Friday, June 10, 2011
Ah, the parking lot, an asphalt jungle of racing cars, weaving up and down the rows, looking for the prime space to deposit one's vehicle. Why is the perfect parking spot so important to us? I get entertained watching folks zip in and out of the aisles for several minutes, taking a risk by passing up a mid-level spot. They will gamble that mediocre spot and several more minutes of their time in hopes of finding that coveted front row space! Fights will even break out over certain spots.
For example, I know two women my age who each have parents with disabilities. Neither of them are the primary caregiver for their parents but they both have a handicapped placard hanging from their rearview mirror. And let me tell you, they sure do use them! I jokingly called one of them out on it by saying, "Hey, you're not handicapped!" Her answer was, "Look at me, I have four kids and I'm a mess! Do I look well to you?" I just shrugged. I wanted to answer, Maybe not, but it's against the law!
Another scenario is a woman younger than me who has a slight knee problem. She can walk for hours in the mall, but her car sits in that front spot with a handicapped sign in the window. A friend of mine told me she is embarrassed to ride with her and is uncomfortable when the woman uses her handicapped sticker.
Then there's the woman who works at the school that parks right beside the front door. The extra 100 feet walk from the parking lot must be too much for her but the two story staircase to her classroom isn't a problem.
A man in our church apparently has a disability, but no one seems to know what it is. He appears fine in every way and even works on roofs. But he has a handicapped sign in his shiny, red car. The funny thing about this guy is that his teenage son drives everywhere they go. He drops his parents off at the door then swings around to a handicapped space. After service, he returns to the handicapped space and picks them up at the front door.
I'm sorry, but I have a major issue with this! I had a grandfather with a disease I can't pronounce that caused him to lose control over his limbs. Walking was very difficult for him; he looked like a severely drunk person. But his pride kept him out of a wheelchair for as long as possible. He was someone who needed a handicapped spot. My grandma couldn't drop him off alone at a building so they both had to walk from wherever they were parked. If they missed out on their space because of one of these people I mentioned above, I would be quite irate.
So, I told you I've had an epiphany. It's actually regarding the rest of the spaces in the lot. There are good spots, there are mediocre spots, and there are spots that have a different zip code from the actual building. Those best spots are simply first come, first served. Instead, I feel like those spots should be labeled For Those Who NEED Them.
There were times when I needed a front row spot. Like when I was going to my 2-week postpartum checkup with my newborn baby. I was still not supposed to lift her carrier because of my C-Section. I didn't have help that day so I parked as close as I could and carried her in anyway. (Setting up the stroller would have been more physically challenging than just carrying the seat.) Then there was the time that I sprained my ankle. Life went on and I still had errands to run. A front row parking space would have been divine. They don't give out temporary handicapped stickers for sprained ankles.