Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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Neither Lesson Nor Vengeance

Today has been a long day at work. It is cold outside, and it’s wet as well. By the time I arrived at the supermarket, it was also dark. And as happens so often, out of four disability carparks, two were occupied by cars without disability parking permit. I was not happy at all.

I did not have many items to purchase. I parked at the other end of the parking lot and, once more, took my life in my own hands and crossed the dark, wet lot, where cars backing out of their spaces could probably only barely see me. This is dangerous. I have raised the issue with the supermarket several times. They really don’t want to know. I raised the issue with the Labour Minister of Disabilities back in 2007/2008. She also didn’t really want to know. I’m sick and tired of this situation where no one really cares, except people with mobility impairments who are risking life and limb when they go shopping.

By the time I came out of the supermarket, both cars were still in the same parking spaces, still not displaying parking permit. One was a large charcoal SUV, the other a small white Honda, clearly modified by a "boy racer".

The words "fed up" would have accurately described me.

I got into my car, and parked right behind both cars, blocking their way out, and *only* their way out. I turned the ignition off, and waited. The first to come back was a young couple that climbed into the SUV. The second to get back to their car was three young guys that folded themselves into the Honda.

Neither vehicles’ occupants said a thing. They waited. I assume they thought I was there only for a moment, waiting for someone to come out of the store. I waited. I was quite relaxed by that point. I wasn’t going to move until at least one of those five individuals came up to me to ask me to move.

I waited. They waited. I monitored the other mobility parking spaces to make sure nobody actually needed the space. Had that been the case, I would have let the two cars parked illegally go. I could see them starting to fret in their cars. Turning back to look at me. It was a good 20 minutes before something happened.

The Honda’s driver turned his engine on and made the car roar. I remained unphased.

The SUV’s driver hit the brake paddle on and off several times. I assume to get my attention. He had my attention all along. I still didn’t move.

Another 5 or so minutes went by, and the SUV’s driver came up to my window. I wound the window down and the conversation went something like this:

Him: Could you move your car so I can leave?

Me: Yep, I *could*.

Him: Please back up, I’m actually running late for dinner.

Me: So?

Him: Come on man, this isn’t funny.

Me: No, you’re right, it is NOT funny.

And I proceeded to explain to him why I had blocked him. I remained polite and calm. The guys in the Honda got out and listened to my exchange with the SUV’s driver. He asked if it had "impacted" me. I said yes, it had. I pointed out I had to park at the other end of the lot, etc.

He said "I’m sorry".

I said "Thank you"

I turned the engine on, and I drove away.

I think the guy really meant it. I don’t think he’s really learned his lesson though. The Honda crew certainly didn’t learn anything.

I made them wait a bit. Just as I’ve been made to wait over and over again because of people like them. It was not satisfying at all. It was, in fact, pointless. They didn’t learn. It wasn’t enough of an inconvenience to them to be satisfying vengeance for me. Vengeance is not something I’m after in any case.

Tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, I’ll be at the supermarket. It’ll be cold, dark, and wet. And I’ll have to park at the other end of the lot, again, because some f*ckwit parked illegally in disability parking spaces without a permit.

3 thoughts on “Neither Lesson Nor Vengeance

  1. Nic, I’d be tempted to let out the air in their tires.

    But I imagine that it could be illegal. And it would be somewhat awkward doing it so conspicuously right out in front of the door, not to mention if they came out whilst you were doing it.

    And they still probably wouldn’t learn anything…

    PS For the spam question “Ice is hot or cold?” I want to answer “yes”. :-)

  2. OMG, awesome response. I\’ve given people \”tickets\” but never blocked them in. Must try it sometime. If only I could make them wheel across a busy parking lot in the dark in the rain, too.

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