It's a strange feeling to be stuck between two fat people, two relatively thin walls, and certain death. Using my arm rests is out of the question for large and overflowing reasons. So here I am with my hands in my lap like a little school girl, slowly realizing that I can't do anything.
Going to the bathroom is a grand adventure. First, wake up sleeping monster. Second, sweetly say that I need to use the bathroom and therefore infer without directly saying that she needs to get out of my way. Third, scan the crowd for weird people on the way down the aisle. Lastly, stall and stretch as long as possible in the cramped bathroom. For an extra challenge, I sometimes just crawl over the unconscious lump and skip the first two steps all together.
"Are you in school, honey?" one lady asks.
"No, I just graduated," I reply.
"Oh. From high school?"
I stare at her. I should be used to it. It's not even the first time today. The woman at the ticket booth made the same mistake this morning.
"And can I see some identification please?" The attendant directed the question to my mother. As she fished through her purse, I presented the woman with my driver's license. "Oh honey, I don't need to see your identification because you're under 16."
People feel compelled to express their concerns about my age. A man once stopped me at the University of Maryland and said "What are you doing here? You're not old enough to be in college."
My thoughts are migrating. That's what there is to do on an airplane—just think. I think I should have my age tattooed to my forehead. Of course then I'd have to have it re-done every year. And then I will reach a point when I want people to assume I'm younger. Another dead end.
Kimberly Schubert is a 23-year-old environmental educator from Maryland. She writes for fun.