Coming to Grips with Andi

Coming to Grips with Shortness
by Andi Britton

I stopped growing somewhere in the 7th grade (or was it 6th?). 

Vertically that is. 

As I made my way through 8th grade and 9th grade my view walking down the school hallways between classes became increasingly obstructed.  Finally by 10th grade, I completely had to dodge high fives between dudes, as they literally couldn’t see me coming.  One time I wasn’t quite fast enough—I caught a full palm in the face.   Embarrassing.  Only to be made worse by the fact that the palm was attached to one of the dreamiest guys in K-town.  But, he was out of my league anyway.  Heck, he was out of my atmosphere.

You must know that I come from a long line of shortness.  A long, proud line.  At 5’2” I tower over several of my female kin on the maternal side.   Some of them have even qualified for handicapped parking stickers, due to their vertically challenged state.  But, of course, they scoffed at such an offer.  That’s what stilettos and stacked heels are for.  An additional 4” at a 90 degree angle levels any playing field.  (I should mention here that several of us have knee problems, back problems, fallen arches and even disfigured toes.  But who cares?  As my husband says, it’s worth it.)

But since the advent of flats, it’s curious to me how often one’s age, maturity and intelligence are so often equated with height:  Store clerks pat my head and call me “sweetie.”  Colleagues audibly gasp when they find out how old I actually am.  Customers give me a skeptical glance over and ask if they can speak to my manager.  (I love it when I can say that I am the manager.  Heh.  Heh. )  It even makes some people uneasy.  The cashier at Office Depot the other day told me how “disconcerting” it was that he couldn’t see my face.  He was 6’5” and I was wearing a hat.  He was sure I was hiding my shifty eyes.

Hugs are always awkward.  If I’m not fast enough to slip into the side-squeeze approach, it’s either the can-you-stoop-down-here-while-I-try-to-get-my-chin-to-clear-your-shoulder, or the nose-buried-in-navel variety.  I’m still socially scarred from some of the doorstep scenes of my early dating.  And, as any short person knows, I always go in with my head turned as far as possible if the hug involves a buxom woman.

I could go on about concerts, shelves at the grocery store, drivers’ seats, one size fits all and rides at Disneyland.  But, I think you get the idea.

I do have to admit, however, that as I’m recently finding little white strands of hair sprouting up amidst the golden brown, I take comfort in the fact that when I buy lunch at the café in my office building, they still ask, “Are you a student?” 

I smile, shake my head and say,

“Nope.  Just short.”

Andi writes the blog www.andiharbi.blogspot.com