One of my favourite series “Lost” came to my mind  today.  That show had me hooked with the twists and turns, adventure, and even a little romance.  A particular episode came to mind between characters “Hugo and John Locke”.  Hugo was a just a nice guy that you want to get to know.  As warped as “John Locke’s” character became, it was this episode where he parked in a regular parking space with his adapted vehicle that I remember most.  I thought, as though this was real life characters, “Why on earth would he do such a thing”?  Later it was clear and hit home with me. Sometimes, like John Locke, you don’t want to accept anything different from what most consider the norm.  Anyway, so there he was, parked next to “Hugo’s” big yellow hummer and he couldn’t get his side ramp down to get his wheelchair in.  He snaps, looses it completely.  Most people probably saw that and thought as I did initially, totally his own fault for parking there in the first place.  Here’s the thing though;  it happens even when you’re parked in a disability parking spot. 

 I have a side ramp vehicle and I don’t know how many times the person who has parked beside me hasn’t left me enough room to get the ramp down.  I used to leave them little pre-made notes that said something like “May a thousand ants infest your armpits”.  Not so nice but at the time I thought it might be effective.  Later I was given a more appropriate format to provide. It was certainly much more understanding and providing a polite learning experience for the other party.  The infested armpit one still makes me laugh but I have to admit the other is better. 

Today was one of those days where I parked in a corner disabled parking spot.  There was a no parking sign  marked for other drivers not to park next to this spot, and you guessed it, they did.  Perhaps they just thought “I’ll only be 15 minutes or so”.  Well, I wanted the armpit note.  I was so frustrated that someone could so blatantly ignore the no parking sign, just making their own spot and blocking my access.  For that moment, I pictured myself as “John Locke” just lowering my ramp over and over into the side of the other vehicle.  Of course that’s not the answer and lucky for him I’m not that fed up-yet. 

So I have to say “let’s be wheelistic” about this and offer a word to the wise. If you’re the other driver thinking, “I won’t be long”, think about the other person in that designated spot.  Think about how difficult it might be for them to have to wait in the rain, or with their child because they can’t get in their vehicle.  Maybe they have appointments to go to, medications due at home or family to see.  Know that their time is just as valuable and their right to get in and out of their vehicle without having to wait for you.  You never know if there is a John Locke alter ego just waiting for an excuse.

Have you ever felt like John Locke or are you the rushed parker?

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(Wheel-ist-ic) Adj: awareness or acceptance of actual fact, real existence, or truth with relation to inclusion, accessibility and/or persons with disabilities.

Let’s Be Wheelisitic is a blog designed to open communication, share and create change through parenting, awareness, inclusion and advocacy. Over the years people have encouraged me to use my voice and experiences with my daughter to help others with or without disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities. This blog is my way of doing just that. I hope you will find this site enjoyable, educational, helpful, and rewarding.
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Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans — John Lennon

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