While walking through Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg a few days ago, I realized that some habits never die. I’ve always been a stroller, ambling down the sidewalk at a leisurely speed, stopping to admire flower gardens or window shopping. But that day I noticed that I was ducking and dodging and maintaining a speed about four times that of the average visitor.
Why was I in such a hurry? Well, my shift was over and I was heading to the parking lot. Then the realization hit me like a smack, I was navigating the crowd like I used to do when I commuted from Northwest Indiana to my job in downtown Chicago (Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive for those of you who know the city). In the mornings I moved quickly but usually had a few minutes to grab a coffee on my way to work.
Evenings were something else. I had just a short time, as did almost everyone on the sidewalk, to reach the train back to Indiana, and, hopefully, nab a good seat. I learned how to duck and dodge with the best of the horde. If I hadn’t, I would have to wait an hour for the next train.
One day my 6’2” son came with me to spend the day roaming the downtown area. At the end of the day when we left my office, I told him to stay with me or he’d miss the train. Since his legs were significantly longer than mine he gave me that perpetually exasperated look teens wear and said, “Okay, Mom.” Away we went. Halfway to the station I realized he wasn’t with me and looked back. He was stuck in a crowd about a half block behind. I told him to hurry up or we wouldn’t make it. You should have seen him climbing over people to catch up to me.
Until that realization I had dismissed another recent incident. During the summer my supervisor asked me to deliver a package to the front of the park. When I returned he asked, “How did you get there so fast?” My supervisor stands about 6’8” so the question baffled me. I replied, “I don’t know. I just didn’t fool around.”
So what is the secret I’ve discovered? At 5’3” my vision hits about shoulder level to most commuters and park visitors. That allows me to see gaps in the crowd that are just big enough for me to scoot through. Taller people see heads in front of them and don’t know where the gaps are.
For the first time in my life, I’ve found a benefit to being short. Hurrah! All short people join in, Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! All power (and speed) to short people!
© by Sharon D. Dillon, December 31, 2015
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com.