Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which is my favorite of the bizarre holidays. Like many things in my life, I tend to throw myself into the celebration. After telling Robby's teacher about the holiday, she decided to create a themed day for the kids. Scavenger hunts during reading, learning about oceans and land forms by sailing through the Seven Seas, and singing sea chanteys are just part of the adventures that are planned for today. Of course no piratical adventure would be complete until you devour a cupcake or two!
Yesterday after dropping Robby at school, I drove to the store to order pirate cupcakes. Because of the issues with phantom pain that I've been having, walking has not been without difficulty. I decided to utilize my handicapped plaque, positioning myself right in front of the main door. I parked the car, hung the tag and headed towards the bakery.
Before I even entered the store I was stopped by an irate, and somewhat arrogant, customer who began to berate me for abusing the parking pass. "You should be ashamed of yourself. Those spaces are reserved with people with disabilities, not for you." She turned away before I had a chance to respond, but I heard her mumble, "Some people are so f*cking lazy."
Although I typically avoid confrontation, my anger compelled me to respond. I walked in front of her, glared in her eyes and said, "I'm not lazy. I'm an amputee." I then pulled up the leg on my jeans to expose my prosthesis. I wanted to say more but I censured myself. After all, my reminding her that she is simply a judgmental b*tch would probably only make me look bad.
She quickly apologized, justifying her comments because she couldn't tell that I had an amputation. She even complimented my walking (although her opinion remains of no value to me). "I'm so tired of people abusing those spaces. It's good to know that you weren't one of those people."
I was going to question who made her the handicapped parking police, but I knew that engaging in a debate would be fruitless. Instead I just turned around and kept walking. I left the store after ordering the cutest pirate cake ever, yet felt deflated by my encounter in the parking lot.
I've come to the conclusion that we live in a highly judgmental society. People make assumptions about others, like this lady in the parking lot, and feel entitled to interfere. I understand the frustrations of handicapped parking abuse. As somebody who utilizes that courtesy, I have experienced the aggravation of having the spots filled. It is important to remember that many disabilities are invisible. Just because you can't put your finger on what's wrong when you play the "guess the disability game" doesn't mean that the individual is not legitimately using the spaces. This world would be a lot better if there was more accepting and less judging!
I'm looking forward to spending the afternoon in Robby's class, getting to know the students and having a scallywagging good time. As far as I'm concerned, the lady from the store can walk the plank!