Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vertically Challenged

This is the euphemism I use to describe my 5'1" height. Just to indulge myself in my favorite rant, most of our man-made environment is generally designed for the "average" adult, which is usually described to be 5'8". That's wonderful if that is your height, which I'm not. I know tall people have special challenges too, but short people go through life feeling like a child, or as though they never quite made it to adulthood and must adjust like children.

Most chairs (doctor's offices, airports, park benches,office furniture,etc.) are too tall and my feet don't touch the floor which cuts off my leg circulation. On planes I have to be cautious about DVT. The American Institute of Architects produces the "Architectural Standards" manual on which furniture sizes are based and that is an average of 5'8", unless it is children's furniture which feels far more comfortable to me. Naturally, that reinforces the self-image of perpetual childhood. If that weren't already enough bad news, as we age, height diminishes even more. I used to be 5'2". Clothes, even petites, are too long for me so I sew a lot to hem skirts,and slacks. Whine, whine.

Supermarket shelves have two rows too tall for me to reach so they miss a sale if I can't reach their products. I need a stepstool to reach the top shelf in my kitchen cabinets. If I go to a movie or a theater event, people sitting in front of me block my view.

Want to be a model? Get over it, the world doesn't see short people as attractive. Studies also show that short people aren't taken seriously and generally earn less than taller people. Leadership positions seldom go to short people.

Naturally, the negativity police would say, "Stop complaining, already." At least I know why my aura is so "negative". I know why I am irritated when I feel irritated. I don't need the songs about short people, the jokes about short people, and the teasing about being a shortie. I am "in touch with my true self" so I don't need psychobabble. How do we fix a problem, if we can't identify the problem? My sympathies to all the tall people who must also compensate because they aren't 5'8" either. I feel your pain.

It is comforting to see that we shorties aren't alone. So how did that "average" of 5'8" get so high? Maybe there are a lot more tall people than short people, certainly feels like it. Short Support is a good site to read about issues important to the vertically challenged.

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