“Disabled parking spaces are for disabled people!” he yelled at me.
I know, I thought. That’s why I’m parked in it. But he never gave me the chance to formulate my reply.
“They’re not for mothers with children!” he continued loudly. That made my blood boil. Since when did disability and motherhood, or childhood for that matter, become mutually exclusive?
Perhaps he was enjoying the attention he was attracting with his bellows. Perhaps he’d had a bad day, and just needed to vent his frustration, I don’t know. I watched sadly as he limp-stomped around the the rear of my wheelchair car towards the windscreen. Prejudice and attack from outside the circle of disability, whilst abhorrent, was something I could understand. But coming from within, from another disabled person, it was kind of hard to take, Furthermore, his outburst did nothing to further our ’cause’; all the sympathetic looks from passers-by were directed at me, not him, even though they thought I was an able person stealing a disabled parking space.
Then he stopped, kind of collapsed in on himself, all his bluster suddenly blown away. He’d seen my disabled parking permit displayed on the dashboard. Did he turn to me with a wry smile on his lips, a sorry look in his eye, apologetic words on his tongue?
Did he hell!
“I hope you make sure and tell those mothers with babies who park in these spots,” he flung at me, and limp-stomped self-righteously off, head held high. I watched him go, wondering at the vehemence of his hatred for mothers with children. Some mothers did seem to think that the big blue ‘P’ applied to them too. I have also heard the able-bodied express their annoyance at the rows of empty disabled spaces in a packed car park.
I guess life is just full of injustice and inequality. Maybe it’s how we deal with them which points out true disability.
I strapped Carys into her wheelchair, locked the car, and pushed her towards the ramp which gave wheelchair access.
My new limp-stomping angry disabled friend had abandoned his car on the yellow lines, and completely sealed off the entrance to the ramp.