I get it.
I understand why you did what you did. The main parking lot is a pretty long walk from the building, and the circular drive out front is always a clusterfark during pickup and dropoff for swim team. Your kids are old enough to be left at practice by themselves (I’m guessing 7-8?) but not quite responsible enough to be left to their own devices and “get a move on” when practice is over.
Best to just park and run in real quick, right?
You weren’t in there a long time, because I saw you come back out. Of course, you didn’t get to see what happened to me while you were inside. I wasn’t able to get another disability space for my daughter, so I parked along the curb. Lots of parents do that, to wait on their kids to come out.
Of course, most of those parents have kids who come out a lot quicker than my kid.
My daughter has cerebral palsy. You might not have noticed her, since she doesn’t wear her braces to swim and her unique walking gait isn’t all that obvious when she’s in a crowd or in the pool. If you’re paying attention at the next meet, you’ll be able to pick her out pretty easily – she’ll be the slowest swimmer in the slowest heat of the events that ten year old girls swim, and someone will grab both of her arms to pull her out of the pool at the end of the heat so as to not hold up the next one.
We signed her up for swim team four seasons ago to help her strengthen her legs that are weak because of cerebral palsy, not because she’s a swimming phenom or so she’d have something to keep her busy during summer vacation. I mostly hate swim team, and so does Mr. Andi, but I take her to practice every day without fail because she needs it.
Because my daughter has cerebral palsy:
- It takes her longer to get out of the pool;
- It takes her longer to make her way over to where her swim bag is;
- It takes her longer to towel off her body;
- It takes her longer to put on her shoes (you know, she can’t wear flip flops like your kids); and
- It takes her longer to walk from the building to the parking lot.
So when I had to park along the curb, I blocked all of the rest of the traffic in Clusterfark Circle. And because I was clogging up the works, a car that was behind me in line blocked in another parent who was parked in a disability space – legally.
I sure hope that lady wasn’t in a hurry.
Of course, I don’t know you, so maybe you really have a disability hangtag in your car that you forgot to put up. Hey, I’ve done it myself! Since I only use it when Sarah Kate is with me – and often not even then, if the walk isn’t going to be a long one – I don’t ride around with it on the rearview mirror. So if I’m unjustly accusing you, I apologize. I did notice that you didn’t seem to want to make eye contact with me when I waved Sarah Kate’s blue hangtag in your direction, though.
But this is our fourth season of swim team, and I’ve seen parents park in the blue spaces “just for a minute” lots of times. In fact, it happened last Thursday night at the parent meeting. Pretty sure all those parents all those times all those years didn’t just forget their hangtags. And I’ve been blocked in too many times to count – not by parents waiting patiently in their cars in line, but by parents who parked behind me and went in rather than walk a little further. In fact, I’ve blogged about it before.
Or maybe you do know my daughter.
After all, it’s a small town. Maybe you’ve seen her and you don’t really think she needs a disability hangtag. After all, she swims for an hour every day, right? Of course, I’d tell you that there’s not much chance of tripping in the pool, and balancing in the water isn’t too hard, either. But never mind her – we have a lot of retirees here in Mayberry that use the gym in the building next door. Oh, and one of the swim moms uses a wheelchair. I don’t like to drive my car in Clusterfark Circle during swim practice – can you imagine having to navigate it in a wheelchair (and keep up with your kids) if you had to park in the main lot?
So, yeah. Those spaces aren’t just for my kid.
Maybe you don’t care about my daughter, or the retirees with heart conditions trying to stay healthy, or the mom in the wheelchair. Maybe you will care when I point out to you that what you did is illegal.