Friday, May 11, 2007

Parking Lot Snobs

Three times in the past week I have seen perfectly able-bodied people park in a handicap parking space, legally because the have the precious blue placard, and walk to wherever their destination is, twice with their arms full of belongings. So you don’t jump to conclusions and so that I can make a point, I waited until they returned to their car twice to make sure that they weren’t picking up someone who needed the parking space. On the third time the person went shopping, so unless they were buying a handicap person then they were just taking a space that someone could actually use.

Handicap parking is there for a purpose, to make life easier on those who already have it harder than the rest of us. A few months ago I was on either crutches or a cane for six weeks and it was tough to have to park far away and gimp to my destination, but it was temporary. The people that need the blue placard don’t have the luxury of knowing that their situation will end because for the majority of them it is permanent, and I imagine that it is fairly insulting seeing people walk out of a handicap parking spot when they can’t walk at all.

My wife teaches creative writing to a group of developmentally disabled adults, many of them in wheelchairs who are proper recipients of the blue placard. The first man I saw parking in a handicap parking spot was not in a wheelchair, in fact he had his arms stacked with materials 3 feet high and didn’t even have a limp. I don’t want to be insulting, but if he happens to read this blog I hope that he gets an understanding that being overweight is not a handicap, in fact parking further away would be better for you. The second man I saw using a handicap parking spot maybe was confused, so I will help you out by informing you that old age is not a handicap either. In fact you of all people should celebrate your good health and understand that you are fortunate compared to others. For the third person I have nothing to say other than you disgust me. You exited your car like it was on fire and bolted into the supermarket.

Now, I am a realist and understand that they might have someone in their immediate family that needs the blue placard, but unless they are in the car or are going to be in the car you do not have the right to use that spot. The handicap spot is for people with a handicap (noun, something that hinders or is a disadvantage to somebody or something) that limits their mobility therefore making it necessary to have a parking spot closest to their destination. By taking these spots when you are perfectly capable of parking at the far end of the parking lot and walking makes you an insensitive jerk, nothing more nothing less.

Parking lots have turned into the modern day gladiator rings where people actually fight for the closest space in the lot. When meeting up with others for a social gathering you will often hear “I found the perfect parking spot” or “parking around here is miserable” or other useless babble for those who consider parking important. The reality is that the majority of us have it easy, we can walk, which is actually something all of us need more of. You want to take some stress out of your life? Stop using half of a tank of gas looking for that spot 100 yards away from where all of the openings are. Use your good fortune of mobility to get you to where you need to go, and for the love of God leave the blue parking spots for those that are unfortunate enough to need them.

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