The Power of Positive Parking

19 08 2009

Since I seem to be posting anachronauts updates every other day*, I should be using my blog for, y’know, bloggy type stuffs on the off days.

(* No, that’s not a promise of regular updates.)

Today I drove my own ass into work. For the last few weeks, I’ve had rides or ride-alongs, to make sure the route was working for me. Traffic safety is more than a grainy 50’s era educational film for me; with a fused neck and various automobile adaptations, making sure the roads I drive on are relatively safe and boring is paramount. I’d rather be taking a slightly longer route on dull country backroads than going on some 55+ MPH eight lane highway in one of the worst traffic zones of the country (Washington).

My commute averages out to an hour and ten minutes, sometimes more, sometimes less, but not by much. My knee-and-hip arthritis hates me for it, of course, but the real trouble are the various merges along the way. I did fine on the trip down here — it’s the ride back that’s the problem, with one turn involving merging into an unending stream of metro parking lot exit traffic and one merging into a major highway lane. I’ll be a-crossin’ my fingers.

One bright spot is my parking spot at work. I’d asked for a reserved spot in the surface lot next to the building; otherwise I’d have to crawl through a five story garage looking for something near the elevators every morning, navigating my minivan in nicely enclosed spaces. Whee. So, since I only go in on Mondays (owing to the fact that I will not always be in the glorious shape of physical perfection lawl that I am at age 34) I suggested the sign on the spot, normally reading “Reserved for designated employee” add “on Mondays.” I figured it was good karma not to suck up the spot all week when some other disabled person could use it.

Wouldn’t you know it, first week I drive in, I had to shuffle my day to Wednesday. So all the way down there I’m hoping nobody parked in my spot, or that one of the eight or so spots (most of them already designated) is still open…

I pull up, and they apparently forgot my request for a Monday stipulation. It just said reserved, and was wide open. Probably selfish of me to leave it that way instead of declaring it one-day only… but I didn’t care, I was tired and sore and wanted to get in the damn building, so I parked and bailed. I’ll decline to point it out, methinks.

I’m always worried someone’s gonna read my tale of woe and do an eyeroll, saying “Oh, you think YOU have it bad, I drive X hours uphill in snow ten days a week and have a 0.045% chance of finding a spot” and so on. I’ve always found it hard as Ye Disabled Americanne to figure out the line between reasonable requests for convenience and selfish requests for convenience. Where am I making things easier for myself because I need them to be, and when am I just playing my trump card? I don’t know. But I am thankful I don’t have to go through this hell-slog commute very often, justifiable or not.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

20 responses

19 08 2009
tozetre

/eyeroll
Oh you think YOU have it bad,
I drive 15 minutes from one side of the city to the other, in a comfy Civic that gets great gas mileage, in a place where rush hour lasts 10 minutes (which improves the movie- rimshot) and the worst traffic habits are tailgating.
er…
so…
/nelsonlaugh?
Seriously though, it sucks that your disability makes driving a pain in the neck (rimshot), and if I could solve the problem for you I would. The only thing I envy you for is the whole “only have to go in one day a week,” which, you know, I don’t think really balances the “decades of suck” disadvantage. :T The guy running your GURPS campaign was a douche about point totals, evidently- or your player’s a min-maxer. Do you have superpowers? /rpglamer
If you ever come to Alberta, let me know, and I will try to balance the universe’s debt to you with awesome. In the form of… er… rides in comfy Civics? Or maybe gun shooting. Horse riding? Hot tubbing?

19 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

In the form of… er… rides in comfy Civics? Or maybe gun shooting. Horse riding? Hot tubbing?
I can’t sit upright in a regular car seat, I lack the manual dexterity to hold and properly use a gun, I sure as hell can’t ride a horse, and sitting down in a tub isn’t something I’m capable of.
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER ME

19 08 2009
jengagne

tozetre, I’m pretty sure he’s a min-maxer. He has the Dwarfism, Inconvenient Size, Reduced Manual Dexterity, and Workaholic disadvantages, trading off with advantages of Magery Limited (Literary), Ally Group, Disease-Resistant, and Cool.
As for Twoof’s OP… Better off to leave the parking spot all-week. You never know when you’ll have an off-day meeting. And they COULD use it for other disabled people who are on a different schedule than you, while retaining the all-week signage.
Getting them to limit it to Mondays only just means they can’t Designate anyone on the other days. So it’s better to leave it as-is.
The benefit to you and other disabled people farrrr outweighs the “oh yay” factor when one random NON-disabled person gets to park closer. So, nothing selfish about that.
As for whether you have a right to complain, I still think LJ needs an “At Least I’m Not Starving In Africa, But” community for people to complain with the disclaimer out of the way.

19 08 2009
tozetre

;_;
Er… we’ve got a local scrapyard, and most of an automotive shop in a quonset? We could weld together a drive train, a 500HP diesel motor, and hydraulic-powered crushing jaws, solve that traffic problem with violence.

19 08 2009
tozetre

I’m pretty sure Inconvenient Size is rolled into Dwarfism, but I guess the advantages listed would point-balance it pretty decently.

19 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Actually, the way the spots work is that there isn’t a “pool” of designated employees assigned to a pool of spots. One emp, one spot. Period. So the other four days my spot is staying open. That’s why I didn’t like the sound of it, because it was a waste of valuable resources. But given shuffling up my days seems like something that’ll happen a lot as time goes on, I guess it’s unavoidable.

19 08 2009
raigne

I’d also leave it open. The people who would be parking in that spot don’t need to park there, or they’d have their own designated spot. Tough luck if they dislike the fact that the spot’s open X days out of the week.
I think it’s enough that you’re conscious of whether you are using your disability as a “trump card”, whether you are or not. I haven’t seen any case you’ve posted about where it’s seemed like you are. Some people will use it as an excuse no matter what.
It always reminds me of a girl we had in the choir in high school. She was hard of hearing and used as an excuse not to sing on key. Which may seem like a no brainer to other people, since, how can she sing on key if she can’t hear herself, right? Wrong. She could hit the note when she was practicing and didn’t have anyone else around her singing, and once she hit it, she could repeat it during that day’s rehearsal. When you sing, you learn how the notes feel in your throat. It’s how you’re able to hit the note the first time without sliding up or down to it, and how you’re able to sing on key when there’s a hundred other people packed in around you singing the same song with different notes. She wasn’t able to hit the notes, because she wasn’t paying attention to what her body was doing when she got it right, and when it was pointed out to her, she’d use the excuse that she couldn’t hear it as a reason not to try. I could understand her frustration, sort of, but I also know that your ears are not the most important part of learning how to sing.

19 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Using disability as an excuse to be lazy — or being lazy and claiming a nebulous disability as an excuse — does not sit well with me. Like people who rent scooters and wheelchairs at amusement parks despite being quite mobile and capable.
Good case example: The time I tried to go to a Bob Dylan concert recently in an open air park, which had all the disabled seating under cover, and normal seating in the open. All the disabled seats were occupied, including by people who really had no business being there. As a result I had to park my scooter behind a row of normal seats, probably in defiance of fire codes, then get rained on when the weather turned foul. Eventually we gave up and went home.

19 08 2009
raigne

I don’t know how well those two examples describe someone using a nebulous disability as an excuse. That just sounds like people with no disability at all being douche bags. I know what you mean. I have to get irritated every time someone tosses ADD around as an excuse for why they behave a certain way, just because I’m someone who genuinely has it and has a hard time functioning because of it. Even then, I don’t use it as a crutch. I didn’t write it down when I registered for classes this fall. There is nothing the college can do for me that I can’t do for myself. Yeah, it’s difficult to concentrate on a test when there are noises in the room. So what? I can wear earplugs. I don’t need to have my own little room to take a test.

19 08 2009
jengagne

Ah, well, really it’s up to THEM how they use it. So if they don’t mind the spot sitting empty when you’re not there? So be it. It’s their space after all.

19 08 2009
jengagne

So she’s hard of hearing… and making excuses as a result… I wonder why the heck she was in choir!

19 08 2009
vulpisfoxfire

Yay–basically you’re an anti-EB! (I read a *lot* of and so there tends to be a lot of wank both ways on people using disablilites as an excuse, and companies being jerks to the disabled because they don’t have an ‘obvious’ impairment or something).

19 08 2009
raigne

Simply put, she wanted to sing. She could have learned if she were willing to try. She wanted to sing, but she wasn’t interested in learning to sing well.
She also had problems with volume. She usually sang too quiet. That was obviously a result of the hearing impairment, since volume is an area where your ears matter.

19 08 2009
jaeai

RANDOM THOUGHT TIEM:
1) Saw an Otakon pic with your Goatee and literally fell backwards into a chair. Kids were suitably impressed with your Evil Rating(tm.)
2)Calc had to do a mega-ton of browbeating for me to accept temp disability tags for the truck. Docs are thrilled, I’m still meh. Had to throw down with some MO (insert dissertation rant on rednecks who come to town.) wench who actually tried to bitch at my kids that I /wasn’t/ disabled b/c I could walk that day. I got my cane, my angry Loud on, and told her to go back to that rock she came from and ooooze back under it. …she asked if I had diabeetus. I asked if she had early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Docs want me to get a wheelchair…I told them only if it comes equipped for Maryland’s state sport. JOUSTING. MO is not bad as far as getting around…and I’m sure as hell not gonna wanna take it back to NY. Still pondering. Not really ready to have to put a lift on the truck. ><
Leave the space open…if you don’t, you’ll need it. Murphy looms.

19 08 2009
raigne

Murphy looms.
I say something to that effect on a regular basis, and all it’s done is convince people that I am paranoid and have a persecution complex, on top of being pessimistic and cynical.
Also, I almost decked someone for making a similar comment about my mother’s use of her handicapped tag in front of us, because his mother is in a wheel chair. There are days when my mother can’t even get out of bed, let alone make it outside, and she never complains about how much pain she’s in. She apologizes for the way she is because she feels guilty that she couldn’t be there for me when I was little. She deserves to have the damn tag.

20 08 2009
jaeai

It’s all good. Let people wonder. We just don’t get disappointed when we get run over by the oh shit o’ meter…repeatedly.
Yah, I despise that you can’t /see/ that I’m sick. I don’t display me scars…but they could make a nice tramp stamp.
I just hate the difference here:
Doctidiots: You’re sick. Permanently. Nothing we can do but /assist./ …poorly, jsyk.
Kids: We know you’re sick, we’re cool, it sucks, but we have it pretty well. What kid doesn’t like learning to cook at this age?
Relatives: Isn’t there something you/magical “they” can do?
Strangers: You’re sick?

20 08 2009
lirazel

Just make sure you don’t do too much of the opposite thing — insisting that You Must Do More because being handicapped means always having people doubt you.
I live with that one. Like, next to me in the bed. Getting Bravest to stay the hell home from work when even the Governor is asking people to stay out of the snowstorm is like pulling teeth from a heath hen (and they’re extinct). After 38 years he’s finally giving himself a break from time to time; don’t you wait that long.
Come to Boston for PAX and I’ll find a restaurant you can eat at.

20 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

This one’s less of a problem for me. While I do plenty, and I have plenty I should do, I know not to tackle things that can be done but hurt me on a long term basis.
A friend of mine was explicitly told not to climb steps. (When dwarfs climb steps it’s almost literally like mountain climbing; if you’re LUCKY you can use your actual hips and knees for it. Imagine any staircase you face only 3-4 times as large…) Said friend did it anyway, in the name of independence, and the end result of doing it for years was hips that were shot to hell way ahead of the age curve.
There are times when you just have to throttle it back and find an alternative, because just because something is POSSIBLE doesn’t mean it’s ADVISABLE.

20 08 2009
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I have the advantage of my disability being Utterly Obvious. A lot of folks don’t get the same luxury.
It’s always hard when I eye someone occupying a limited resource disability convenience that would’ve really helped me (like those concert seats) and I have to play guesswork as to whether they ‘deserve’ it or not. And that blame doesn’t fall on the Disabled But It’s Not Obvious crowd, it falls on the I’m Faking It Because I Am A Cock or the I’m Actually Pretty Much Fine But I Like Having A VIP Card crowd. Problem is, it’s impossible to tell them apart, and trying to can be an insulting act in itself.

20 08 2009
jengagne

Well, there is one possible tip-off at an amusement park. An actual disabled person usually has their own scooter or wheelchair, instead of picking one up when they get there.
But then again I still may be assuming much — I’m sure there’s people who usually use canes or crutches who want to swap to a scooter for the trek that is an amusement park. Or they didn’t want to cart their own with them to take up passenger space in their car.

Post a comment on this entry! All feedback welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: