At 5-foot -7, I’m small for an adult. (My sources tell me the average height for an adult American male is nearly 5-foot-11.)
I’m OK with that. I always have been. Other than having to lower the occasional bike seat, or later on, moving the driver’s seat in my car closer to the pedals, being a smaller person really hasn’t been an issue for me. My shoe size is usually the same as the display model in the store, so I know there’s always at least one pair in stock for me. And for clothing in general, since I wear smaller-than-average sizes, things that fit me are often on sale, if not clearance. (If that’s not a “glass half-full” justification, I don’t know what is.)
I’m not often asked by others to reach for things on a high shelf, and I don’t ever have to bend down to get through a door or entryway. (I do have a well-documented history of hitting my head, but most of those incidents have occurred due to moving too quickly or simply failing to pay attention.)
Also, and this may seem insignificant – and likely, somewhat strange – to you, but being short always means I don’t have as far to travel when I fall down (not that I fall down often, but it does occur, sometimes immediately following a previously-mentioned blow to the head).
I’m not trying to tell you my “short life” is perfect. My nose lives at the ideal height to catch stray elbows when in a crowd, or in a previous life, on the basketball court. And the converse of not being asked to reach something on the high shelf also means I sometimes I have difficulty getting to that last available box of cereal or jar of pizza sauce in the supermarket. (Lucky for me,
I can use my creativity and cunning to overcome such obstacles. I won’t explain how I do it; you
can check the security cameras. It’s a little like street magic.)
That said, there are times when being “on the short side” (Ooh, I may have just run across a working title for my memoir!) does come with its drawbacks; specifically, when it comes to “big chairs.”
“What are big chairs?” you ask. They’re exactly what they sound like, and they are the prime reason I 1) don’t like to fly first-class and 2) avoid modern movie theaters.
At my height I have relatively short legs (not relative to my height, mind you; just relative to most other adults). I’m happy about this because if I didn’t have short legs, I’d look like Kermit the Frog in that scene from The Muppet Moviewhere he’s riding his bike. (If you’re not familiar, it showed Kermit with a very short torso and extremely long legs.)
But having legs of proportionate and appropriate length for my overall height means when I’m forced to sit in a “big chair” (which is any chair most people view as “comfortable” or something you could nap in), my feet don’t touch the ground. And, when my feet don’t touch the ground, over a period of time (i.e., the time it takes to get from City A to City B in an airplane, or to watch a feature-length movie in a theater outfitted with the recliners everyone else seems to love), my feet and legs fall asleep; not to mention, I also feel like a small child.
Now, while I travel a good bit, I don’t have much occasion to fly first-class, so that’s rarely an issue. And frankly, Joan and I don’t go to the movie theater all that often, but we did over the weekend, and yes, it was one of those modern, “super-cinemas” that offered all kinds of food choices, a bar, and yes, comfy recliners for all its patrons.
We entered and took our seats, and Joan chuckled when she looked down to see my feet dangling two inches from the floor. (I’ll admit, it’s good comedy whenever a “grownup” uses something that makes the “thing” look oversized or the human appear as a miniature.)
I realize workarounds exist for these situations. Some airline seats have small footrests that fold down from the bottom of the seat, but not always. As for the movie theater, I can simply recline to eliminate the problem of my feet dangling and, subsequently, falling asleep.
But that brings me to a secondary issue I have with recliners in movie theaters. I don’t like to be that comfortable when I’m away from home and sitting in a room full of strangers. And it seems odd to me that others would be OK feeling that comfortable and relaxed around me in such a situation. Fact is, in that position, I’m more relaxed and comfortable at the dentist’s office than in a movie theater.
Call me old school (and I’m sure you will, among other things), but when it comes to air travel, I’ll take a nice, semi-comfortable, mid-sized aisle seat (or window; I’m not that fussy).
And when we’re in the movie theater, just give me a good, old-fashioned, folding model with that scratchy dated upholstery; one where I can firmly plant my feet on the ground and maintain proper blood flow in my legs.
One where someone (other than Joan) isn’t fully reclined, and possibly, snoring by mid-movie.
© 2020 David R. Haznaw