We came home last weekend on one of those overfull flights in a teeny airplane that underscore how someone missed the memo about the hoards more people commuting between Boise and Seattle than can be comfortably accommodated. We stopped downtown on our way home for a late lunch.
The place was new, and trendy, with lots of blond wood and brushed metal, cement floors, heavy, metal barstools and tall tables. We’d been unable to get a table the first few times we’d come. Now, months after it opened, at 3 pm on a Sunday, sans kids, we didn’t have to wait for lunch. I climbed onto my barstool and realized after a moment that a. my feet weren’t actually resting on anything, and b. this made me feel like a third grader.
I actually have a memory of being in third grade and also being under four feet tall. That was the year we measured our height at Franklin Elementary, and also when I found out I was the shortest person in the entire school. This included the kindergarten class, every one on whom I had presumably at least three years, and any one of whom could have wiped up the playground with me.
There are a bunch of people who have a bias against short people. This apparently includes bar stool designers and also designers of kitchens. For some reason, kitchen designers decided a long time ago that there needs to be a whole realm of the kitchen that’s off access to people under six feet tall, and then another third of the kitchen that’s simply difficult to work with by virtue of how far off the ground it is.
This design-without-regard-to-normal-sized-humans issue for me is a phenomenon that runs the spectrum from mildly annoying to infuriating, and as I sat there on my over-tall barstool, with my legs dangling in free space, just to bolster my self-confidence and to fill time I should have been using to talk with my husband, I came up with a list of advantages of being short:
– Short people feel no compulsion to clean off the top of the refrigerator in your poorly designed kitchen.
– Short people don’t need all that extra out-of-reach kitchen storage space anyway. In general, short people take up less space, and use less air for that matter, than everybody else. This happens to make them good astronauts by the way, and good air travelers in general.
– Airline seats were clearly designed by short people for short people, or else by cheap people hoping to fit more people into already crowded airplanes and also hoping that short people will think tall people are just being picky when they complain about the lack of space. I can cross my legs in a standard airline seat – the one by the window – at any time, and still access the overhead luggage compartment without spilling my drink. That’s just plain good design right there.
– Short people can stand in the front at a concert and no one ever thinks we’re the big jerkoff who doesn’t realize he’s blocking the view for a whole section of the crowd.
– Short people can squirt through crowds with ease. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to get to the front of the concert, or if you’re Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt eluding the bad guys in Sao Paulo or Seoul, or anyplace they’ve tried to cram 10 million people into a space with roughly the same square acreage as Kuna, population 15,500.
– Short people make good spies particularly because of this ability to elude the bad guys in Sao Paulo. Or in Kuna for that matter.
– Short people can buy clothing off the rack in Southeast Asia, or South America. Which is helpful when trying to throw off any bad guys giving chase. I don’t know if there’re a lot of clothing stores in Kuna, but there’s probably a place you can buy a souvenir belt buckle. And, yes, it’s supposed to look big on you. That’s not an optical illusion brought on by virtue of your being small. Stop being paranoid.
– Short people are the subject of an annoying but nevertheless hit 1977 song by Randy Newman. A song I understand he grew to dislike intensely, and which has been included on every one of his greatest hits albums. The point is, make fun of short people, even as satire, and it will freaking haunt you, Randy Newman. Bam.
I asked Mike, a tall person, what he thought some advantages of being a short person might be. As one can probably imagine, he wasn’t all that helpful.
– “You guys make good nose hair inspectors.” Good try, although I think it’s worth pointing out that he’s called attention to my nose hair way more than I can ever be accused of doing for him.
– “If someone farts in a crowd, everyone assumes it’s the big guy. No one suspects the little person.” I don’t know how he might have gained this perspective, but it’s helpful information.
As we left the restaurant, I realized that none of the patrons at the other tall tables could actually rest their feet on anything solid, and wondered if that is one of the reasons why, a few short months after opening, this restaurant was starting to have enough space that we could finally find a table for lunch without a 45 minute wait. None of the other patrons appeared from my vantage to be especially under-average in height.
But then I was probably paying more attention at the time to their nose hair than to anything else.