We’ve all been there, in the crowded parking lot searching for a parking place. It always seems to happen when we are running late and the stress level rises as we hunt for a spot. Then we spy one! It’s two rows over but it looks perfect. It looks perfect until we are right there. Some jerk has parked so far over the line that the spot is only good for the most compact of compact cars or a motorcycle.
We don’t know if the jerk is simply a poor parker or if he went over the line on purpose so no one else’s car doors would scratch his precious car. What we do know is that we cannot use the spot. We could lay in wait for the jerk and ask him why he parked that way but we don’t have the time. We could let the air out of his tires to show him what we think of his parking abilities but we are too civilized to do so. So we continue our pursuit for a parking place and forget about the rude parker.
Parking lots are prime places for frustration but sometimes there are positive occurrences. There were times I became so aggravated trying to park that I decided to forget the whole thing. More than once, just at that particular moment, a pedestrian stopped and asked if I needed a parking place. When I replied in the affirmative I was told to follow him and take his spot. What an act of kindness!
Most people, myself included, view non-disabled drivers parking in handicapped spots as the lowest of the low. Sometimes, though, there is another side to the story.
When my middle daughter first received her driver’s license she and my daughter-in-law borrowed our car for a shopping day. My daughter-in-law was coaching my daughter as to where she could park and my daughter was amazed at how easily they found spots. It was only at the end of the day that she realized they had only parked in handicapped spots. Since my daughter-in-law’s parents are both in wheelchairs those were the spots she knew.
It was with my daughter-in-law’s mother that I had the most interesting parking lot experience. Ada might use a wheelchair but it does not affect her independence at all. She has a car with an electric attachment that lowers her wheelchair from the roof to stand next to the driver’s seat. Then with a few quick movements she is able to maneuver herself straight into its seat. Unlike me, she is a good, confident driver and is willing to drive almost anywhere.
A different daughter-in-law was hospitalized for pregnancy Bedrest and Ada wanted to visit her. So we made plans. Her daughter would bring me to the hospital, we would meet in the parking lot, and the three of us would visit my other daughter-in-law together.
Hospital parking lots are probably the worst parking lots of all. They have to accommodate all the staff; medical, administrative, and maintenance and there are few spots left for visitors. Most of those visitors are not coming for happy reasons and they are stressed even before they begin their parking place search.
On that particular day my daughter-in-law found one of the last available spots. We assumed that her mother would not have any problems but we were wrong. All of the disabled spots any place halfway near where we needed to be were taken. Ada did not want to park in one of the far lots and have to wheel her chair for over ten minutes in the hot sun. Just as she was ready to give up and go back home she spied a spot. It was not a handicapped spot but it was an end spot, with a concrete sidewalk next to it, a perfect place to lower her wheelchair. As we stood waiting for her a woman drove by slowly.
“Is she leaving?” the woman asked eagerly.
We shook our heads as Ada began to lower her wheelchair. The woman’s eyes grew big at the sight.
“Is this a handicapped spot?”
We shook our heads again.
The woman’s face turned red. We could see that she was struggling to keep her temper but she was not successful.
“Why is she parking here, then?” the woman yelled. She drove off in a huff leaving us with our mouths opened wide in shock.
I wonder if she also yells at the non-disabled who park in handicapped spots. I guess we’ll never know.