Park and shop…..2012 version.

I no longer have to worry about my daily workout on the days I go to the supermarket. Thanks to specially designated parking spaces, the walk from and back to where I eventually have to park the car provides all the cardiovascular exercise I need. I only wish they would set up medical aid stations at various intervals like they do for marathons.

Am I the only one who has noticed how the available spaces left for we “normal” folks have dwindled to a precious few? Or how the disabled designated spaces have multiplied from the original few to dozens? Before you call me an insensitive lout (I may be one, but that doesn’t mean you have to call me one), I am all in favor of spaces for the truly disabled. But I don’t think you should get special parking because you decided it was alright to weigh more than the car you’re driving. Or because you have a “trick” knee and happen to play golf with your doctor. If you’re displaying a disabled placard, at least have the decency to “hobble” to the entrance so I will feel better.

But I could live with it if only the truly disabled got special privilege. But now there are reserved spaces for pregnant women (who nowadays, for all we know, just finished a 10k race that morning), parents with small children (when did grocery shopping become equivalent to flying across the country?), senior citizens (like me, they should just be thankful they’re still here) and employees of the month (don’t you think they would rather get a decent hourly raise?). But why stop there? As long as we’re singling out these poor folks with challenging life situations, let’s be a little more compassionate and inclusive. Here’s a few suggestions for a few more special parking places. I’ve even designed the signs.

1. People texting; because they are too busy to watch for cars.

2. Singles who have unprotected sex; because they are obviously mentally disabled.

3. Parents with teenagers; because they get no respect at home.

4. Parents whose last kid just went to college; because they’re going to buy expensive champagne.

5. People who got chewed out by their boss today; because they now have low self-esteem.

6.The disgruntled employee of the month; because after all, fair is fair.

7. Anyone who is in a minority; because the majority has had it too good for too long, dammit.

I’m sure I have missed some needy groups that have as much right to special parking as anyone. If you happen to think of one, let me know. Oh wait, I just thought of one, how about “first come, first served?”

33 thoughts on “Park and shop…..2012 version.

  1. This must be a local problem because I can tell you from experience that we had the darnedest time finding handicapped parking on vacation. At all the beach parking lots, there were a total of two handicapped spaces, and they were always filled. In some places, we couldn’t even find one. At the rest areas there were only three or four, tops. Many times George had to drop me off and then go find a place to park. It does make me very angry when I see people who abuse their handicapped placards. If the placard is only for your spouse and he or she isn’t even in the car or are just going to sit and wait while you run in a store, then a handicapped spot should be left for someone who really needs it. I guess I’m just a little sensitive because this darned broken foot. As for those other reserved spots, that’s just plain ridiculous!

    • That’s exactly what those spots are for. People with temporary disabilities like you and those permanently disabled. I’d be willing to bet that nearly 50% of the usage is bogus.

  2. I’m pleased to say we are still living in the ark ages, where disabled parking is specifically for that purpose and there are only a few of them. However, this doesn’t stop the perfectly healthy from using them. My late partner used shout, rather loudly, when a clearly able bodied person parked in one of these spaces “It’s a miracle! He can walk!”. At least it drew attention to the sod. Made me laugh too. I’m a big fan of laughter.

  3. Yes, I get irritate with the designated parking spaces. But when I hurt my back and had to walk slower than a turtle, I appreciated saving every step I could. What burns me the most are those folks who nab a HC sticker, park in the spot and hop into the store. Maybe there’s an internal reason for their disability, but I uncharitably doubt it.

    I’m sorry about your mom. I took care of mine, too, and was thankful for designated parking and every person who held the door for us. Little things mean a lot when your hands are full.

    • Thanks for the comment, Barb. Sounds like we had a little bit in common there for a while. I’ll probably have a totally different outlook if I ever have to use one, God forbid.

  4. You are so on-track, Al! Then I feel like an idiot when I realize I’ve been driving around for 20 minutes to get a close-in parking spot…at the gym.

    • Funny, Peg. I never really mind walking too far after parking. Since I do 3-4 miles of power walking every day, it would be silly to fuss about a few extra yards. I just happened to notice all the different “special parking” these days which triggered the blog.

      If you read Bernice’s comment further down, you will see what she went through at a hospital. I guess a hospital would have to be considered a unique situation.

  5. Truth time: Both David and I have handicapped parking stickers, but I almost never use mine because David is usually driving. I needed one when I was a student. Do you have any idea what its like to compete with young people for parking spaces?

    David hated to get a handicapped card, but this last knee surgery has proved difficult to overcome. So he finally at age 82 gave in. This means he can park closer to the elevators at the hospital when he visits his PT.

    Otherwise, I yell at people who park in Handicapped spaces when they shouldn’t, and both David and I try to walk as much as possible. Its good for you cane and all.

    • As I said, parking for truly disabled, like ramps at stores and restaurants are a great thing. I think most of the disabled, like you and David, would much rather not need it but eventually have to face the inevitable.

      I was very thankful for it when I had to take my mother around before she died.

      The cheaters are one of the lower life forms.

      • And, as I said, I am not using my handicapped placard at this time because David does most of the driving. I hate to drive. We often leave the handicapped spot for others. David hates to admit he needs a cane, and prefers to hobble into the store. We try to be thoughtful of the more fortunate youngsters like you. Dianne

  6. Great blog… only one thing wrong… Parents who send their kid off to college cannot AFFORD expensive champagne. At least THIS one can’t! Love ya! ~k

  7. I think it’s far easier to get a handicapped sticker than it once was. Unless it is written in the zoning regulations I don’t believe any of these other ‘designated’ parking spots are actually legal.

    I do so love the people who are bigger than their cars and still manage to drape themselves over an electric cart to do their shopping. Perhaps if they walked a bit, they might actually feel better. 🙂

      • I was watching a show about the super-morbidly obese and there was a woman in one of those carts at the grocery store. Two old guys said basically the same thing you said, but right in front of her – like she was invisible, or they assumed all her extra padding would shield her feelings. She started crying.

        These are people who have basically chosen to be disabled and it ticks me off, especially when society ends up carrying the financial burden for them. But I am also amazed at how some people think that gives us the right to berate them. Fatsos are the last minority it is socially acceptable to mock.

        p.s., I’m not talking about you, Jodi & Al, because we’re just kicking around ideas here – it’s not personal. I’m just jumping on a soapbox that resonates with me. Stepping off before I get nosebleed.

        • I’m with you on the insensitivity of mocking people, Peg. The relative anonymity of a blog gives me the courage to touch on these subjects.

          My mother became morbidly obese, by choice, after she turned 50. Prior to that, she had a model’s figure (she was in fact a model). It was a factious thing for us when I became her care-giver for the last 13 years of her life. It was all I could do to get her around, especially with my serious back problems. Needless to say, it contributed to her congestive heart failure.

          • I’m sorry for your pain, Al, to see someone you love do that to themselves. I’m also sorry you had to deal with the consequences of her actions.

            I really do think food is an addiction, like drugs or alcohol, because it’s something I’ve struggled with my whole life. Regardless of whether or not you or I and/or the medical community want to call it a disease, over-consuming is also a choice. Just like drugs or alcohol.

    • LOL. I always get out on the wrong side of the car park (and always get into the slowest moving line).

      P.S. We watched the opening ceremony yesterday (uninterrupted). Absolutely fantastic! We marveled at not just the beauty but the exquisite choreography. How so many people could move about their business and not run into each other was just amazing. Rowan Atkinson had us in tears from laughing so hard.

  8. I sympathize with you, Big Al. I went to the hospital the other day for an x ray and all the close-up parking spaces were for handicapped people. A little further on were reserved places for Cancer patients, then we come to reserved places for employees, then for Dr. So and So’s patients, then for Dr. So and So, etc etc. Can you imagine??? No place to park for a “normal” un-labeled person.

    • Love how you turn a phrase, Bernice. The next time a stranger asks me my name, I’m going to say I’m “unlabeled”. Funny.

      • Thank you, Al. There were also reserved parking for employees of the month, employees of the quarter, employee of the year, medical office staff parking, volunteers, ER patients, ER visitors, the Hearing Aid docs, and cardiac patients. Who on earth monitors and enforces all these reserved spaces!!!???

        • I know for a fact they monitor the disabled. One time we forgot my mother’s tag and 20 minutes later we had a ticket. The fine is excessive so I started a barrage of letters and finally proved she was disabled and got out of the fine. I think on all the others they just count on the public to chastise one another. Kind of a “citizens arrest” approach.

    • Griping? Did you think I was griping? Naaahh. Just making a casual observance of life as I am so wont to do. Thanks for commenting.

    • Nothing lights up for me except this reply deal to a statement so I’m writing in this space for the disabled. I must be cause I can’t figure this blog out. Anyway I hearya, and sometimes park in those specially designated spots anyway, risk the fine, wouldn’t pay it anyway, have never gotten caught. Hey, what about the lineup outside hockey rinks? Please! This is from Cindy B.

Your turn to write, but please don't be wittier than me. My ego is quite fragile.

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