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Parking SuperHero

April 3, 2011

Violet recently joked about wishing she had a super power where she could instantly know if someone who is parking in a handicap spot is doing so legitimately or not, and if not, she could make it so they were. This would make her my favourite superhero by far.

In saying that, I am keeping with the light hearted nature of her comment. OF COURSE her comment is meant to be humourous, since to my knowledge superheroes and super powers don’t really exist.  I wouldn’t seriously want anyone to be beaten to the point of paralysis just for being an asshole or simply ignorant.

I can’t speak for Violet, and by the time I post this she may have explained herself a bit, but I would suspect the reason behind her comment is that she was witness to several incidents recently where the person parking was clearly not in need of the spot.

If you don’t know me personally, let me clear up the fact that I myself use a wheelchair, a power chair. I have a van with a ramp and I need the double wide spots for my ramp.

I have blogged about this issue before. I don’t really care about WHERE the handicap spots are. I have a power chair, I can be there before you, even if you are jogging. But I NEED a double wide spot. When I can’t find one, I have to park on an angle across two spots, and even though I choose two spots that are the farthest possible from the store, I often get angry notes left on my windshield and I fear one day my van will get keyed for taking up two spots. Because, of course, anyone using to spots is just a prick right? Never mind that I have a handicap permit and a large magnetic sign that says “Wheelchair Ramp” which I stick to my side door.

So you can understand my frustration when I see someone park their car with a handicap permit, and then sprint into the store because it’s raining. If you can sprint, how is it that you need the handicap spot? I have a neighbour who has a handicap permit. He has a giant SUV that you almost need a ladder to climb into, and I have seen him walking his dog a full 2 miles from our block. Explain to me why he can’t park a few spaces farther from the store.

Also, my latest frustration is at my dad’s nursing home. There are only two handicap spots. The rest of the spots are tiny. My only other option here is to park in the “no stopping, fire route” zone. But I have to. The handicap spots are usually being used. Sometimes legally, but often it’s clear that the son or daughter has inherited mom’s handicap permit. But they are visiting their parent, so that makes it legal right?

But here is my biggest issue. People who have legal handicap permits do not need to be assholes about it. Use your head, read the damn rules. And for crying out loud, just because you have a permit doesn’t mean that’s the ONLY place you are allowed to park! If at all possible, why not leave the spot for someone who needs it?

I’ll give you an example: Many little shopping plazas have only several rows of parking, with only one or two nice and wide handicap spots. If you pull into that plaza in your little Honda Fit, and you have a handicap permit, and the handicap spots are empty, but so is the SPOT RIGHT NEXT TO IT, can you kindly park in the spot next to it please? WHY do you NEED to park in the handicap spot? It’s not any closer, and you don’t need the width if you are a walking person driving a Honda fit, so WHY? Why do you take the handicap spot? Because your doctor said you can?  Leave it for someone who truly needs the wide spot. Someone with a ramp or a walker.

Also, I am fed up with disabled people with permits driving their kids to the store and sitting in the handicap spot having a smoke while waiting for them. You don’t need to be there. You’re not getting out of the car, so why don’t you leave the spot for someone who needs it.

And lastly, even if you have a permit, it isn’t legal to squeeze your little car in between two legally parked vehicles in handicap spots. Yes, I know there is room, that’s because I have a ramp asshole.  If you do this, rest assured I will lower my ramp and scratch your car. Oops, sorry, I didn’t see you.

Someone on Violet’s blog got offended by her comment. I understand that it’s difficult for people who have an invisible disability because they may not look like they need to be parking there. Let me assure you that I always give people the benefit of the doubt. As someone with a disability, I know how hard it can be when people make assumptions. I rarely challenge anyone directly.

Maybe the person sprinting into the store is going to get grandma who’s waiting inside. Maybe the person sitting and smoking is just about to go inside, right after they finish their smoke. You never know for sure. So I say nothing. But does that mean it’s none of my business? No, sorry, I have to disagree. If I can be certain, somehow, that the person is committing fraud, I WILL say something. It IS my business. I’ll call the cops (but they generally don’t care), I’ll call parking enforcement, and I’ll even have you towed if you are blocking me from getting back into my van. (yes, I’ve done it)

So IF Violet truly did have this super power, she DID say she would KNOW who is parking there illegally, or unnecessarily. So with that, there would be nobody being harassed needlessly by my new favorite super hero. Only those truly deserving of her wrath would be made to pay.  It’s a perfect plan. And I can see no reason for anyone to get their panties in a bunch about a perfect plan.

Now the only question is, what outfit would this super hero be wearing?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2011 5:26 pm

    Sadly, naked is not a costume. 😉

    • abitibisouth permalink*
      April 3, 2011 5:32 pm

      Says who?! Wonder Woman’s plane was invisible! Maybe your costume would be too.

      • Kitty permalink
        April 6, 2011 10:00 pm

        topless for sure. And really really tall boots.

    • Michelle permalink
      April 3, 2011 9:37 pm

      Apparently today it would be naked blue.

      Thanks both. Not something I’ve taken a lot of thought about. It’s always interesting reading about new ideas, especially when you get to see multiple opinions on it.

    • Michelle permalink
      April 3, 2011 9:45 pm

      Oh, and on a total random side note. I actually dreamt this winter about you and your wheelchair and how hard it is to get around snowy sidewalks. Maybe that’s somewhat related (but awfully weird). Super snow pushing super powers?

  2. April 4, 2011 9:53 am

    Well, I think in general, people can be inconsiderate, thoughtless, clueless, and unaware. As opposed to being intentionally kind. If people were kind as a practice, we would have fewer problems in all areas not just this one. So I think that the problem is one that starts in people’s hearts. Although many might be unaware, many of those who would act this way I think have so much on their plate and are so stressed out that they cannot move themselves–summon up the emotional energy–to be kind to others.

    I think that many people feel ripped off by life and their gov’t and other things and are trying to get ahead, even in a little way. They treat themselves to a parking spot and feel entitled, as though “Yes, I’ve gotten what I deserve today”, like finding a shiny penny that means good luck.

    These same people are the ones who will take a free trial of something and then keep taking free trials instead of paying for software they actually use and find value from–trying to get something for nothing. Not really trying to rip someone off per se, but being thoughtless that there is even another PERSON involved. It’s selfishness. And ignorance that they will ultimately lose more by being selfish than what they gain.

    I don’t know that even consequences (like your reporting people or them getting tickets) will have an effect, as I think it is a problem of the heart. They’ll just think, “Phooey, I was caught. Those darn policemen, don’t they have anything better to do?”

    Years ago, I had a handicapped sign because of a long-term problem with my legs. I sometimes would need a wheelchair but at other times could walk very short distances with pain. I would always intentionally emphasize my stiffness and pain as I would walk when leaving the car without my wheelchair, conscious that people would be watching me. Occasionally if I didn’t, people would give me dirty looks or even comment, “Why are you using that space? You’re not handicapped!” which puts you in a place where you have to defend and explain your disability.

    I don’t know how you make people care about others. I don’t think you can…


  3. Lucy permalink
    May 27, 2011 11:07 am

    While I’m sure there are people out there who do abuse the handicapped permits, it’s up to the individual’s doctor whether they need one or not, not you or me or anyone else. Just like you don’t like getting nasty notes on your van when you take up two spots, I’m sure others don’t care to be judged by you because you are unable to see a visible need for the permit. Permits are given for more than just individuals in wheelchairs and I’m sure there are plenty of people who look otherwise healthy who have them for legitimate reasons. Also, insofar as the parking situation at the nursing home goes, don’t assume that Junior has inherited Mom or Dad’s permit and is gleefully using it with impunity. It’s much more likely that Junior was there to pick up or drop off Mom or Dad so parking closer to the door to make their transition in/out of the car and building easier. I see nothing wrong with that at all.

  4. abitibisouth permalink*
    May 27, 2011 4:02 pm

    Well, Lucy, you’re making a LOT of incorrect assumptions about what I may or may not know or how I react to situations. Perhaps you might want to re-read my post a few times, more carefully. Read AGAIN in my post where I state CLEARLY that I give people the benefit of the doubt.

    Just because I THINK something doesn’t mean I act.

    As for your comment about me “judging” people, explain to me how my private thoughts are comparable to writing out and leaving a nasty note? How would people even know what I’m thinking? And since they can’t know, how could it bother them?

    This is a blog. MY blog. Where I get to vent about whatever I want. That’s what this post is, venting.

    And about the situation at nursing home, let me just say that in some cases the situation you describe is exactly what is happening, and OF COURSE I don’t have an issue with that at all. I’m not an idiot. I have compassion, ESPECIALLY for families of the residents in the nursing home.
    But in just as many instances, I know for a FACT that what I described is EXACTLY what is going on. I know it, the staff knows it, and lots of other frustrated people who need the spaces know it. But none of us have chosen to do anything about it. Read above, about the compassion thing.

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