Saturday, September 23, 2006

how to feel like a jerk

1. Drive with Robb to the Saturday farmer's market. He probably could walk down there, but after walking the market, you would be lugging both Robb and the groceries up a very long, very steep hill.

2. Most of the handicapped spaces are taken up by the farmers' trucks. You're used to this. The placement of those spots is unfortunate, because there really is no other spot for the vendors to park so they can unload their produce.

3. After the third spin around the parking lot, drop Robb off to start shopping without you.

4. On the fourth revolution around the parking lot, a huge suv will dart in front of you, and zip into a newly-opened handicapped parking space.

5. Roll down your window and demand to know if they, in fact, have the right to park in this space.

6. The driver of this vehicle will look at you in dismay and disgust, and wave their handcapped placard out their open door.

7. You hang your head in shame.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

No reason to feel like a jerk. Too many perfectly healthy people park in handicapped places. Had a "converstaion" with a guy once....no hang tag, no special license place and no placard in the window....so I said something to him. He picks up a card from the floor of the vehicle and waves it at me. I reminded him that the handicapped sign was to be visible....and I walked away....proud that I'd done a good deed!

A lot of handicaps are not visible!!!!!!! They just can't read or think!!!
Zoemomma

shiloh said...

In my Dad's case his disability was respitory. He has a hang card but doesn't use it. Instead he just parks as close as he can and then sets down as soon as he gets in the store.

But unfortunately it's true that many people take adventage of the handicap parking. I do just the opposite,I park at the *other end* of the lot,I need all the exercise I can get. :)

Shiloh

Lisa and Robb said...

In California, you are not supposed to hang your placard from the rear view mirror when you drive, and most cars do not have handicapped license plates.

So it is very difficult to tell who is actually allowed to park, until they actually fish out their tag and hang it up.

I'm a jerk...I'll admit that.

I was mis-directing my frustrations, and feel suitably contrite for my foolish outburst.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you should be ashamed either. The farmers should. I can understand they need a place close to unload BUT they have to be there so early that they could easily unload and move their illegally parked trucks.

Yes, it takes some extra thought. Yes, it takes concern for others to even consider the need to do this. If they want to show some good business sense, they'd do it though. They could be losing customers who aren't physically able to opt for distant spaces.

Maybe next time you're there you could mention to a few people how "it's a shame that the market is probably losing customers who really need those handicapped spaces. I wonder why the trucks weren't moved when they were through unloading."

Or maybe you're not nearly as nervy as I would be... :-)

Knit Wit

wassamatta_u said...

Just because someone HAS one of those placards, doesn't mean they DESERVE it. It seems like 50% of the time I watch someone park in a handicapped spot, placard in view, they STILL spritely hop out of the vehicle and dash into the store without any hint of a reason why they should have a placard. The possibility that there COULD be a reason is the only thing that stops me from yelling "Hey, buddy, that is for the PHYSICALLY handicapped!"

Ok, so I'm not the most politically-correct person...

-wassamatta_u

Lisa and Robb said...

Funny you should mention that, because everytime I use a handicapped parking spot to pick Robb up or drop him off somewhere, I think I look like a huge cheater.

When he was first home from the hospital, he couldn't always manage to walk all the way back to the car, so I would return to the parking space without him, and then pick him up a the curb.

Even today, I dropped him at the market, and then parked the car. It *is* legal to do this, and use a handicapped space, but sometimes it feels pretty weird.

Anonymous said...

Although an embarasing moment, don't feel too bad about it. The person in the van has probably had similar instances where he/she has tried to find a handicap parking spot, only to find them all taken up with "non-handicapped" cars. Even though no-one in my family is in need, it has always been a pet peeve of mine to see this abuse by others. I have voiced my opinion loudly on many occasion when I see such a culprit, but it seems to fall on deaf ears to those who choose to be so inconsiderate.

Sahalie

Anonymous said...

Again, let me repeat, I wish I had a card for my car on those days I feel especially mentally handicapped. Except that I should not even be allowed to drive on those days.

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

When my girls were young and I was their Girl Scout Leader, I had two girls in my troop whose mother had a spinal cord injury shortly after their birth. She was paralized from the waist down and totally wheelchair dependent. This didn't keep her down much...she had a van that was adapted for her chair and for her to drive.

One afternoon, they were at the store and the youngest girl became sick...fever, vomiting. This woman took the girls immediately out to her van...only to find that someone had parked ILLEGALLY next to her (in a spot that was NOT A PARKING SPOT...closer to the store than the handicapped spots.) This totally blocked her from opening the door that had the lift mechanism for her wheelchair.

So, there she sat with a puking kid and unable to go home! It took more than a half hour for the police to respond and tow the car! In all that time, the car owner never came out of the store. I was so glad that THAT JERK got towed!

So, see... you are not even close to becoming a bona fide jerk!

Bandaid

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I think feeling a little bit like a jerk is appropriate. Ditto for anyone who questions anyone's right to park in the handicapped spaces. Handicapped people (like me) get stared at and hassled and called liars all day long -- adding to the hate game doesn't help. And, it's not up to any one else to "do a good deed" and police the spaces. The real message behind that is to tell the handicapped they should be ashamed for having to use the space. In other words, if you were *really* disabled, you'd never leave the house, or, at least, would have the decency to die efficiently so that you don't irritate Clint Eastwood with your attempts to be a human being.

(And, about not being "politically correct" -- another phrase for a "politically correct person" is "basically decent human being who doesn't go around spreading hate, stereotypes and bigotry, or otherwise poking their bigot nose into other people's business." So, yes, not being PC is something to be ashamed of. Really ashamed. Not the fake, passive aggressive kind where what you're really saying is you have the right to call handicapped people liars in your spare time. Jerk.)

Robb said...

I think I never really understood what pc meant. Now I'm sure I don't.

As you know, the police are *never* around when someone is violating handicapped parking privileges.

I think it's perfectly appropriate for any citizen to let a violator know they are being observed in their illegal and inconsiderate behavior. You wouldn't just watch someone stealing from somebody in a public place and not say anything.

I think the "real message" sent by someone blowing the whistle has more to do with a desire to uphold equality and fairness and less to do with Clint Eastwood and wishing somebody was dying efficiently.

I realize there must be a share of suspicion and loathing out there directed toward the disabled (as there is against any group you can name)and it makes me feel all the more fortunate that Lisa and I live here in the Bay Area (one of the birthplaces of the disability rights movement) where I encounter nothing but kindness, deference and understanding in the course of a day.

I hope you can give people a second chance and I truly hope the world treats you better.

Keep love in your heart and you can get through anything. (It really is the best revenge ;)

Cassie said...

remember that my grandma had a disabled plate and my grandfather refused to use the parking spaces unless she was in the car or he was picking her up from somewhere even though a lot of people do that. That's always stuck with me. Even though we're completely able bodied my husband and I always get irritated when we see people who are obviously misusing the spaces.

I do think that temporary disabled passes should be issued to women with high risk pregnancies though. Many times I looked longingly at the empty disabled parking spots as I waddled across the parking lots. I was actually climbing out of the car when the scar from my first c-section split open and I started bleeding internally, fortunately I was at the hospital's valet parking when it happened. I would have hated to be at the back end of a parking lot. I know that there are special spots on the military bases for pregnant women. I thought that was quite interesting and quite helpful for them. They just get a placard from their doctor's when they reach a certain point in gestation. All's well that end's well I guess.

Anonymous said...

Where I live, I see more handicapped placards (funny, but not so many permanent plates) used. You can rarely find a hc spot open (Mom is hc'd). I too see the people, young and old, walk completely healthy to the store. I sometimes wonder (are they mentally handicapped and if so, does that really warrant a hc parking permit?) Sometimes I want to walk up to them and seriously ask them, "What's really going on?" But, I don't because I figure someone poaching hc spots is probably violent also.

Janet, TX (usually just lurking)

Anonymous said...

Hey Robb,

I have a healthy sense of outrage, and am smart enough to let my tax dollars work for me. I am not a complete butt head, but I know a few people who especially appreciate handicapped spaces, (because they are the people they are intended for!) So what I do now that I got my first cell phone, is go in the store and report them to security.

I only started doing this because once at an extremely busy local garden shop some idiot woman in a hummer parked (badly) in a disabled spot, and prevented a HC card bearing vehicle from getting that spot about 4 seconds later.

I went inside, having spotted the driver of the hummer, and told her she was blocking someone who needed the spot, and would she please move it. ( Apparently my little samaratin gesture is not appreciated.) The expensively-dressed hummer driver loudly snapped at me and told me she didn't have the time, and to leave her alone. Well, to be honest, it was the way she berated me publically in the store that gave birth to......

TAAA DAAAA "Annalisa, Saturday's Champion of the HC Drivers!".

Call me an overachiever. I called the police, I called store security, and I called the manager. Luckily, the handicapped driver was still outside looking for a spot that didnt exist. So I had backup, so to speak.

It all worked out well, with the irate hummer driver being given a ticket and having her hummer towed, since she ABSOLUTELY, Obsitnately refused to move, claiming she didnt see why SHE had to be inconvienenced for other people. I'm not making this up. This was not a woman parked outside the emergency room at a hospital, she was at a garden store leisurely buying plants on a Saturday.

I felt good about doing what I did, and it was the person's own bad behavior that ended up complicating her day. The people in the store afterwords told me they were glad someone spoke up, the hummer driver chronically did this, and it was a store that habitually sold plants to the "Healing Garden" recovery unit in our area, so they have their fair share of HC drivers as well.

So, anyway, be aware others are looking out for you.

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

Hey Robb,

I have a healthy sense of outrage, and am smart enough to let my tax dollars work for me. I am not a complete butt head, but I know a few people who especially appreciate handicapped spaces, (because they are the people they are intended for!) So what I do now that I got my first cell phone, is go in the store and report them to security.

I only started doing this because once at an extremely busy local garden shop some idiot woman in a hummer parked (badly) in a disabled spot, and prevented a HC card bearing vehicle from getting that spot about 4 seconds later.

I went inside, having spotted the driver of the hummer, and told her she was blocking someone who needed the spot, and would she please move it. ( Apparently my little samaratin gesture is not appreciated.) The expensively-dressed hummer driver loudly snapped at me and told me she didn't have the time, and to leave her alone. Well, to be honest, it was the way she berated me publically in the store that gave birth to......

TAAA DAAAA "Annalisa, Saturday's Champion of the HC Drivers!".

Call me an overachiever. I called the police, I called store security, and I called the manager. Luckily, the handicapped driver was still outside looking for a spot that didnt exist. So I had backup, so to speak.

It all worked out well, with the irate hummer driver being given a ticket and having her hummer towed, since she ABSOLUTELY, Obsitnately refused to move, claiming she didnt see why SHE had to be inconvienenced for other people. I'm not making this up. This was not a woman parked outside the emergency room at a hospital, she was at a garden store leisurely buying plants on a Saturday.

I felt good about doing what I did, and it was the person's own bad behavior that ended up complicating her day. The people in the store afterwords told me they were glad someone spoke up, the hummer driver chronically did this, and it was a store that habitually sold plants to the "Healing Garden" recovery unit in our area, so they have their fair share of HC drivers as well.

So, anyway, be aware others are looking out for you.

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

"I too see the people, young and old, walk completely healthy to the store. I sometimes wonder (are they mentally handicapped and if so, does that really warrant a hc parking permit?)"

THIS IS HATRED. These are people who, for whatever reason, have perfectly legal handicapped placards, and are obeying the law. IT IS NONE OF JANET'S OR ANYONE ELSE'S BUSINESS WHAT THEIR DISABILITY IS. JANET, OR ANY OTHER NON-DISABLED NOSEY JERK, IS NOT THEIR SUPERIOR AND THEREFORE SOMEHOW MYSTERIOUSLY ENTITLED TO JUSTIFICATION FROM THEM.

MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS. THAT YOU CAN'T GET THE CONCEPT OF "INVISIBLE DISABILITY" IS BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT TRYING VERY HARD, OR ARE DEALING WITH COGNITIVE PROBLEMS OF YOUR OWN, NOT BECAUSE THOSE PERFECTLY INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE LIARS.

(And, Janet, most handicapped people have placards instead of license plates not because they're lazy liars, but because they have more than one vehicle, or because they car pool. Jerk.)

ANYONE POKING THEIR NOSE INTO ANY ONE ELSE'S USE OF A HANDICAPPED PLACARD OR LICENSE PLATE IS A HATE-FILLED BIGOT JERK LOSER. PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, Janet's enjoying her sense of superiority far too much to give up her hatred (the jerk), but anyone else who's legitimately interested in why they might not approve of the "healthy" appearance of someone using handicapped parking can start their personal journey of education here:

http://www.myida.org/theylook.htm

Anonymous said...

Another post on this issue-

There was a TV news story in my area of Detroit that featured people who were NOT handicapped, who "borrowed" the handicapped tag from their family members, so that they themselves could park where ever they wanted.

The parkers were directly asked by the interviewer if they themselves were handicapped, and the people looked sheepish and admitted they were not, but used it anyway. Some justified themselves as saying they were running errends for someone who was handicapped. One person said he had been handicapped and had recovered, but enjoyed the easy parking, so continued with his behavior. Either way, not one was a person who displayed any medically justifiable "disabledness". None could refer the interviewer to a doctor, about any condition, that required use of the HC parking spot. The show featured 70 offenders on the program, all on the same day.

In the state of Michigan, ( which is a totally car-based culture, producing a generally overweight populace), one is considered "handicapped" if they are unable to run a certain distance in a specified amount of time, so therefore the HC spaces are generally used by the driving elderly, and many obese individuals. I have never in 10 years seen anyone using crutches, or walkers or wheelchairs, or canes (even the elderly) parked in a HC spot when I am at any store. I do indeed see healthy looking people using the spots as a "convienence", and some are ignorant and confident enough to even leave the car running as they sprint into the store.

I do indeed know people who are required to use physical supports as they move around, most of them are ex-military, and have bum legs from shrapnel, bullet wounds, etc. Even ex-military don't like to use the spots, because they dont like to inconvienence someone they perceive as worse off then themselves. But boy does it make them cranky to see the spot being mis-used.

Annalisa

Eclipse said...

Dear Anonymous poster full of hate: Please work through your issues before bringing them to a public forum and causing drama. We all thank you.

Lisa, I don't think you should feel like a jerk. I don't have an HC card but I could probably qualify; I don't get one because 75% of the time I don't need it - it's only the other 25% when I wish I had it. I have decent parking karma anyway - and sometimes I wonder if that's my reward for not abusing the system. Nonetheless, I am dismayed when I see people who appear to be abusing the system. Who am I to judge? Nobody, yet I still think that most of us (excluding poor Anonymous) can agree that we've seen the placard abused not infrequently by people who - while they may be challenged in some way, do not appear to have any difficulties going into and out of a business, and who could've easily parked in a non-HC nearby spot and saved that spot for someone who really needed it, just choosing to be thoughtful.

I can totally sympathize with how you must've felt. But don't be too hard on yourself; we've all thought - or, as some others have shared here, done - the same thing. In your shoes I probably would've done the same thing, and you asked out of legitimate need. Don't sweat it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eclipse the Bigot:

Hassling disabled people with parking placards is against the law, especially when people are parking en route to their workplace. Please keep doing it. I'd love to see you lose your job for being an "all-knowing" bigot ass.

Funny thing. When my city tried to "crack down" on placard abuse, they found that well over 90% of the people with placards (including the people whose invisible disabilities you and hate-bigot bastards like you presume to be able to spot and approve or disapprove of at 400 feet even though you obviously don't know a damn thing about medical issues of any kind) were well within the law. We're also preparing a class action suit as a result of people with invisible disabilities being targeted for harassment. Please keep up your bigot behavior. Sicko bigots like you need to be fined or fired until you learn to shut the fuck up and leave law-abiding, disabled people the fuck alone. We've got enough to deal with, including illness, weakness and pain, without having to add daily contact with bigot moron hate-mongers like you.

Stupid fuck.

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