Christmas. The season of goodwill and all that. Yeah, right.
Put some (parents of ) people with a disability in a room together, and it won’t be too long until they start telling each other parking stories. Well, have a I got one for you!
I pulled into a multi-storey car park of a very busy shopping centre in a nearby suburb in the days before Christmas (I know, I know, what was I thinking?). It’s one of those fancy ones, where they have green and red lights above the parking spots to make it easier to find a spot. The level I wanted to be on was close to the walkway over the road to the shops, and filling up rapidly. There were three disabled spots free to choose from (they have blue and red lights, incidentally). I chose the furthest away since I was not intending to let Boo Boo drive herself in this Christmas shopping mayhem and opted for the manual wheelchair. I proceeded to unpack all my kit: empty shopping bag, nappy bag, wheelchair (which comes out folded and with the seat needing to be re-assembled). Then I picked up my beautiful little girl and carried her to her chair.
As I closed the door, a salt-and pepper coloured blonde woman with a big lime green pram walked past. She looked at me and muttered under her breath – but loud enough so she was sure that I would hear.
She said “Pffff, pop the kid in a wheelchair and get guaranteed parking space.”
I was so gobsmacked I did not manage to respond at all, which was probably a good thing. I mean, really, I’ve hear some dumb comments, some nasty comments but surely this one takes the cake.
Did Blondie think I was faking it? Bought a three and a half thousand bloody dollars wheelchair (not counting the seating system!) to get easy parking? Or does she really think access to disabled car parking spaces makes up for my child’s extra difficulties in life? The extra costs and heartache, the knowledge that every little thing for my daughter is – and always will be – more difficult? Or even impossible? That my three year old girl looks longingly at other kids running and skipping and dancing knowing she can’t do it?
For an effing parking space?
I spend the rest of the day thinking about what I should have said to Blondie. In the end I am glad I said nothing. I was so shocked I would have made a rude remark. But really, this woman with the lime green pram is a very sad person to be thinking like that.
So at the end of the day, I think the best retort would probably have been to go up to her and give her a hug. I’m not sure Blondie would have understood. I hope life gets happier for her.
Any other good comebacks? Suggestions anyone?