Still Life of dancing in place is one of the most exciting people I’ve had the privilege of ‘meeting’ in cyberspace. She may be stiller than she used to be physically (I gather she led a very active life before her accident) but mentally… wow! She writes beautifully about her new life. Here she is – in slapping mode:
Last week I received a parcel surprise. A t-shirt sent from my friend Alice, catering to my slightly bent sense of humor. Its color was an ice cream swirl of pinks and cranberry, and in the center was the universal symbol of accessibility flanked by the message...
I'M ONLY IN IT FOR THE PARKING. Lovely!
However we all know that within every bite of sarcasm, there is sure to be a smidgen of truth -- and apparently Dateline felt the same.
The other evening I took much vengeful pleasure in watching a segment which exposed able-bodied drivers taking advantage in the use of handicapped parking spaces at a local Walmart. As each driver exited their vehicle and began WALKING to their locations, the field reporter approached and asked (ever so nicely), excuse me, but what type of disability do you have which allows you to park in that reserved space? I wooped. Responses ran the gamut: from jacket shielding of the face and running from camera view to adamant claims of entitlement (chronic leg pain, night blindness (it was midday), partial hearing, etc.). Some even went as far as to produce counterfeit or expired temporary placards (disabled parking identifications cards) -- Shameful.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses are required to provide at least one handicapped parking spot per every 25 spaces. This particular establishment had seven accessible spots, so I can safely assume that the lot's entirety was that of at least 168 other available options. One offender, with identity protected, summed it up by admitting to the pros (proximity and availability) outweighing the cons ($110 penalties and social tsk-tsks). And to me, for once, the words spoke louder than the actions.
I understood clearly this person's attitude of disregard to my or any other physically challenged person's human needs and rights. It is also the unspoken evidence each time a person causes me to wait outside of five empty bathroom stalls because they prefer the spaciousness and private mirror afforded in "mine". Or when I am not able to maneuver my chair up an accessible ramp because someone on foot is blocking my path, self-righteous and unapologetic, they silently tell me --"I don't really care". So, to all of those making less of my greater needs: those who use my parking space, my bathroom stall, my water fountains, my ATMs, my public phones...if you don't want to sit in the chair, then stay off the ramp!
SMACK AND A ROLL OVER YOUR TOES!