There’s a misconception that comes with being short. It’s that thing that makes others believe that small in stature means you’ll fit into small spaces, which is true, but it doesn’t mean short, petite, pocket-sized people like to fit into pocket-sized spaces. Trust me. Being a towering-smidge-over-five-feet-tall means I get this mentality all the time. ‘Oh, you’re little so we put you in the seat where there’s minimal leg room, right next to the bulkhead. You’re the size of a kid, so we set a place for you at the kid’s table. Climb in the backseat of this 2-seater sports car.’
Mind you, this aversion to being squished is not an indication of claustrophobia, like Maxwell has in my forthcoming romantic comedy, Driving in Neutral. The aversion really is a matter of getting squished, bent, and made uncomfortable. However, for me, this aversion to getting squished translates to an aversion to large crowds because massive crowds equate to getting squished, bent, overlooked, and trampled. I am floating amid a sea of backs and chests. Since I am below the sight-line of taller people I get elbowed, my feet are trod upon, I cannot see sky.
Oddly, this Enochophobia, the fear of crowds, only strikes me when I am IN a large crowd. I do not ponder it beforehand. I do not obsess over the idea that going to an outdoor music festival will put me in harm’s way. The anxiety kicks in once I am at the festival. And then my life mission becomes one of self-preservation. Upon entering a crowd I make sure I know where the exits are. I think about land, lots of land under starry skies above as I scan for potential escape routes and search for holes in the crowd I know I’ll fit through.
Because I’m short enough to get into that little space.