How Lazy Are They?

In Columns, Life With Laura by Laura Stinson

How lazy are people? I mean, really, how lazy are they? When people see those crossed out portions of parking lot between parking spots reserved for the disabled, what do they really see? A sign that says, “Hey you! It’s a secret, but you can actually park here!” That is incredibly ridiculous.

In case you didn’t know, those blue striped areas have a name. They are called access aisles and are not just there for decorative purposes. They actually serve a purpose. Many times, disabled parking spots are occupied by vans with wheelchair lifts. Access aisles are necessary so that the lift has room to move away from the van so that a person in a wheelchair can safely get out of their vehicle. I get in and out of my car through the passenger door. I have enough to worry about without fretting if some lazy jerk is going to prevent me from being able to do something as simple as getting in and out of my car.

I had to deal with one of these lazy jerks last summer when my mother, sister, and I were shopping. Certainly, my mom could have moved our car, but it was the principle that bothered us the most. Besides, if I had been on my own, there would have been no way for me to move the car because I wouldn’t have been able to even get in the car! That’s really quite frustrating when these people aren’t even a little sorry. At the very least, if someone shows remorse, you know they have seen their wrongdoing and most likely won’t do it again. But this woman was obstinate and obnoxious and rather than admitting to her mistake, she began threatening my mother, using foul language, and telling us all to go to hell— of course— this was after she had already jumped in her van and locked the door.

It’s evident from this behavior that she knew she had done something very wrong and had been caught. But the thing that upset me the most was that she could have parked just about anywhere else and been just as close to the entrance of the building, but for some odd reason, she decided to park next to our car! Did she believe that if she parked next to a car, what she did would go unnoticed? The fact is, we could and we should have called the police, but we didn’t. The next person who decides to make such a mistake wont be quite so lucky.

Of course, this isn’t the only situation where I have to deal with such laziness. During the school year, I park in a specially constructed spot behind my dorm so that I’m not faced with the hazard of crossing a street to get from my car to my dorm and back again. However, people look at this space and don’t see a one-car parking spot. They pull in beside my car and block me not only from getting in the car but from even getting in and out of the building and to and from classes because they block the sidewalk I use to leave.

That is lazy! Sometimes, I just want to scream at these people, “You can walk across that street and you don’t even have the good sense to realize the gift you have in your possession!” Being a senior, I don’t enjoy living in a freshman dorm due to accessibility issues, but I do it because I have to.

It angers me that people have so little respect for others.

I don’t just mean me, although, certainly, this all comes within the scope of my experience. It continues when said offenders get angry over a fine for parking illegally. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that such actions come with a penalty. All reserved parking signs have a placard that plainly states the consequence that comes with parking in these spaces or blocking people who really need them.

Another thing that really irritates me, what about the people who are not disabled but have a friend or relative who is and therefore have a disabled parking decal in their car, which they use when the disabled person is not in the car with them? I realize how hard this is to track, but I sincerely feel that there should be a law against doing that. It is selfishness, pure and simple. Well, selfishness and laziness. Rudeness. Being inconsiderate. I could go on.
Then, there are some people who would have the unmitigated gall to call me lazy! I would like to set that misconception straight right now. There have been times when I have forgotten to switch my placard from my car to my parents or when it has been left out of my car. I have every right to park in a disabled parking spot, most people would argue. However, I don’t. I will park out in the “boondocks” before I take that spot away from someone who, at that moment in time, might really need that space and can legally park there.

Can I tell you more?
Please, let me proceed. Dressing rooms. There is a reason why accessible dressing rooms have those cute little pictures on the door. If they were meant for the able-bodied, it would look like a restroom sign. I believe part of this problem lies with the architects and construction crews who design and build department stores. Being in a wheelchair, I need more room to be able to get in and move around in a dressing room.

However, I don’t need the space of a master bedroom. Why make dressing rooms infinitely larger than other dressing rooms? It would be much simpler and more efficient to make all dressing rooms larger than the average size to accommodate the wheelchair, but not gargantuan. Therefore, any patron could use any of these dressing rooms without having to wait, again, for lazy, inconsiderate fools (yes, I said fools) to finish.

The same goes for wheelchair accessible bathroom stalls. These were not invented to make the bathroom experience for the able-bodied more pleasant. It’s a public restroom; it’s not meant to be pleasant. How much room does one need to pee if he or she is not encumbered by a wheelchair, walker, or other piece of mobility or medical equipment. Personally, I just want to get in, do what I have to do, and get out as quickly as possible. I do not consider using a public restroom a day at the spa.

I really really do enjoy waiting outside these dressing rooms and bathroom stalls while someone who is able bodied takes their time to exit. I fix them with a stare, and a polite smile, and they squirm under my gaze, like cells under a microscope. Whether or not I actually want to use the room or stall doesn’t particularly matter to me. Seeing me waiting, hopefully, sends an undeniable message to the offending person. More than once, this person has probably used an accessible dressing room or bathroom stall without having a second thought. Perhaps this will make them think twice!

What I would like to do, and what my mother often squelches, is to verbally berate these ignoramuses. I would love to ask them what in the world they think they were doing. I want to know how lazy they truly are. And then, I would love to tell them, “I hope you never have the unfortunate experience of meeting someone like you.”