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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Handicap Parking: Passive Aggressive

I have written about handicap parking in the past and the subject always generates a strong response. Since I got sick a year ago I have resumed using handicap parking. Frankly, I need handicap parking now. When I first started getting up and around I could not go too far without becoming short of breath. Yes, I was in that bad of shape. In recent weeks I have been wondering why I still use handicap parking. I am constantly infuriated with those who use handicap parking. The vast majority that use these much sought after spots appears to have no reason for using them. But I know all too well appearances can be deceiving. A double or single amputee could walk out of his or her car and I would have no clue they were an amputee. Of course the population that garners virtually all handicap spots are elderly. More power to them as there is no question that the elderly struggle with mobility. Of course this does not stop my son from calling handicap parking old people parking. His tone is humorous but has an edge I do not like. I never comment about any use of handicap parking spots. I know the little blue placards in NY and other states are grossly abused. I know this angers the police. Heck, it angers me! However, I am resigned to rampant abuse. My only wish is doctors that sign off on handicapped parking permits would put more thought into the process.

I was thinking about why I get angry about handicapped parking. I realized after some reflection only two things bother me. In the winter handicap parking is where they pile the snow after a storm. I know for a week or two handicapped parking will be useless. Nothing can be done about this. Annoying yes but very temporary inconvenience. But what really gets me are shopping carts. Yes, shopping carts. Handicap parking is where shoppers abandon their carts. I see this every time I go out. Abandoned carts often block one from parking or make it impossible to get out of the car. Much to my son's chagrin I have developed a passive aggressive mechanism for dealing with carts. I will park in the one cart free spot, get out of my car and push the cart or carts into non handicap parking spots. I get a giggle out of this every time. How petty I am. My son thinks I am acting out in a bizarre or useless manner. He is mostly correct. However once in a while someone will ask why I am moving the carts where they will obviously block a spot. I tell them I found the carts in handicap parking and they were in the way. A few people will get the message I am seeking to deliver anonymously. In sharp contrast, some people actually get mad at me--not often for sure. Most people, like my son, think it is odd behavior. I suppose it is. I also suppose it is petty. But it still gives me a sense of satisfaction. I am convinced people who are observant will get the message I am seeking to deliver. And that is all I am trying to do--get a select few people to think. Handicapped parking is a ubiquitous aspect of every day life few give any thought. We people with a disability think about the violation of handicapped parking and find it unacceptable. It is a minor inconvenience that indicates a much larger problem. The routine violation of our civil rights. Handicapped parking is very minor but indicative of a much larger cultural problem.


The Untoward Lady said...

Of course they could do something about snow being piled into the handicap parking spot: Store owners could stop piling their snow there!

Maybe back something like that up with a fine for any shopkeeper who does so.

Becs said...

H said...

I do the same thing--move the carts into a non-HP spot; I've never had anyone say anything to me while doing it though. I get odd looks but no one has ever said anything.

I will say that 9 times out of 10 when I see a person leaving their cart in a HP spot or the hash marks the person is elderly.

A really big problem where I go to college is people parking ON the hash marks. People will simply make their own spot in the hash marks. I don't know if it's cultural or what because I see if more often in Western Mass. than anywhere else. I've explained to people ad nausem about the purpose of hash marks but they just don't seem to care.

For reasons beyond my understanding, it is often the elderly (mostly men) that critically watch me exit my car with my service dog and cane or crutches and yet still feel the need to verbally attack me over it. Using my wheelchair usually moves me into the safe zone, but because I can walk to the chair it tends to encourage more "creative" conversations after the stare-down happens.

I think all the issue surrounding HP parking highlights how devalued we are and is part of what makes it so infuriating.

william Peace said...

UnToward Lady, I suspect the snow issue is a NYC suburban problem. People in the suburbs panic big time when an inch of snow falls. I have never had a problem in a state such as Vermont.


You made my day! I thought I was the only one that did this with carts. I was accosted once by a very pissed off woman who considered me rude in the extreme. Using a wheelchair gives on instant credibility when parking in handicap parking. A wheelchair is the archetype for disability.