Friday, September 9, 2011

Parking Lot Stalker

Recently at Trader Joe's, a car ahead of me pulled into the last handicap spot. I idled behind and watched as a gray-haired man stepped out and strode into the store. No cane, no limp.

It’s not the first time I’ve done this – hovered to judge a person who has snaked a parking space from under my nose. I have turned into a parking lot stalker. I never used to be this way. I used to pull around those waiting for a close spot to be vacated when plenty of open spaces were on offer at the end of the lot. I judged them as lazy and delighted in my willingness to exercise.

Inside Trader Joe's, I looked for the gray-haired man in the blue jeans and lumberjack shirt, rehearsing what to say to him. "Hello, you took the last handicap spot." Surely I would not need to say anything more. One look at my cane and brace would say it all: I deserved that space more than you did.

I decided not to confront him just before I spotted him cruising toward the cashier with his few items. Who was I to judge his need? Perhaps he has some invisible disability that's troublesome when he's tired. I decided it was not worth the risk of being that most offensive of combinations: both righteous and wrong.

After all, I had found a suitable space in the next aisle only 20 yards along. And I was perfectly capable of walking that extra distance. In fact, I probably benefited from the exercise.


  1. I love your depiction of yourself as a stalker. I can just see it now. You have such a good attitude and apparently the ability to see the bright side of a situation.

    My late mother-in-law had a Handicap Parking pass and flaunted it. She was granted it because she was on anticoagulants and she had several slip and fall issues on our icy streets. What I think she needed was good winter boots. I don't think she needed the pass at least in the summer and I don't think she needed to be so darn smug about having it.

    On the other hand, I never did claim my handicap parking pass and that was really stupid of me. I really needed it but wasn't willing to admit that at the time. I kept thinking I would be all better in a couple more weeks.

  2. Oh to speculate the disability. I have often wondered too what is the able bodied person's disability...many times the people hogging the handicap spots look good to me, but maybe you are right. Maybe there is some underlying mysterious disability. I am so happy to not need that front spot, just a few months ago I would have "qualified". Thank more.

  3. My brother once witnessed a police officer ticketing a car with no handicap placard/plate in a handicap spot. As he was writing it, a woman ran - yes, ran! - toward him, stopped, removed the prosthesis that replaced her left calf and foot, and waved it at him. Obviously, she had gone out without her placard, but also had worked hard enough to be capable of running despite her disability. I admire her despite the fact that she forgot her placard. I want to run again.

  4. I have to admit that losing all the handicapped parking places to many seeingly healthy people is one resentment I can't let go of. Telling myself that being angry about it is raising my blood pressure doesn't change how I feel. My only consolation is that walking farther gives me more exercise. I resent it most at the grocery store where the parking places are too narrow to open my car door fully. When I have to leave the cart in front of or behind my car and walk each bag from the cart to my back seat I'm not happy.

  5. great title...great blog...i too have seen people 'steal' handicap spots and it irks me...I love the comment by Barb! I need to check myself too when I want to judge, things aren't always what they seem. And I love 'that most offensive of combinations: both righteous and wrong'...classic Marcelle!!!