Part of living in Rettland is the lovely blue place card that graces my rear view mirror whenever I go somewhere with Claire. There is a lot wrapped into this small piece of plastic. It separates us, set us apart. I remember sitting at the DMV when I first applied. I had a folder with the papers that the neurologist had signed. One form for our “disabled person place card” and the other for Make A Wish. Both things that would make my life easier. Both things that I wished I had never heard about.
With the place card comes some perks. Like parking at the mall the week of Christmas for that one thing I forgot, Claire is a great shopping buddy! Sometimes we get half off in parking garages and unlimited time at metered parking. It also carries a lot of weight with it. Like the constant reminder that people don’t think we exist. It is common that my neighbors park in the disabled spot when they just need to run into their house and don’t want to bother parking in the garage. Businesses often use the stripes that I need to get Claire into her wheel chair for loading. At our school there are a handful of thoughtful people who don’t park blocking the disabled spots but I still have to get out of my car, knock on a window and ask somebody to move a few times a week. It doesn’t occur to people that those spaces would actually be used. After all, old people don’t go to elementary schools, except on grandparents day. But we do and it’s hard that few people think when they block the disabled spots.
People think to not park in a fire lane that is painted red or in front of a fire hydrant. Believe it or not, but some people actually defend their reasons for blocking the disabled spots. Not in an apologizing sort of way. More of an, you inconvenience the world with your incessant need for space and accommodations sort of way. It’s something that happens that nobody thinks about.That happens, often.
People don’t take the spots to screw over the disabled people. They just can’t be bothered with a harder solution that might take more time. That’s not an option that I have. My only option is to transfer Claire to her wheelchair and that requires space. Space that I wish I didn’t need.
I put this out not just to whine but so that you can know. Living in Rettland is complicated on so many levels. Even simple things like parking often get complicated and emotional. That is why those of you that are thoughtful and leave notes to the offenders or ask people to move matter so much. When small things are big it goes both ways.
*****Most of my readers know better and aren’t the people who are out there being inconsiderate. Thank you for that!