☼ WHEELCHAIR RAMP PLEASE DO NOT BLOCK
☼ - stands for the handicap symbol, you know, the one showing a wheelchair.
This subject may, or not pertain to any person afflicted with HIV/ AIDS or even PML, but it is something I have to deal with for now. I never used to concern myself with issues about the disabled, but then, PML. I have been driving for one year and seven months. I am so excited to be driving again. It remains a thrill for me, but has become routine for me now at times and presents me with a unique view of life, so I notice things now like parking, curbs, doors, bathrooms, etc. Just be happy if you can walk and do not have to deal with all of these disability rules and hurdles.
I got tired of people parking on the blue diagonal lines between some handicap parking spaces. It is designed that way to allow for extra room. The gap would normally allow me enough area to deploy the ramp from the right side and be able to get in the mini-van and drive. Unfortunately, some people with a handicap placard or plate feel they have a divine right to park on the blue lines to my right if they can maneuver in ignoring the “Van Accessible” signs. I cannot tell you how many times that I berated the unthinking culprits! And, their excuse is, “I was only quickly running in for a few things.” So, I guess that makes their rudeness okay.
When people do this, they prevent me any room to get into my van and it is extremely aggravating when I have perishable, frozen groceries! Finally, I was blocked in which was to be the last time and after arguing the stupidity of the act, was told about a company that might make me a sign for the door with the ramp.
I was not thrilled at the prospect of ruining pristine exterior of the mini-van but I was exasperated with the inconsiderate perpetrators always blocking the wheelchair ramp, so I went to the named manufacturer. The owners were aware of my concern and opted for clean block lettering along with the handicap symbol all in red sized to my approval on the right side access door.
I was hoping that this might help!
Before I go on, let me tell you that I usually try to park away from the marked handicap spots. I do this mainly for the reasons of rogue shopping carts and careless door openers.
I like to find two spaces that are a safe distance from the hubbub of the main entrance that border a curb or a shopping cart corral to the right which allows me the room to activate the ramp without worry.
Another motive is that I have a motorized wheelchair and do not feel that I need to park right by the doors. I feel sorry for the elderly and those who really have a difficult time walking. It makes me smirk when I see a seemingly very agile and sprightly person of any age in a beefy pickup or SUV using the spaces for handicap while an arthritic person of eighty or so with a cane has to park at farther distance in an unmarked spot.
That sight brings me to the issue of courtesy. I only see constant concern for the disabled in the elderly – like sixty-five and above. The middle-aged: it is still done with a smile by some and others with a wry sneer as if it is a forced imposition of politeness. Children, teenagers and twenty-something’s ignore any niceties or civility for the most part. A lot just see you as an inconsequential part of life that does not matter to them, but then there are those “youngsters” that surprise me to no end and when that happens, I make sure to thank and praise them.
All I think of is karma!
Many people are quick to offer opening doors or getting an item off a high shelf and usually they are over thirty. I tease people when they open both doors of a double-door entrance by asking them jokingly, “Do I look that fat?” I rarely have anyone reach for an item on an upper shelf. I thank them anyway and usually amaze them by standing up from my wheelchair to grab it myself. Cashiers are always quick to ask if I need help taking my few bags to the van or if the bags themselves are too heavy. I normally keep my shopping trips light needing only a few, easily handled bags. On the rare occasion that I go crazy and do need assistance, I am not afraid to ask.
Well, back to my sign on my mini-van’s door for the ramp. I was shopping for a few things one day recently and seeing it was not busy, I parked in a handicap space that had the blue diagonal lines between each spot. Mind you, it was not busy and this particular store had a large number of handicap parking places, so many were empty. I thought this would be an easy in and out shopping jaunt since I only needed to get two items. Fifteen minutes later, I was finished and on my way back to the van.
I could see this dark green car parked next to me on the right as I neared. It was confusing to me since so much handicap parking was available. I approached and noticed that this car had been parked haphazardly and was not squarely between the parallel lines, but about a third closer to my van taking up space on the diagonal blue lines. I could bring the ramp down, but it only allowed me about eighteen inches to navigate the turn to get on the ramp. I was disgusted! Obviously, they missed the three-inch high red lettering asking them please not to block the door! It cannot be missed since it faces the driver’s side when someone parks to my right.
I ended up having to back onto the ramp at an angle which the motorized wheelchair handled thankfully. But, I got hung-up as I turned to get on the ramp and needed an extra push to make it the rest of the way. I had no choice at this point, so I braced my leg on the door of the car to shove myself backward up the ramp. It worked!
The car was dark green, unwashed and therefore, covered by salt and grime. (It has been a snowy February here in Pennsylvania!) On the door, was a clean spot where I had placed my foot and a small concave impression from when I pushed myself back. Remorse? I had none because they should have parked better and could NOT have missed the red warning.
Why are some people so conceited that they fail to see how they affect the world?