Friday, December 14, 2012

Faith In Humanity Un-restored

Last night I witnessed a travesty. I was parked next to the handicapped spot at a pharmacy, waiting for someone I'd dropped off. Over the next 20 minutes, I watched FOUR different cars park in that handicapped spot. These cars featured a total of ZERO handicapped people and ZERO handicapped permits.

All you have to do to see we're a selfish society is open your eyes, but I kinda thought we all had an agreement on this handicapped spot thing. I've never parked in one and I don't know anybody who has. But based on last night's display, now I'm wondering if this is just something everybody does, even my friends. As we know, people break rules based on how likely it is they'll get caught, with no regard to the effect breaking said rule has on other people. We even have commercials that tell you not to drink and drive "because you'll get caught," not "because you might kill everybody."

But back to last night: The first person was a woman with a very young child. While still pissed at her, I figured at least with her she probably thought she "deserved" a special spot--they do have these in some parking lots. When she got back to her gigantic vehicle, she buckled the kid in, started the engine, and got on the phone. Putting her kid's life in danger AND making disabled people walk farther, nice!

The second person was some guy, totally healthy, went in, came out, left.

The third person was a woman who further mocked the disabled by trotting up over the high curb. She even went to multiple stores. At this point I was hoping the person I'd dropped off would come back, because she's an old woman who takes a long time to get in the car. Her door was next to the offending driver's door. And it happened! That perfectly healthy woman had to stand there waiting for a REAL disabled person before she could get in her car. Man, that was sweet. But I wonder if the stupid woman even saw the irony. I would have loved to have said to her, "Oh I'm sure you understand, being handicapped yourself and all...."

Then as I helped my friend with her seat belt, we watched as a fourth perfectly abled person pulled his humungous truck into the handicapped spot.

Did I mention there were dozens of empty spaces all over this lot?

With a disabled person in tow, you may be wondering why I wasn't in the handicapped spot to begin with. Duh, because it was taken. Who knows if that car had a tag, but based on the 0-for-4 I saw, I'm gonna guess it didn't. (In fact, I originally had to drop my person off from about 50 feet farther away, and only moved into the next-to-handicapped spot while she was in the store.)

And just in case some of you are thinking, "maybe they didn't see the sign," well, there was the blue handicapped parking sign on a post right in front of that spot at eye level, AND the wheelchair logo painted on the ground in the spot. You can even see it from space:

Whatta ya know, it was actually empty when the Google satellite passed over....

P.S. This was in Newport. So it could just be a study in how entitled people live their lives. But I'm guessing this is a much bigger problem. If you ever want to do an experiment, go hang out by a handicapped spot and watch the magic.

Sadly think this is a global issue as no different here in the UK. Myself and my fiancee used to have the same problem when she had a car (sold it a few months ago as her MS symptoms made driving too hard for her). Despite having the disabled badges etc we always struggled to use any official handicapped spot and invariably we would see the clearly able bodied driver coming back to their vehicle and no sign of the needed badge on the windshield/dashboard to allow them to park there..

People are just getting more and more selfish and will take whatever they feel they can get, whether they deserve to or not as everyone seems to have a false sense of entitlement irrespective of their class, level of wealth etc
And now another school shooting, this time 2 towns from where I grew up. I have friends from Newtown, dated a girl from there, my band used to play Newtown Teen Center all the time, etc. At first they said one teacher got shot int he foot, then it was the principal was killed, and now they're saying a dozen killed, including little kids.
Now they say 27 dead, at least 10 kids, I can't even believe this..... little elementary school kids...
My mom has a handicapped placard, which we use when I am taking her to her medical appointments, to get her hair cut, and occasionally to the store, and I would say that almost all of the time, if there are cars in the handicapped spots, they have plates or placards. That said, we're rarely at the mall, or at places where folks run in and out quickly and might feel more entitled to be ridiculously self-centered and use a spot for their healthy selves. I would NEVER park in a handicapped spot on my own. NEVER.

That said, I'm glad folks do check for the placard when they see someone who appears to be able-bodied. Some days my mom doesn't look too bad (well, considering she's 85 and using a quad cane), but she's had the placard for a while because she has a blood cancer that's treatable but incurable and really wipes her out. It's not always evident that someone needs the short route in and out of the lot--sometimes it's things like getting that close parking space that enable someone with a less-visible handicap to function close to normally. But, those folks should have their placards or plates!

I don't have any idea what to say about the tragedy.
Two weeks ago I was getting gas and saw a woman getting a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot. The best part? She was halfway out of it, as though she were trying to pull out before the officer stopped her, which added to the humor.

I must make a confession though: My father has a placard, and, while visiting my uncle for a 4th of July party, my brother and sis-in-law realized they had not brought any diapers for my nephew, who desperately needed one. My aunt and uncle live in an urbanized/rural section of Arizona (go two miles north outside of their community, there is literally nothing but sand for the next fifty or so) and I had to drive some distance to the local store to get some Pampers. In a hurry, and noticing the parking lot was crowded, I parked in a handicapped spot and ran in, excusing my behavior with "the baby needs me to hurry!"

As I'm walking back to the car, I see someone in another handicapped spot getting into his wheelchair - because he had no legs. Wow. “You are such a prick” I thought to myself. I knew it, and the guy just looked at me and nodded his head with a “What’s up?” gesture. Perfectly friendly and with no obvious malice or contempt, both of which I desperately deserved.

Lesson learned., the hard way.
Maybe one of those people who parked there had a stuh-stuh-stuh-stutter!


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Location: Rhode Island, United States