I used to have a friend named June. It’s a nickname. Her birthday is in February and her actual name is Mayumi. ‘June’ isn’t an Anglicized thing either. She got her handle from following her dad around on his rounds as a caretaker/carpenter- it’s the career he took on after retiring from the Army. Wee Mayumi would tote a hammer or carry a paper bag of nails or wrestle with an air filter almost larger than she was and trot along in his wake. Where her dad was Mayumi was too. So much so that people started calling her ‘Junior’. Eventually ‘Junior’ became ‘Junie’ then ‘June’. A name she adopted full-time after her father passed on. Not dismissing her Japanese heritage so much as hanging onto her beloved Anglo father.
She and I didn’t have a huge blow-up, btw. My friend June was a reason or season friend, I haven’t decided which.
I’m sure if I tracked her down she’d be glad to hear from me. We’d have a burst of emails and then drift apart again. And that’s okay. Like marriages, sometimes friendships have a set duration.
Recently at the Danbury Fair Mall I shared an elevator with a Little Person. I don’t know which type of dwarfism she has nor is it relevant except to say she was tiny. So small I mistook her dash to catch the elevator as the heedless sprint of a runaway baby and instinctively hit the ‘hold door’ button and put my hands out to catch her. (It’s a mom thing.) Making the transition from seeing a runaway baby to a grown-ass woman was quick, thank goodness. So instead of asking her where Mommy was I asked if this was her usual mall and if so could she direct me to the Lush store? (#1 on my hit list and frankly only reason for trekking to Danbury, Connecticut.) She obliged readily. The Lush store was exactly where she said it was and I waved and said thanks before hustling off to bath product nirvana.
Later that night I thought about that brief conversation. Lord knows I’ve complained often enough about my size. And I am. I am taller, larger around, have far bigger boobs, and totally non-dainty feet. However because all my bits are proportionate with the others I am not so far outside the usual as to cause stares and polite discomfort. I’m just BIG.
The woman in the elevator had no such leeway and grace space. Navigating, hell, just being in this world is rough for her because things are sized for the average person. But being tiny is also her normal. And that’s the key. The element that most people overlook. Especially the people who are trying to be decent and correct and nice. If you are small or you are big, your own perspective is always the way the world looks to you. My ‘normal’ is tilting my head down. A little, a lot, whatever. 95% of the folk I interact with are shorter than I am. I tilt my head, I reach things down, most of the time the size differential is no big. Nor is it to my elevator acquaintance. Looking UP is her normal. Pity is ridiculous.
Take it this way. “Oh, poor you, needing oxygen to process glucose, and needing Vitamin D from sunlight!”
Dumb, right? ‘Normal’ is relative.
That’s all I have.
Your dopey friend, ~LA