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Handicapped Parking Signs and Awareness

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Carrigon, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    I just had someone be mean to me when I came home today. I don't know exactly when this started, but they've been changing the handicapped signs to be time and car specific. Like some are for vans only, some are for fifteen minutes only and so on. Well, I usually park in the same handicapped spot, and since I don't go out for like three weeks at a time, I haven't had a clue of anything being different. And didn't even think to look. Usually when I come home, I'm so sick from the shopping that all I'm looking for is the handicapped spot, I'm not really paying attention to if the sign says anything more. Obviously, I should be.

    So, I came home today, and this old woman I've never met before, she's not even on the tenant council as far as I know. She just lives in the building. She stops me when I'm locking the car. And she wasn't nice to me at all. She said, that sign says it's VAN only parking. And you're car isn't a van, is it. And I was totally shocked. I looked at the sign and she was right. It's handicapped, but for vans only. I have no clue when they tacked on that van park, but you can tell it's an add on. And no one told me. My car's been sitting there for weeks. I'm lucky I didn't get a ticket or a tow, even though I have the handicapped plaque up. She said people have been complaining that I parked there. Well, that's news to me. No one has said a word. And if it was a real problem, the office here would have told me. They have strict rules on stuff, including on other tenants confronting other tenants like this woman was doing to me. She wasn't supposed to bug me, she was supposed to tell the office.

    Anyway, I honestly hadn't noticed the van thing before, and the woman said that's no excuse it's right there. And rather than try to explain to her that my disability is very different and I'm rarely a part of her world anymore, I said I'd move it as soon as I brought the shopping cart back down. So she said to me, I don't give a damn what you do. And I was like, then why bother to tell me in the first place? UGH. But I was nice about it and I thanked her for letting me know. And I did move it.

    What bugs me is, I really was that unaware. I didn't even think to read the whole sign because not only had I been parking there for months, but I honestly am so rarely a part of the real world anymore, I'm just not even aware of small details in my surroundings when I'm out. When I go out, I'm focused on just getting what I need to do done. And I'm usually too sick to ever look beyond that. When I come home, I can barely put my groceries away.

    I'm just tired of trying to defend myself and my disability, though. I didn't feel like getting into an argument or trying to explain to her that I have a very different kind of disability that includes cognitive problems and adult autism symptoms as well as brain fog. I'm really not that alert sometimes.

    Also, it's such a weird feeling to see things change in a world I am no longer a part of. When I was younger, they never had special designations for these signs. It was usually just a handicapped spot and that was. Now, you have to really pay attention to each one.

    Yeah, it was an honest mistake, but she didn't have to be mean to me about it. I am so sick of dealing with mean, nosey people.
    taniaaust1 and Googsta like this.
  2. Googsta

    Googsta Doing Well

    I have so many pet peeves on this topic, I have to restrain myself to stick to the topic at hand, lol.

    It took me a bit to figure out why they are installing 'vans only' spots :rolleyes: but the penny finally dropped, lol. I presume it is for vans or taxi cabs picking up people in wheelchairs, they need extra room. I could be wrong.
    In Australia we usually only have specified parking for small cars in multi-level parking complexes.

    My husband is only 33 but uses a walking cane due to congenital spinal disease & the effects of several surgeries. It's actually his disabled permit not mine (I don't really need one because he takes me everywhere anyway, I can't drive ATM). Because he is young & maybe because we have a sporty car, whatever reason people abuse him or give him filthy looks before he even gets out of the car.

    They assume he is using someones elses permit?? It really upsets him & ruins his day, it's not very often he gets to go to shops etc. It took him a long time to accept that he needed a walking aid & he has faced alot of the same treatments we get.
    People wonder why we as patients lock ourselves away from the world!

    Do your best to not let her rattle you, she's just assumed you did it on purpose & probably wouldn't beleive you if you explained anyway. People are so quick to accuse these days, I mean how hard would it have been to say "Excuse me, do you realise this sign has been changed?"
    What really matters is you know the truth ;)

    People have no idea of the rules for using a disabled permit either.
    Not sure what they are in other countries, but here they can be used by a non-disabled person to pick-up or drop-off a disabled person. In that case, many carer's etc are getting abused unnecessarily too.

  3. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

    The van-only signs started because completely wheelchair-bound people need extra room with ramps and whatnot, so spaces that had more room to maneuver were reserved for van-dependent wheelchair-bound individuals. I'm not convinced it was the best solution, but someone was trying to help the more equipment-dependent people, so I'll cut them some slack.

    While I know that people get angry with abuse of handicapped parking, too many people seem to be picking on people with invisible disabilities. There's no need for people to be so abusive, especially when they don't have all the info -- and who does.

    I'm sorry you had to put up with such an obnoxious person, Carrigon. A simple apology and explanation that you made a mistake and will correct it as soon as possible should have been sufficient. In cases like yours, I'm inclined to say something like, "Are you always this rude to disabled people, or did you save it just for me?" It usually doesn't help the situation, but at that point it's usually unsaveable anyway. ;) Bullies need standing up to.
  4. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

    I would have done what you did, and been bothered by her.

    I would try not to feel bad about parking there when you didn't know.
    *GG* likes this.
  5. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    who would think to read a sign again which has always been there. Dont feel bad at all about it. No one would think to reread a sign.

    They had this thing on the TV show "Bondi beach" the other day where the lifeguards put on their rip warning signs, that anyone who read it could go to the lifeguard and collect $20. Incredibly three days went by before the money got collected and they even had to then kind of point it out to people to be claimed.

    Thanks for the explaination. Makes me feel better to hear that its not just cause they are picking on invisible disabilities.
  6. hurtingallthetimet

    hurtingallthetimet Senior Member

    thats sad that the woman treated you that you said she could have been is very very hard when you dont get out much, and when you do {i know in my case} i try to get alot of shopping crammed into one trip which isnt a good idea but i panic at the anxiety of being out and not wanting to get out again anytime soon...and it can be overwhelming...all the crowds..trhe traffic..sounds...sunlight..noise..i get so overwhelmed...and i think it would be extremely easy to not notice a line added to a handicap sign.....i also understand you getting tired of defending your illness..

    ive seen alot posted and ive posted before about these illness being invisible and people being treated badly or them knowing people being treated badly because they are people treat us sometimes like we are crazy and not ill just because we dont look it...i dont understand it...its very sure you didnt feel like shopping, if your like me you breathed a huge relief when it was over and felt happy you did it..and then to be verbally confronted out of no where probably caught you off guard....if the person were that concerned she could have pointed it out nicely...we have enough to deal with day to day with being so ill withouth the added stress of being stalked and harrassed and made to feel like everyone is a medical specialsit and we have to prove to them that we are ill....just makes me angry...happens way too often..though i know it involved you not having a van and them changing the sign, like you said it gets tiring having to defend your disablity...its like we are put under a microscope and punished for having illness that isnt well known or visible...

    i dont think people care much anymore in general about the effect they can have on people by just one look or word...i know im too sensitive but i try to be kind and quiet to one knows what another person is going through and even if someone looks fine it doesnt mean they are...and no one deserves to be hurt for no someone said though you handled it very well....just sad that you were treated like that...people need to learn to be more kind
  7. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    I'm starting to realize I don't just have audio processing disorder (where people sometimes sound like they are speaking in a foreign language, slow sound processing), I have visual processing disorder as well. I only see some of what's in front of me. Like I see it, but my brain is not processing all of the information, or it's not taking it in fast enough. So like in the case of the sign, I saw it was a handicapped sign, but I only saw that, I didn't see the rest of it. It's happened to me before with things. I got yelled at once in the Welfare parking lot for parking in a reserved spot because I didn't see it was reserved.

    I've even created my own coding bugs because of this. There have been a few times where I missed something in the code because I didn't see the whole thing. It's the same thing. It's also why I can't read a book anymore. Partly anyway. The book stuff is also attention span and information retention. I do fine with small articles, but an actual book, I have problems. It's so sad because I used to read tons of books when I was younger, before I got sick. Now, I can't. I don't retain the paragraphs and I have to read the same paragraph over a few times. It's awful.

    I think I'm alot more damaged than I seem, and worse than even I usually think I am.

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