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19 August 2012 @ 12:46 am
Dear Busybody People: Yes I Am Disabled  
Stop glaring at me when I park in a handicapped spot. No I don't have a wheelchair and I'm not 90 years old. I'll never BE 90 years old. My parents weren't, either. They both died of heart disease at age 50 and 54. I am 53 and I've had heart disease for over a decade. You, too, can get a shiny new handicapped placard if you have open heart surgery and a heart attack before you even wake up from that. It's so much fun. I highly recommend it. You get a whole bunch of pills to take every day. Too bad none of them give you a buzz. But you've got pills to make you pee, pills to make you pee even more once a week so you don't drown in your own fluids, pills to lower your blood pressure, pills to help your heart work better since the blood pressure pills are hard on your heart, pills to lower your cholesterol that don't work at all on your triglycerides and don't raise your below-normal HDL (the good kind).

I mustn't forget doctors' appointments, oh what fun they are--you'll enjoy lots of those. Another really fun part of heart disease is having everyone judge you. Gosh isn't it fun to be sick and have everyone tell you that if you'd just done x, you'd have avoided it, especially when x and y and z were things you DID do but they didn't save you from your crap genetics?

But hey, I'm enjoying the handicapped parking so, so much. Especially when I can actually find a handicapped spot that isn't taken. That pretty much means I don't go to festivals or if I do, I must get there super early because those spots go really fast.

By all means, call the police. I'll show them my permit for the placard and you can keep wondering how I scored the cool parking spot and why I drive a Miata (it's one of the few pleasures in my life). I know you think disabled people aren't supposed to have nice cars. I guess my life isn't crappy enough for you yet. Whatever.

I know I'm just lucky to even be alive. And someday, you'll have a placard too.
litlebananalitlebanana on August 19th, 2012 12:53 pm (UTC)
I think this is another instance of how people who abuse the system ruin it for everyone. If everyone "played fair", a legitimately disabled person such as yourself wouldn't get dirty looks and would be able to find parking spots at festivals, etc. There are too many people using a relative's disabled sticker or whatever. It's sad that it's gotten to the point where we can't even give people the benefit of the doubt.

But I'm sure if the people who give you dirty looks actually knew your situation, you wouldn't get the dirty looks. The dirty looks are on behalf of people like you who can't find parking because of non-disabled people who take the spots.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on August 19th, 2012 03:37 pm (UTC)

But I'm sure if the people who give you dirty looks actually knew your situation, you wouldn't get the dirty looks.

not always. not even half the time.
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)

So true.
Mari Adkinsmariadkins on August 20th, 2012 03:00 am (UTC)
thing is, and i know you know tapati, is that some people just don't give a damn. period. they just don't care.
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC)

Fat people will always be judged since we so obviously, in their minds, made ourselves disabled and now get cool parking as a reward for bad behavior. I love how people can just look at me and know what I eat. Totally wrong, of course, but whatever.

No matter what people know about me, they will judge me based on my size.
litlebananalitlebanana on August 19th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
Well, having met you, I honestly didn't think you were all that overweight. Certainly not to the point where I'd think that your weight gave you a heart attack and the whole thing was your fault. Maybe people are looking at you because they think you look too healthy to be getting disabled parking (even if that's not the case)?

I work with a lot of people who have physical disabilities, and I know from their angry anecdotes that there IS a lot of abuse of the disabled parking system. It's unfortunate for people like you, who really need it.
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)

This morning, pre-diuretic boost, I weighed 307. To the medically uninformed, that ought to kill me immediately. :)

Ironically I had the heart attack most likely because of the angiogram and surgery dislodging some plaque. I do know women my size who didn't get heart disease because they had great genes and high HDL, so there's that.

I'm sure there are multiple factors at play here. I get nasty looks and comments based on weight alone even when I'm not near my car and placard. This society just plain hates fat and fat people. Look at the very nasty comments any time there's an article about weight.
Suzie RushSuzie Rush on August 19th, 2012 01:19 pm (UTC)
While there is an element of being against the system-abusers who misuse disabled spaces, I firmly believe that anyone who wants to get all white knight about it (even to the degree where they believe their withering glares will shame abusers into behaving) should do their research first. There is far too much belief that disabled people should look handicapped, and, even worse, that some disabilities 'don't count' because you chose to be overweight or whatever.

I'm in a privileged position, because without having to actually be in your situation, I have seen the unjustified judge-stares from the other side. My stepmother's been registered disabled since I was very young, and while her photo was on her (visible) badge, people still judged, because she was young and looked healthy, and - thanks to a cocktail of steroids and other drugs - was badly overweight. Some people clearly thought she can't be disabled, so had scammed the badge; some just thought she was, but that she didn't deserve the help because it must be because of the weight issue which just had to be her fault. Both were wrong, but no one ever bothered to think before judging. And none of them had to see her struggle to stay standing if she had to walk from a normal parking space.

In the past year, I've been given a college-only badge to allow use of the college's disabled bays, due to a knee injury which is exacerbated by walking too much, along with my class schedule which ensures that I can't get a regular parking space. I also get a pass for the lift, which is more of a pain because it's horrible and slow, but they don't want the risk of me getting halfway up the stairs and crippling myself (and suing them), so I abide. But with the parking, even though I have a notice in my car window, and a visible problem (one knee bigger than the other and a discernible limp), and there are way more disabled bays in the college than are ever filled, I get filthy looks because I'm young and able to walk - albeit lurchingly and with great pain - and thus shouldn't be getting such a cushy parking spot while they park streets away. It's horrible, and the sooner I can get it sorted, the better. I couldn't imagine having to put up with that for the rest of my life.

I can understand glancing in the window to check for the badge, and judging those who don't have one. My stepmother had to do that on occasion because if all the disabled bays are full, then she physically couldn't get to the shops, and when half of them were clearly abusing the 'honour system', she'd feel no guilt calling it in. But looking at a person and, without knowing their history or their pain levels, judging their worthiness of assistance that is not all that easy to get in the first place...that's not defending 'worthy' people, that's just plain being a douche.
Tapatitapati on August 19th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)

Well said!
carmy_wcarmy_w on August 20th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
I love it when you get pissy like this! My sympathy to you for having to deal with the assholes, though....
Tapatitapati on August 21st, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)

Haha, thanks. I don't lose my temper often enough. :)