment, to make sure everyone could benefit. That shower handle could have had a chain on it. That cup holder could have been put in a more standard place. My father is color blind, and you’d be surprised at how many engineers don’t think about it when they design something. When he went to Wisconsin, he had trouble with the street lights because they’re sideways. He couldn’t tell what color they were!
When we live in our own skin, it’s easy to forgot that what’s easy and natural for us might be an impediment to another person.
From a prompt on The Daily Post
Today, write about any topic you feel like — but you must reuse your opening line (at least) two more times in the course of your post.