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Handicap Parking

September 11, 2015

As many of you know, I’m disabled, and as such I get the ‘perks’ of heing disabled. You know, the real VIP treatment: handicap parking, the looks of sympathy whenever I tell someone I’m disabled like my best dog died, and muscular/motor skills that are so wonky that my fingers quite literally pull back whenever I try to open my hand. The best! Okay. So maybe I’m not as disabled as some. I never went into that ‘handicapable’ movement and such because it’s never been a part of my identity in a way for me to get really defensive about it. Except when someone called me a retard of asked if I was slow—that shit made me want to punch them. 

Anyway, there are certain things you have to deal with when you have an actual disability that someone without a disability never has to deal with. Like for instance, when I first got my driver’s license I was denied because apparently some nitwit lady at the MVA thought that maaaybe I was a libability on the road; it was the single most humiliating moment of my life, so thanks Maryland MVA! I just bawled my eyes out that day. This lead me to a situation where I had to jump through their hoops: get seen by a neurologist and confirm that, no, my disability does not inhibit me from driving properly. Then they gave me a brake test where upon they I had to press on a brake peddle and they tested my reaction time. 

Aaaand they never found a fucking thing wrong with me, as I knew they wouldn’t. How could I have been so sure? Because I know myself. I know what I can do and what I can’t do. But I still had to confirm with their stupid nurse every three years that, no, my condition would never change—it will neither get better nor get worse. This whole thing did teach me a lesson, though, and that is if a an agent of the government beyond social security asks me if I have a disability I’m always going to say no, I just broke my leg as a child and gained a bit of a limp. Why, you ask? Because I have to jump through goddamn hoops when I’m honest! 

It’s bad enough that every time I disclose my status that a little sympathy bell goes off in a stranger’s head  and they give me a look and that even disclosing it makes everyone question my abilities, but I’ll be damned if I have to jump through hoops to satisfy some prick whose life choices left them in such a state that they get off on their tiny bit of power. Honestly, if I were in a wheelchair or obviously might have an issue, test away. Really, you’re free to question my abilities and my intelligence all day long. However, unless you asked, you really couldn’t tell that I had a disability. 

This brings me to what happened yesterday at my therapist’s office. You see, there are 8 handicap spots at this place and they’re always full of old people, people that are using someone else’s placard and aren’t disabled, and people like me who are disabled. So I find an opening and park in a van accessible spot—NOT van only. So this old guy asks me if I am disabled because I guess he saw my OUTATIME license plate from California and didn’t get the reference. But I do have a handicap plate. And passing that question he responds with, ‘You know only vans can park there, right? You’re liable to get a $259 dollar fine.’ 

I should’ve said, ‘Mind your own fucking business,’ but I actually just went the Sledge Hammer route of, ‘Trust me, I know what I’m doing.’ I’ve parked there hundreds of times without a ticket. And as I said: van accessible, not van only. I also know it may annoy those of you that need those spots, but handicap parking is scarce and a lot of people abuse it. So! Sorry for taking your spot. If it were up to me, I too would leave that spot alone. I find do-gooders annoying. I know it comes from a good place, but yeah…you people are annoying. 

Not necessarily because you’re trying to guard handicap spots like Cereberus guards the gates of hell, but because you don’t know everyone’s story. So when you self-appoint yourself as the guardian of the handicap spots you go off of looks. Does this person look disabled? Is there something visibly wrong with them? Most of the time, like with me, you would never know. You don’t know if this person has arthiritic knees or a back problem. You just don’t know. So, you Mr. or Mrs. Do-Gooder, will take it upon yourself to go by aesthetics. Are they in a wheelchair? Do they have a funny gait? Are they drooling on themselves? And if they don’t meet your personal metrics for what qualifies as handicap or disabled, you will yell at them, say they’re not really disabled, or report them to the cops. 

Yeah, fuck do-gooders. I appreciate the help, but you’re going on false assumptions about what a disabled person looks like and harassing them as a result. Now, if you know someone is obviously healthy and abusing our laxed medical system, then fine. Harass them. But nine out of ten times you’re going to be wrong and I would much rather a healthy person get a handicap parking spot than you mistakenly harassing someone that’s disabled out of some sense of moral outrage.

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