Saturday, October 01, 2005

Angry disabled guy

The other day I went to pick up my son at kindergarten. I wasn't late, but had not a minute to spare. I drove to the convenient disabled parking space and found it occupied by a parked car. The car didn't have a disabled plate or placard, and it appeared that someone had parked "just for a second" while picking up their kid. I double-parked next to it (thus blocking it) and wondered if I could persuade the cop to give my ticket for double parking to the other car. Not likely, I thought, as I got out.

The other driver came over to the parked car. "Are you disabled?" I said, in my slurred voice, after a few limping steps, "Because these spaces are for us."

Us, I thought, I've never used "us" to include myself in the disabled community. That's a first...

"No," she said, "and I'm very sorry." Because we both started fiddling with our car doors, that was the end of the eye contact. She went to her vehicle and appeared ready to move it. I opened my door, but then that phrase "I'm very sorry" set off my alarms. Some people think "sorry" makes anything all right, so while she opened her door and I was looking down the street, I challenged sarcastically: "But you'll do it next time, when you need to, right?"

"Yes I will," came her answer.

And I suddenly I was angry. How snide, I thought. "Go to Hell!" I bellowed in my slurry voice.

I never thought I'd be the angry disabled guy yelling about parking. After all, there is no guarantee that the space will be available. There could have been another disabled person in it, or a tree fallen across it, or bears mating in it or something. In that case I should just find other parking. It was her attitude that bugged me.

She pulled out and did the double parking while I pulled in. Kids began to appear and she loaded hers and drove off. As I picked up my boy, I realized that she had probably misheard or misunderstood me.

When I said, "But you'll do it next time when you need to, right?" she probably thought I said something like "But you'll park elsewhere next time, right?" She answered "Yes I will" penitently.

It's still possible that she was being snide and nasty, but I now don't think she was. Basically, I yelled "Go to Hell!" at a woman who didn't deserve it.

Left grip is 30 pounds (26, 29, 30), right grip is 83 pounds (83, 80, 76), left leg balance is 3.76 seconds, and inhale volume is 4490 mL.
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