Thursday, September 25, 2014

handicapping perception

The Silverado pulls up into the handicapped parking spot to my right. The truck is big enough to eat my Rabbit in one gulp. The very truckness of my neighboring vehicle arouses an undercurrent of resentment. Its intimidating presence summons an echo of the grammar-school bullying I sometimes endured. (No, it doesn't. That's overstated, too overt. I only say that upon reflection afterward.) Instinctively I look for, and find, the handicapped parking tag hanging from the rearview mirror. Legit. (Isn't that grand of me, to approve?) The driver and the passenger in the back seat look whole and fit and able. They don't look handicapped to me. You're right. Maybe the driver or her passenger who loom above me are legless or eyeless or paralyzed or subject to seizures or handicapped mentally (does that qualify one for the parking privilege?) or dually addicted to drugs, alcohol, gluten, and trans fats. Maybe the vehicle transports someone in a wheelchair who is at home or at a rehab facility. Maybe. And what is it that really nettles me, anyway? The fat, gas-guzzling vehicle? The perception of entitlement? The appearance of injustice? Why should I care? Why should one who says he espouses the simple life, who asserts all manner of progressive values, bother to notice this harmless status, alleged or posed or sanctioned or otherwise? Questions worth pondering. Answers pending.

A few hours later, up at the University, I saw a Mini Cooper (or is it Cooper Mini? I always forget) drive by. I spotted a handicapped parking tag. A young driver, perhaps a student, zipping down the street, seemingly "whole and fit and able." Ah, what about her? What about that sporty car and its occupant?

And what about me?

Same self-imposed questions worth pondering. Answers still pending.

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