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October 22, 2009

There’s a little something I need to rant about. This is nothing new, I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments a million times. Handicap parking. What the hell is wrong with people? But I have a couple new twists for you, from my perspective.

First off,  as you know, I was in Toronto last week at a hospital. I had to stay there overnight for two nights. When I got there, it was mid afternoon and the lot was fairly full. There were no handicap spots to be had. So, as I always do in these situations, I find the farthest possible corner of the parking lot, and I park on an angle across two spots. Then I place my sign, a magnetic sign i had custom made, on the side of my van. It’s bright red and white and it says “WHEELCHAIR RAMP” with a large international wheelchair symbol, followed by “PLEASE DO NOT PARK WITHIN 3M (9 FT)” Then I place my handicap parking permit in the window. All of this ensures that when I get back to my van, nobody will have parked too close to me and made it impossible for me to lower my ramp. Or so you would think. It case it’s not clear to you, I park across two spots to make doubly sure that even a blind person driving their car (apparently there are lots of them) will not block me in even if they don’t see my sign.

Later that afternoon, I went out to my van to see if I could move it to a handicap spot, or even an end spot on one of the rows (with my ramp on the end side) Instead I found  a piece of paper under my windshield wiper. “Great, a ticket” I thought, while wondering how the hell I was going to reach it. I sat there frustrated until an older man on his way to his vehicle was able to help me retrieve it. It wasn’t a ticket. It was note. I scanned it so you can read it yourself:

Parking Fail 2(click to enlarge)

Now, this person was so bothered by my angled parking in the far corner of the lot, that he took the time to find a sticky note and a pen, write this, and place it under my wiper. Most astonishing is that in a parking lot of a rehab hospital, with a wheelchair sticker on my door and the parking permit in the windshield right under the wiper he had to lift to place the note, and not to mention the fact that I have no driver’s seat in my van, none of this enabled him to figure out on his own why I was parked on an angle. Most aggravating for me is that I had no way of knowing who wrote this  so that I could let them know just how stupid they were.

And then yesterday at work, one of my co-workers approached me to ask if I had called parking enforcement the day before. No, I had not, why? It turns out another co-worker had parked in a handicap spot and got a ticket. Here, in this area, that’s a $350 fine. She gave a whole bunch of excuses why our friend had parked there and then looked to me for a reaction. My response was: “Good. Perfect. ”

She was angry with me, “how can you say that?? She’s a sweet person, she’s our friend! How can you be such an ass about this, that’s a lot of money!!”

Well, in short, do the crime, pay the fine. Plain and simple.

The circumstances are that our parking garage is being worked on; half the decks are closed off. There are not enough spots this week for the amount of cars they have sold permits to. It’s truly a mess. But that doesn’t justify parking in a handicap spot. Sorry. You have 500 spots to chose from, I have 8. If yours are full, sorry about your luck.

What confuses me is why people come to me when they get a Handicap Parking ticket. It’s not the first time it’s happened. It’s as though they think I can pick up the phone and call the handicap society and get them pardoned. “Hello? Yes hi Jim it’s me Syl. How are the kids? Good, good to hear. Listen, my friend here got a ticket for parking in one of our spots, she’s a good kid, she didn’t mean it. Can you take care of that for me? Great, thanks Jim. See you at the meeting next week.”

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynn permalink
    October 22, 2009 9:50 pm

    This would be funny if it weren’t so outrageously awful! No, it would not be funny under any circumstances. Sorry this happened to you and for the blind guy who didn’t appreciate or understand your double lane parking. And your friend with the ticket OMG. Give me a break!!!

    Speaking of funny, and wheel chairs, did you happen to see Curb Your Enthusiasm last night? It was about the star of the show, Larry David I think may be his name, dating a woman in a wheel chair, who he didn’t realize was in a wheelchair when he hit on her, but then she wheeled away from the table she was sitting at and it became evident. He felt stuck, obligated to follow through with his date. Even though this new twist for him gave him doubts. The show covered ramps and rampless buildings, handicapped sex, and it might have covered parking but I was sewing at the same time so may have missed that part. Oh it did I remember now, she was able to give him her parking placqard when he was having difficulty finding a regular parking space. It slowly became apparent to him that dating a handicapped person had perks. All the while I was watching this “comedy show” I was wondering how someone who was actually wheelchair bound would take it. Would they think this was funny or not?

  2. October 23, 2009 5:45 am

    It’s awful, yet still kind of funny… Years ago I used to work in a supermarket, and nothing used to get me as fired up as people cruising into the handicap spots to park that didn’t have permits and were able bodied.

    When I would catch them, I used to page them over the intercom with their car description and license plate and tell them they are “improperly parked in a handicapped spot, and to please move their vehicle” 9 times out of 10 they would come out and move it… A little public shame. We had a few regulars back then that would come in to shop that had lifts or ramps in their vans, and it used to tick me off that people are so lazy that they can’t walk the extra distance… I would also go out of my way to send parking enforcement over to any cars that were illegally parked in the handicap spots when they showed up in our lot.

    About that note that was on your windshield, clearly the author is a moron.

    About your co-worker with the ticket? Oh well. Personally I don’t think $350 is enough. I’d love to see it higher, but I’m willing to bet your co-worker will never park in a handicap spot again!

  3. October 23, 2009 8:02 am

    Whoah, whoah, WHOAH. Are you telling me – ARE YOU TELLING ME – that there IS no secret society of handicap-placard holders?! No dark cabals?

    There’s at LEAST a secret handshake, right???

    (Seriously – I do not get people who park in the spots when they have no business parking there. But I also do not get a lot of other human behaviours, either. It’s kind of like how I refuse to use the handicap bathroom stall – people think it’s weird that I won’t, because “it’s not likely someone handicapped is going to show up RIGHT NOW” but.. what if they DO and they really hafta’ pee?)

    • Sylvain permalink*
      October 23, 2009 9:07 am

      OMG I love you!! I ALWAYS show up right at that moment, and I always really really have to pee!. Well, not in the womens bathroom. You know what I mean. Anyway, thank you for being so cool.

      • October 24, 2009 8:50 am

        Well, I am awfully lovable, so I can’t say that I blame you.. 😉

  4. October 29, 2009 11:31 am

    I can’t believe that idiot had the audacity to write that letter and put in on your windshield. What a douche.

    That bothers me that people us you as a scapegoat to get out of their parking-related mishaps. I am glad that lady got a ticket. As you said, do the crime you do the time.

  5. honorarynewfie permalink
    November 15, 2009 6:25 am

    Is it any wonder the world is a mess ?

    That moron has the right to VOTE !


  6. December 15, 2009 2:39 am

    I thank God for my good health and fortune. But I’m also thankful for the few years when I had young children and pushed a buggy, and learned a little about how utterly frustrating and awkward wheelchair access really is. Surprisingly, some very new malls and public areas require some weird navigation…. So I think I appreciate in a very small way what a person in a wheelchair endures on a daily basis. So there is no good excuse for using handicapped parking stalls.


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