Monday, May 4, 2009

Handicapped parking spaces

Okay, I don't want to rant often in this blog, but I just have to share something. I went out tonight, and as I got to my destination, I looked for a handicapped parking space. Well what do you know? There's a delivery truck parked across 2 handicapped spots. So I kindly (I always start with kindness - my mom taught me that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar) mentioned that he was blocking 2 handicapped spots, and he had the nerve to look at me in my wheelchair and say "I have to make my deliveries ma'am. If I had to wait for a parking space, I wouldn't be able to make all of my deliveries." Is he kidding? I told him that that really didn't matter, he wasn't allowed to park in handicapped spots. He could not have cared less what I had to say.

Later, I went to a movie. The theater I like has one of those nice big, single bathrooms for families or handicapped folks. I went to go to that ladies room, and there was a gaggle of teenage girls in there brushing their hair. Okay, they don't know better (although John said they should have), so I went to the regular ladies room. This theater actually has 2 handicapped stalls. Those of us with wheelchairs do not fit in the smaller stalls, the wheelchairs are too wide and too deep. One of the handicapped stalls was out of order, so I went to the other one. The only other person in the bathroom was in that stall!! Was the Universe out to get me tonight? Unfortunately, no! More often than not, there are people in the handicapped stalls in ladies' rooms, even when other stalls are available. I get it, they're bigger. And to people's credit, the ladies generally apologize when they come out of the stall and see me waiting. But really!!

People, of course the handicapped amenities are easier, that's the point! Of course the bathroom stalls are bigger and the parking spaces are closer. DUH! And people parked in handicapped parking spaces inevitably say, "I was only going to be a minute." Yes, and you cost me an extra half hour and more pain because I had to park across the lot. Nice one! I really wish the police departments would allow handicapped folks to write tickets to people who are illegally parked in the spaces. We are the ones being inconvenienced, we are the ones with a vested interest in keeping those spaces clear.

Okay, so that would cure the problem of people parked in the spaces who don't have the placard or the plate. But what about the people who do have the placard, then go hopping out of their car and jogging into the store? I personally have a friend who carries his mother's handicapped placard in his car for when he drives her around. The problem is, he sees nothing wrong with using the placard when mom is NOT in the car. Clearly where he has to go is more important than where the disabled have to go. I have asked him about it, and he generally laughs and says something like "I know, isn't it great!" He just doesn't get it. We aren't friends anymore, that just seems so disrespectful.

But you have to be really careful about asking people with placards if they really are disabled. People do have a right to privacy after all. They might have a heart condition which prohibits them from walking distances. Or, many people with enough pain to be seriously limited, but not in a wheelchair, should be able to get tags. As I say, it's a shame that painful areas don't turn green, then at least people would know.

Sometimes I will ask someone who appears fine but is parking in a handicapped spot if they realize that they are in a handicapped space. I figure that's hint enough to the non-disabled, without being intrusive. But that backfired on me at the mall once. A gal hopped out of her car, briskly walking toward the mall. I said "excuse me, do you know you're parked in a handicapped parking space?" Well, the Universe got me again, she looked at me in my wheelchair and (honest to goodness - I couldn't make this up) said "oh, thank you for reminding me. I almost forgot to put my blue thingy up. It's my mom's, but she says I can use it." Like somehow her mom had the power to allow her to break the law. But what could I say? I was frankly so flabbergasted, I couldn't say anything.

I really don't think people are being mean, they're just oblivious! People just don't think. Like I have said before, I get to see people behaving well it's just when they stop thinking that they do something stupid. So think people!

Okay, end of rant. Feel free to join in the discussion.


  1. I've often been tempted to have sticky notes made up that I can stick on the windshield of someone parked (perhaps unlawfully) in a handicapped space.
    "There are many truly handicapped people who need this space. Think twice before you park here if you don't need to be here!!!"

  2. Cats never leave their cars in handicapped parking - that's why I prefer them over people.

  3. why not call the police or report them to the store management???
    a good manager will call police for you.
    not 911 but the regular number.

    Restroom thoughts -ask the girls if you can use the restroom because the others are in use/broken etc?

  4. Yes Anonymous, you are absolutely right, I can report to store managers that someone is illegally parked in a handicapped parking space. And yes, I could have asked the girls to please leave that bathroom. But I'm working towards the bigger picture. I am trying to promote an awareness that would stop those incidents from happening in the first place. I want to open dialogues where people can hear the struggles of people with disabilities, and work together at minimizing those struggles. I don't think that those people were being mean-spirited, I think they simply didn't understand. I want to help them to understand the cost of their actions, then maybe they won't do it again. That's my goal.

  5. Dear Judy,

    There is hope. There is help. A doctor in Corpus Christi has been successfully treating RSD for over 15 years. He treated me and gave me back my life. In his clinic, I met many of his patients. I found people here in town he has treated, and I know them. I met people from other states and other countries. He has a very high success rate. His treatment is non-invasive. It is drug free. He has a book out. You can read the first part of it for free on Google Book Search. The book itself is listed on Amazon. The title is PAIN BANISHMENT. His website is If you click on the Patient Testimonials link, you will see a drop-down list. Click on your ailment of choice (he also treats illnesses related to RSD). You will be taken to YouTube where you can see and hear patients talk about what he has done for them. This treatment is the best thing out there. This doctor is worth checking out. My very best to you.

  6. Anonymous ~

    I have seen your posts many times on the RSD and Chronic Pain support groups. I took the chance to visit the website and read the first chapter of the book you sited.

    While at first I thought it all looked promising, I'm not so sure now. I have been offered a lot of snake oil. Now that's not to say that that's what this is, I don't know, but it just seems dubious. If it works so well, why haven't I seen clinical trials with it? Where are the follow-up and long-term studies? Just having patient testimonial isn't enough to sway me, I'm sorry to say. Why doesn't my doctor, a leading expert on pain management, have any information about it? Why has he never heard of the machine? Why is nobody else using this technique? I'm also leery as this doctor sells his machine, so he has a vested interest in it working.

    I invite comment from any of his patients. Perhaps I will take a trip to Corpus Christi and see for myself. But I do question "easy answers" to a quite complete disease.

  7. I get looks for using my placard when I am not in my wheelchair or using my cane. I use it though b/c by the end of my shopping trip I am exhausted and in sooo much more pain. I have to try and ignore the bad looks and stares though. I do find that it is hard to find spots sometimes and I hate when people use them who truly don't need them, like using other peoples tags.