I am very short. While I’ve never been unhappy being short, I do believe I have had some unique experiences that taller people just don’t have.
When I sit down on a sofa or a chair, my feet never touch the ground. My pants are always too long and have to be rolled up or hemmed. I will often buy clothes in the kids’ department which explains why I have the same coat as a 7 year old neighbor. I’m always placed in the front for group pictures. I’m quite comfortable in the pint size 1st grader’s chairs at my son’s school. The dentist uses the children’s tools when he cleans my teeth. When walking, I have to take twice as many steps just to keep up with taller people. I often get stuck at the kids’ table at parties. For someone my height, 5 pounds is a noticeable amount of weight to gain. However, if I lose those 5 pounds I no longer qualify to donate blood.
The grocery store is often a challenge. Items on the topmost shelves are always out of reach. I’ve resorted to climbing the shelves to get the pine nuts, asking complete strangers to fetch me some chutney beyond my reach, and changing my dinner menu from couscous to rice halfway through the shopping trip because I saw I wouldn’t be able to reach the couscous.
I do have a stool that I can use in my kitchen if I need to reach something in the upper cabinets. Often it’s just easier and faster to jump up on the cabinets or on top of the fridge to reach what I need.
While it is true that I am very close to needing a child’s booster seat when I am in the car, I normally have no trouble driving. One day, however, the power seat in the car stopped working. I was unable to move the seat forward to where I could reach the pedals. My legs were dangling off the seat in mid air. In order to get my son to preschool, I had to get all of my living room throw pillows and prop them up behind me so that I was seated forward enough to reach the pedals.
I was walking home from the nearby elementary school one day and took a shortcut through the playground. The recess teacher began repeatedly blowing her whistle at me and demanded to know why I was leaving the playground during recess. She was shocked when I turned around and she saw my aging face. When she apologized for stopping me, she said she saw the back of my coat and thought I was a kid.
Perhaps the biggest problem with being short is that it is difficult to be taken seriously and garner the basic respect most adults take for granted. Just because I’m a cabinet jumping, grocery shelf climbing, recess escapee who sits in the tiny chair in the front of the picture, wearing my rolled up pants, unable to occasionally operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner does not mean that I shouldn’t be taken seriously. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go and get my stool. I have to get something out of the microwave above the stove.
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This week's obsessions: The game Yahtzee, the movie Sherrybaby, and chicken bacon ranch pizza.