I’ve found there are two reactions from strangers when I park in a handicapped parking spot. It’s either condemnation or obliviousness.
I covered condemnation in yesterday’s post. I experienced obliviousness today.
Do you ever watch how people search for parking spaces? It doesn’t matter if someone plans to walk a mile around and around the inside of a mall; it’s so very important to them that they don’t walk an extra 50 feet to a farther parking spot. It’s a priority to park as close to the building’s door as possible. It doesn’t matter to them how much time, effort, and gas they waste. They need the “best” possible parking spot. They see it as an accomplishment.
Now, if you happen to be in one of those close-to-the-building parking spaces, drivers will be very happy to wait while you load your packages into the trunk, buckle your kids into their car seats, check your email on the phone, and generally take several extra minutes to pull out of that spot. Because it means they get the spot when you leave. So they wait while traffic backs up behind them.
All of that is different if you park in a handicapped parking space. They can’t park in your spot, so they don’t bother looking in your direction. They just drive right past. I’ve found that waiting patiently doesn’t help with this situation. I’ve tried to back out slowly, but that’s tough too, because the determined drivers will just swing around my car and continue down the aisle. They can’t use my parking space so they have no incentive to let me out. I’ve found that it takes much longer to get out of a handicapped parking space than a non-handicapped one that’s just as close or even one that’s farther away. And it’s infuriating.
I know this problem isn’t about their view of me needing the parking space. It’s about people being selfish, impatient, and rude. Still, it’s just one more added difficulty in an already difficult situation. And I’m fed up with it.