Dec 12, 2006

Parking in the handicapped space

Bob Jacobson drives his father's car with disabled plates and gets a load of hairy eyeballs from his fellow drivers.

Thanks to two bad knees--one of which has since been replaced--my mother is in possession of one of those hangtags that allow you to park in the handicapped section of any parking lot. Control freak that I am, whenever I tool around with my mother, it is a rule that I must drive. So when she got the handicapped tag, she took to carrying it in her purse on our little excursions. I was a little uneasy about using the tag, but my mother insisted that she was entitled to use the tag no matter who was driving. Still, I seldom use the tag, preferring to drop my mother off at the entrance and then drive around and look for a spot.

Here's the thing: The powers that be at the Motor Vehicle Agency may have granted my mother allowance to park in the handicapped zone, but she doesn't carry a cane, doesn't limp and looks pretty normal when walking. In fact, on the rare occasions when I've made use of the tag, I've been known to tell my mother to limp when she gets out of the car. She never does.

But sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. On one such occasion, Mom and I went to the movies at a crowded multiplex adjacent to a crowded mall on date night in the suburbs. I dropped her off at the door, but I couldn't find a spot and the movie was set to begin in about five minutes. Spotting a handicapped space, I pulled in, hung the tag in the rearview mirror and dashed to the theater. I chose to ignore the two guys pointing at me and loudly wondering just what my disability was.

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