Monday, 10 February 2014

Handicapped Parking Spots

It's Monday, the end of the weekend, except that I don't work anymore, at least not on a regular basis, so there are no weekends for me. On the other hand, many of my social engagement revolve around the weekend because virtually all of my friends are still gainfully employed. So it should come as no surprise that I was out and about this weekend, off to tea with friends on Saturday then dinner at home with friends on Saturday night, followed by a lazy afternoon in the pub with friends on Sunday and dinner at The Keg on Sunday night. I love to be busy, and social.

It was, however, a tough parking weekend. Almost every place I went, I had troubles with handicapped parking. Some were simple, some were complex, and some were just plain stupid. The first was on Saturday. I went for tea to a Tea Shoppe in a local mall, one with complete outdoor parking. There are a few designated spots, located near ramps to allow access to the sidewalks. They are not well located, nor are there all that many. The parking is not all that well laid out in terms of wheelchair access, but it is sort of workable; this is a common situation with wheelchair parking.

I managed to find a wheelchair parking spot, near a ramp, without a ton of snow covering the pathway or roadway. However there was another car parked beside it, halfway into the handicapped spot. I know it was halfway because I pay attention to the handicapped parking stall marking lines. This person, apparently, did not. I imagine his or her excuse would be that the snow was covering the parking lines. I am sure the other person knew what he or she was doing; the mirror on the car was folded in to allow for a narrow gap between the two vehicles.Actually it's just an excuse for lazy, self-centeredness. It meant I had to take several careful passes to get into the parking spot with enough room to get my wheelchair out. I did it, just another thing added to the difficulties in an already difficult life.

The next two incidents both happened at the same place, in the designated street-side handicapped parking spot on Kensington Avenue here in Calgary. The handicapped parking spot is clearly marked, designated with the required blue sign. My friend who I was meeting there had texted me that there was a spot, and it was empty. When I arrived I found two separate vehicles parked in the handicapped location, neither with a handicapped tag.

I drove around the block several times looking for a spot, hoping to find something that would give me room to get out of the truck. Fortunately just as I was about to give up and go home, someone pulled out from a standard streetside parking spot and I was able to get into it. Since my door opens into traffic in this scenario, it was not without risk. I managed.

As my friends were helping me into the pub, a location with two steps, high tables and no wheelchair washroom I might add, one of the drivers returned to her car. I yelled across the street, telling her she was parking in a handicapped spot. She yelled back saying the city should mark them better. I yelled back pointing out the big blue sign right in front of her. Then her two friends got in the act, yelling out that I was an asshole. So I responded by yelling that only an asshole parks in a handicapped spot without a tag.

I don't think the yelling did much good, but I felt better. More importantly I hope the confrontation springs to the front of her mind when she goes to park in a handicapped spot next time. If not, perhaps the ticket will help her remember; I'm going to call the city parking enforcement authority today and report her.

Still, all of this is frustrating, aggravating, upsetting; feelings and energy I don't need to waste on selfish, stupid, ignorant people who think that handicapped parking is simply a luxury for a few people. Try giving up your legs, try losing your mobility, try getting around with a disability that stops you in your tracks; then you will see why those spots are there.


  1. My wife and I are living with our uncle who has had ALS since March 2012. Thanks for your posts.

    1. Hi Edwin.

      It's a tough disease. I want to encourage you and thank you on your uncle's behalf for your care and for helping him. It is a good thing you are doing.

  2. My dad Is 57 he was diagnosed a year ago. He is starting to loose function of one hand. Its very hard to watch, we have worked together on a regular basis for the past 10 years... he is normally such a positive inspiration. This disease is aweful. I often wonder what he is feeling or going thru, because he doesn't show it. Thank You for the post. It helps me better understand what he is going thru.