Super Power.

I have decided that my super power (for now) will be the ability to determine whether that guy who just pulled in without a placard actually NEEDS to park in the “handicap parking space”.

And it he doesn’t, I’ll make it so he DOES need it.

Yessirree.

8 comments

  1. alyson says:

    Can I say that as someone who didn’t look like they needed a handicapped space when I first qualified (and had a placard), I find this pretty offensive? I really did need that space then and while I also need it now that I’m a wheelchair user, I need it for completely different reasons (and back when I walked ‘normally’ I often needed it more than I need it now since now I mostly need it for width).

    I know handicapped parking fraud can be high in some areas, but I got so many dirty looks from people and questions and as long as I have a placard it’s honestly none of their business. It made me not want to go out and caused a lot of tears and stress. And cops can varify that it was issued to me, no one else needs to question that.

    Also, the looks and stares didn’t stop when I started using a wheelchair. I once had a guy threaten me by waving his cane outside his car window, telling me I was too young to be disabled. What he couldn’t see at that point was my wheelchair on the seat next to me. He also didn’t see me break down in the Apple Store 5 minutes later because I was so scared he was going to come after me.

    Sorry, I normally like your posts, but this one gets to me because I’ve been the 18 y/o with a disabled parking placard walking without any aid because her parents wouldn’t let her have one (and living at home that means no choice), only going out if I absolutely had to, and getting harassed because I ‘didn’t look as if I needed it’ by people who missed the parts where I’d sit down on the floor of stores or fall over.

    Also, if you had said superpower wouldn’t that pretty much limit you into being forced to be a parking cop who checked such things since you’d be the only person who could just magically tell?

  2. violet says:

    Alyson – I am running out, right now, to take care of a few things, so I can’t reply in depth immediately. But, I also don’t want you to think I’m not GOING to reply. :) You can probably already guess that it’s not my intent to be offensive here – and I apologize for offending you – but I do have a few recent incidents and observations that have prompted this post, and I’ll explain them as soon as I have time to do so.

  3. Sylvain says:

    Oh boy. I have so much to say. Let me collect my thoughts.

    • violet says:

      Aw, jeez, if Sylvain is gathering his thoughts it probably means I’m about to get a smack down. ;)

      (Then again, that was 3 hours ago… So it’s either going to be a HUGE smack down or he’s forgotten.. *grin*)

      Alyson, first and foremost, you do not need to apologize to ME for not agreeing with me, regardless of whether you like most of my other posts (or not)! Let’s make sure that’s really clear. And that goes for any subject. It’s my blog, yes, and so I get to say whatever I want, but I definitely like hearing other people’s opinions and ideas and feelings about things – especially when it provides me with an angle I hadn’t considered, info I didn’t know, or just helps me to ‘get’ someone else’s side of things.

      My tongue-in-cheek super power is, obviously, not feasible or realistic and is completely unlikely to come true. And, were I given the chance to actually manifest those powers, I’d certainly want to take some time to plan things out a LOT more and make sure I had figured out all the ‘right’ ways to make things happen.

      That, and I’d probably choose the super power of a faster metabolism and the ability to eat more chocolate. Or not needing sleep to be sane and functional. Or.. well, yeah.

      I also admit that I do not require the use of the handicap/disability parking space – so my hostility about it is not personally applicable other than my personal feelings of ‘right’ vs ‘wrong’.

      And, also – I don’t know where you’re from, so I don’t know if the laws, bylaws, rules, etc. are the same where you are and where I am. So I’m only able to speak to where I live.

      I can’t speak to your parents’ feelings or actions, either. I don’t know what their motivations were/are.

      First – I strongly feel that the criteria for obtaining the placard, in the first place, should be a doctor’s note stating that it is medically necessary. Right now, there are very specific criteria for that doctor’s note – certain disabilities or illnesses, for example – and I disagree with that. I think that if my doctor and I agree that it would be appropriate for me to have one, it’s no one else’s business why that is. I don’t think the permit people (government) need to have that explained – just a doctor’s note stating, “This person needs a placard permanently/temporarily”, depending on the situation.

      Part of why I stated that I’d like the power to identify people who ‘need’ the spaces is because I recognize that many, many disabilities and illness are invisible. I have no urge to simply persecute anyone and everyone parking in those spots – and, in fact, I have never once made a comment to someone in those spots without a placard (even when I’m fairly certain that they don’t need to be there – I don’t know.) I generally only confront people when their behaviour is confirmedly awful – in any capacity – and even then, I’m cautious about how I do it, just in case my perception is wrong. I am sorry that people have been awful to you.

      Around here, if you don’t have a placard, you are technically eligible for a fine of up to $300 and to have your car towed at your expense.

      Here’s where we agree, I think – if you are someone who NEEDS that spot, shouldn’t it be available to you when you need to use it?

      I have witnessed, very often, people using the handicap spaces as a loading zone – the driver waiting in the car while the passenger runs in for a quick item or two. The theory, I suppose, is that “if someone who needs it comes along, I’ll move then..” The thing is, I’ve been seeing it more and more and more in recent years – either because I’m looking for it more often or, perhaps, because people are doing it more. After all, those two or three PRIME parking spaces are quite often EMPTY and, well, it’s just stupid to leave them empty.. I’m just ONE person and there are a few other spots and I’m not being a jerk, I’m just using it for a few minutes!

      Again, if that placard is in place, I’m not even batting an eyelash if you park there.

      For most people, it is NOT a hardship to walk across the parking lot to get to the store. Oh, sure, it sucks when it’s cold out (and that’s when I ask Sylvain to please come to school with me so we can get that prime parking space) and when it’s raining and when I’m tired and when I’m carrying three extra bags. But really, it’s doable.

      And THAT is where I get mad.

      I am not wandering around my city (or anywhere else) yelling at people who park in those spaces without a placard. But if I had a super power that would let me see who was parking there without a legit need? I would. I’d use my “Mom Voice” and everything.

      • alyson says:

        Okay, it sounds like we’re actually mostly on the same wavelength, I just misread and thought you were talking about calling people out who didn’t look disabled. (I call people out who are parked without a placard, but only say anything to people with a placard if they’re also parked illegally and are parking me in – some people don’t actually pay attention to handicapped parking laws and think the placard allows them to park anywhere.)

        I’m in the US and in my state there’s a form for a doctor to fill out. They did have to provide justification, but it’s not intensive. (I think mine had my diagnosis at the time and then check boxes saying I couldn’t walk more than 200m without stopping and that it was a permanent condition.) If I’d gotten one in NYC when I lived there, it would have been a lot more intensive as they require an actual medical from one of their doctors. I didn’t bother because: 1) I was working 45+ hours a week and crashing as soon as I got home and I couldn’t easily take time off work to go to such an appointment; 2) I had no car; 3) I was afraid that because I have a weird condition that most doctors haven’t even heard of that even as a wheelchair user I wouldn’t pass.

        To be honest, I wouldn’t care about how many people have placards except for the fact that most places don’t have enough spots to fit the demand. I tend to agree with Sylvain that there are probably people with placards/plates who don’t need them, but I also won’t make that judgment looking at them unless they’re parking without a placard because I’m *not* their doctor and I know what it’s like to look normal even when the handicapped parking is the only reason you can go out once in a week. One of the things that happens a lot of places is that anyone over a certain age is eligible (I know it’s true in parts of the UK, and I think it’s true some states in the US) whether they fit the mobility criteria or not and that’s one thing I can easily say that I think needs to be reevaluated.

        Okay, I’ll stop rambling now. Your blog is one of my first thing in the morning reads and I think tiredness makes me ramble ;-)

  4. Sylvain says:

    I COMPLETELY disagree with you that getting a parking permit should only require a doctors note! The permits are already FAR too easy to get. Doctors can be too easily swayed and some of them would just give in and hand out notes for hangnails rather than listen to some lazy patient whine all day.
    No way. This is one area where the government needs to tighten up the rules and exert MORE control.
    As for the rest of my thoughts on this, I blogged about it. http://abitibisouth.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/parking-superhero/

    • violet says:

      I have no idea how hard/easy it is to get the permit – but I was working on the principle of doctors being “good” and “ethical” and reasonable. Which, given that they’re human beings, isn’t a given. You’re right.

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