Be­ing short doesn’t al­ways stack up

The Southland Times - - News - Briar Babing­ton

Icon­sider my­self to have drawn a not com­pletely ter­ri­ble card in the ge­net­ics depart­ment. I’ve got no glar­ingly ob­vi­ous fam­ily health risks and I’ve got some pretty great eye­lashes, cour­tesy of my Por­tuguese her­itage (so I’m told).

How­ever, I did draw the short straw in one depart­ment. Lit­er­ally, the short straw.

At 5’2’’, I was not so blessed in the height depart­ment.

When you’re short, life forces you to get creative in or­der to reach new heights, while also pro­vid­ing, what is prob­a­bly en­ter­tain­ment, for those around you.

Su­per­mar­ket ex­cur­sions can be in­ter­est­ing.

I’ll have you know that the top shelf of the aisle is not com­pletely un­reach­able, but we’re mov­ing into po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory where some­one has al­ready taken the most-for­ward item on the top shelf, forc­ing you bat out the one be­hind it with some­thing long, there­fore ex­tend­ing the reach or your arm.

There’s a rea­son I’ve car­ried a long wal­let for the past 10 years.

But there are days where I hon­estly can’t be both­ered and just ask the per­son clos­est to me to reach the item be­fore say­ing thank you and scur­ry­ing over three aisles to live out my em­bar­rass­ment with­out their amused face look­ing on. The safety of your own home isn’t much bet­ter or less judg­men­tal.

Just last week Mother Dear­est looked on in hor­ror af­ter I got a gravy boat off the top of our kitchen cup­board by us­ing the end of a wooden spoon through the han­dle of the porce­lain to ferry it out.

What she didn’t re­alise was that this has been my method for some years for reach­ing things that a) I can’t reach, b) that have a han­dle on the end of them and c) can’t be both­ered drag­ging over a chair to the cup­board to climb up on.

A few years back, I was in­vited to one of my best friend’s fam­ily re­unions (of the three chil­dren, it was her turn to bring a friend – it’s not weird).

Jet­ting off to Chicago, it was my first visit to the land of the free and the home of the brave, be­fore an an­gry apri­cot was run­ning the show.

Now, Amer­ica is a big place; heck, even the sky looks big­ger (I know it’s not but it just does, OK?). Adding to that sense of scale is the fact that my best friend, who is the short­est of her sib­lings, comes from a fam­ily where no-one is shorter that six feet.

I was, by an ex­tremely large mar­gin, the short­est per­son at the en­tire re­union.

As we headed off to do var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, usu­ally in crowds, the phrase ‘‘where’s Briar?’’ was usu­ally spouted out at least three times a day, only for me to ac­tu­ally be quite near ev­ery­one, just out of their line of sight they were so used to, an­swer­ing with a ‘‘here I am’’.

This was also a com­mon gripe I had from a flat­mate at univer­sity when we’d head to the su­per­mar­ket. Our lo­cal was one where some of the aisle stacks were shorter so you could see the heads of most peo­ple mak­ing their way down the aisle if you were on the other side.

Said flat­mate would quite of­ten ‘‘lose’’ me be­cause the top of my head didn’t come near the top of the aisle, and even once nearly left with­out me be­cause he thought I’d al­ready headed back to the flat.

I also re­mem­ber quite clearly the ter­ror I had as a young child the very first time I went to Rain­bow’s End in Auck­land, ter­ri­fied I wouldn’t meet the min­i­mum height re­quire­ments for the roller coaster and Fear Fall. Luck­ily, I just scraped through and spent the day scream­ing my head off as the adren­a­line of be­ing dropped 18 sto­ries in mere sec­onds made its pres­ence known.

With all this in mind, I’m sure you can imag­ine my glee when I went to the doc­tor re­cently and he took my height, in­form­ing me that I was 3cm taller than I thought I was.

Now I don’t need to lie about be­ing 5’2’’, be­cause I ac­tu­ally am 5’ 2’’. It’s the small things in life. Snort.

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