OK, I’m tall.  I get it.  There is a certain look-at-the-circus-freak existence to me.  On any given day, I’ll hear “How tall are you?” as much as I’ll hear “How are you?”  It’s just a part of my every day and I roll with it.  Sometimes, it bothers the people I’m with…  One peer on a business trip said, “If ONE more person asks how tall you are, I’m gonna punch ’em!”  Me?  Meh.

Yeah, so a typical conversation starts with the height question, may venture into shoe size, inseam, parental unit height, queries on my basketball abilities, weight, etc.  There’s almost always a relative, someone they work with, or have some association to that they used to think was tall before they met me.  I smile, laugh and answer the questions.  Once, in high school, I tried to short-circuit these questions with a t-shirt that read “I’m six feet, ten inches tall” on the front, “Yes, I do play basketball” on the back.  Only it had the reverse effect.  Those that had been too shy to approach me before suddenly felt compelled to hit me with the rest of their questions, since I had so thoughtfully dispensed with the first two.  I think that t-shirt got turned into a cleaning rag.  I digress…

So focused was I on taking in the sights around me, I almost didn’t notice the group of three women in front of me.  Well, it was also because the tallest of them maybe scratched 5’2″.  They had been talking to me, but since my Mandarin isn’t so great, I hadn’t recognized it.  Once I did acknowledge them, they started with the hand gestures for “tall” (palms facing one another, parallel to the ground – bottom one stays still while the top one goes up) and accompanied with hands covering mouths while giggling.  “Yami” I heard a few times, or at least that’s what I though they said.  I caught them a half block later trying to take a picture, so decided to go with the flow and invited them to pose.  Only one did, though.

Moving on, several more people stopped me and asked for pictures.  Others I caught in the act and again invited them to pose.  I had been told that this would happen, that because of my height, people would want to take their picture with me.  I wasn’t quite sure I believed it, but the gallery below is a small sampling.  I have been asking to have the assailants take a picture with my phone, so I can archive the moment for myself as well.  In my further adventures, I’ll go ahead and include any other random acts of photograph-the-tall-guy that I encounter…

So beautiful and quiet was an area I was recently in when also attacked, that I heard again the “Yami” word mixed into the sentences I heard.  I thought it must mean ‘tall’, but I asked my Chinese peer with me what they were saying.  “Yao Ming,” he replied.  “They’re comparing you to Yao Ming.”  For those of you who don’t know, Yao is from Shanghai and played in the NBA for the Houston Rockets, standing 7’6″.  I imagine he gets stopped and asked for his picture at least as much as I do.  Welcome to the club, Yao.  Welcome.