A man so tall people whisper behind their Americanos knows more about the meaning of life than we ever could. He was born this height and he will die two centimetres shorter. He buys his clothes sized to fit. He imports ensembles from overseas in two styles: casual and formal. Casual is a polo shirt and light woollen trousers; formal is like the suit that stretches when you skimp on a dry cleaner and hang it wrong. When the tall, tall man’s clothes arrive by post, he folds them in an old-timey satchel cum briefcase and walks direct to the tailor, whose business the tall man keeps afloat. The tall, tall man talks of local matters, of which he is well informed, while the tailor darts about the man’s legs, unpicking hems and magicking inches into the already comical pants. The man is so tall he barely notes the pressure of the tailor’s fingertips or the measuring tape around his ankles. He cannot see any of this, of course. He is too far away. To have a tailor in one’s address book is a matter of life to a tall, tall man.
Now look at him in the café, bending to use the eftpos. In the queue, a millennial’s rolled-up jeans and bare ankles mock the tall man, and everyone is watching. As he types in his PIN to purchase a hunk of loaf with a smear of butter, the tall, tall man is thinking of his cousin arriving from Australia that afternoon, and for whom he must remember to make up a cot.