The Bigger Picture

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My passport is about to expire.

This is bittersweet. It is exciting looking back on all of those stamps, to see how far I have come, but I still have too many blank pages for my satisfaction.

Now I will have to start over.

To begin the process of renewal, I ran to the drug store to get my passport photo redone. As I parked and trekked inside, I noticed a very clean, very new, cream colored luxury SUV. It was parked halfway in the handicap spot and halfway in the undesignated neighboring parking space. Straddling. Worse, there was no handicap placard or license plate visible.

Prick. Who the hell would park like that?!??!?

This is particularly upsetting having grown up with a father crippled by polio, knowing how hard it was for him to get around and how hard it was, and still is, to find parking close enough for him.

I contemplated going vigilante, snapping a picture with my smart phone so I could send it to the police. Maybe I could make a citizens arrest? A note in the windshield? Post it online. Not that I have ever actually done those things. I haven’t. But I do like to fantasize about it…

Bastards. Wealthy people who feel entitled and don’t give a damn about anyone else but themselves. Don’t they know there are people who really need those spots?

It is a pet peeve of mine.

I got my photo made (meh), paid, and headed back to my vehicle. The SUV was still there, straddling the two spaces. Oh, well. I decided to let it go. It is not my job to police after all. Let their own conscience deal with them…

If they have one.

I paused in the parking lot to answer a blog comment before I got back to the craziness of the ninja wars going on back home, then I put the engine into gear, backing up.

Then I saw them.

An elderly couple.

She was in a nightgown, clinging to his arm as they both tottered out to the SUV with a small bag from the pharmacy. She looked to be in quite a bit of pain.

Oh.

Maybe that was as well as they could park. Driving in the dark is hard at that age. Maybe she just got out of the hospital. Maybe they were too proud to ask family or friends for help? Maybe they do have a handicap placard and got flustered, forgetting to put it up. Maybe they don’t have one but he felt he needed to use the spot so she could get in and out of the pharmacy easier. Maybe he took that risk for her to protect her because he loved her.

Again I was reminded how first impressions are often faulty. How I need to take a step back to get the full story before making judgements.

I needed that reminder.

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118 thoughts on “The Bigger Picture

  1. I think we all need something like that to happen to us — just as a reminder to maybe assume the best instead of the worst.

    But I hate it when folks do that! Lately people have been parking in the fire lanes in the local Safeway while they go in and get their Starbucks next door. So annoying! Of course, sometime one does just need an emergency latte …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Years ago, I took my husband, recently released from the ER, to our home, WITH FOUR KIDS, and then drove to the pharmacy. Coming out, medicine in hand, I sped past some woman and her kids and literally ran to my car. She yelled at me to slow down, cussed me up one side and down the other. She was larger than I am, so as I drove past her, she shouted at me, lol, “Skinny, rude, white bitch!” flipping me the bird and screaming. I will admit to being white. The rest, No. But I did what I had to do. So see, you could have been much worse ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to confess that I do the same thing Victo. What pisses me off is when people who are obviously physically fit, push the button to open the handicap doors at the hospital. I have to bite my tonque to keep from asking what their handicap is – is it mental? I don’t walk very well and i take pride in using the manual doors. It is bitter cold here in the winter (-25 as i write this) and there are inside and outside doors at entrance. The handicap opens both simultaneously for wheel chairs and such – and the wind just blasts into the hospital. It is a huge waste of heat and electricity. i would guess that about 25% of the people who enter use the handicap doors when only about 1/4 of those are actually handicapped or need assistance – i.e. baby carrriage or IV pump pole or even arms full. It has gotten so bad that when the temp went down to -35 (with wind chill) last week, the hospial locked out the handicap doors because they were always open with non-handicapped users.

    This is a pet peeve of mine and I am not vey tolerant when i see what i think is abuse. I am much more tolerant of other situations like handicap parking (having been so sick i could hardly walk and needing a prescription, etc)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Since I normally use a motorized wheelchair, I have a huge van with handicap plates to haul it around. When I can’t find a handicap parking space, I used to feel like you do about people who park in them when they obviously don’t need them.
    But sometimes, I don’t use the van. For example, there’s a family restaurant at the local mall where the aisles just aren’t wide enough to permit me reasonable access. When we eat there, we take the wife’s car with my foldup manual wheel chair in the trunk. Because Texas only allows handi-people to have one tag, we use a “temp” placard that hangs from the inside mirror. Because it has printed on it in huge letters (remove from mirror while driving!), she keeps it in the glove compartment.

    One day we went for lunch at the mall, and when we got back to the handicap space, we found that she’d forgotten to hang up the placard. Across the back of the car, someone had deeply keyed the words “Die you selfish Asshole”. My wife reacted badly, feeling she deserved such treatment for forgetting to put out the placard. I was never able to convince her otherwise, and she left the mark on the car to remind herself (what can I say, she’s Catholic).

    That day was the last time I ever thought about complaining when someone I didn’t know (whose story I didn’t know) took up a space I wanted.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I love this. As much as we don’t really enjoy being humbled and reminded of the incorrect ways in which we think and judge, it is such a necessity!

    I too hated renewing my passport. Especially since I knew that my next passport…and any other passport after that, would most likely never come anywhere close to being so full and visiting so many amazing places as my last one. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I still would’ve crumpled their antenna! LOL! I need to ask. What’s (meh)? Is it like: ‘yuck?’ I really love how this all unfolded with a classic lesson involving the bigger picture… The clouds in the picture you chose, shadowing over the landscape, only serves to further support the theme. Very insightful read! So easy to get things so totally wrong! Great entry! Well worth the read :O)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Bah! That’s not fair. Probably about 90% of the time it IS some a-hole and we can enjoy our self-righteous stewings (and even leaving notes, etc.). Fuss and bother when it turns out there can be other realities. You could have yelled at them anyway?

    :::chuckles:::

    Liked by 2 people

  8. In a nearby pub/restaurant is a disabled toilet which is accessed via a key given out to people with disabilities. For months now the establishment has left the door unlocked so all and sundry are using the facilities. Being blind it is slightly easier for me to use the disabled toilet as it means not having to use steep stairs and there is more room for my guide dog. The problem is that many non-disabled people use that loo but there being so many hidden disabilities I don’t want to be the one doing the challenging! At a push I can use the non-disabled loo but for someone in in a wheelchair, they don’t have that option. It would be great if the pub locked the door but, according to the staff people kept breaking the lock to gain access, hence keeping it permanently unlocked. Selfish, selfish people! Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  9. PS. My best friend died of lupus. Just looking at her you wouldn’t think “handicapped” but she needed the placard. She got cussed out several times by “do-gooders” who thought she was healthy and scam using the placard.

    PPS. I don’t have a placard but my knees are wonky and sometimes I require crutches. I rarely rarely rarely park in a handicapped spot, even when I need the crutches. One day I did NEED to park in a spot. There were several available. As I was struggling to get out of the car someone came up to me and started telling me that I had no right to park in the spot. It was out of character for me, but I just quietly struggled out of the car, then reached in and got one crutch, leaned it against the car, got the other crutch, messed around with both. When I got them positioned in my armpits I looked at her and said, “I’m on crutches. This is new and I don’t have a placard yet.” I just stared at her. She apologized and scuttled off. Maybe it is all that time on the phones with CSR, but normally I would have thought I would have used more expletives. Odd.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. We need to find that balance don’t we? When to use our judgments and when not to? It would have been right to be upset if an individual abusing that spot was indeed abusing it. It was not shameful to wonder about it, then when you saw the answer, you understood. I like how these kind of moments keep us on our toes and give us little lessons, we can even be our our teachers sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are such a wonderful story teller. I was right there with you as you told your tale. I wanted to crusade with you into the store to find the arrogant SOB who parked their SUV so selfishly. Then, as you described the pair, I mentally saw my in-laws. And I thought, oh gosh, that could have been them parking the bomb of a Mercury he drove, and not well. Thank you for the wake-up call to humanity.
    I have a placard which I do not use and should more often. When I do, I get all the disgruntle looks as this perfectly โ€œhealthyโ€ FAT woman hops out of her car to go into the grocery store. And I do hop and I walk very fast. Of course they do not see me crying uncontrollably as I limp, wincing in pain, from over doing it on my return to the car. People are so judgmentalโ€ฆโ€ฆ which is why this is a great post. If I may, I may write about it and share on my Sunday post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Being in medicine I am well aware that pain is not always something you can see on the outside but I still rush to judgement from time to time. Feel free to use anything of mine that you like! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  12. A valuable lesson here. How does that go? “Judge not lest yee/you be judged.” We just never know the circumstances of another being. And, of course there will always be those individuals that take advantage of a situation to which they are not entitled. That is how it goes. But I would never question why any elderly person parks/parked in a handicapped zone no matter how poorly they had parked. After all, someday all of us will be old and maybe desperate and then the shoe will be on the other foot.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My brain works the same way and I would have reacted exactly as you did. Sometimes God’s grace halts your actions for a moment (while you commented on a post) for us to see that bigger picture. Thank you, Victo for reminding us all that not everything is as it appears.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I learned this lesson through a friend. You can’t see her disability but she does indeed have one. She has a card to dangle but occasionally forgets it. I try not to make a judgments but I’m human. Like you most of my police work is done in my head. At least I won’t get shot.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. From another angle..I’m reminded of the Christmas season when I was sporting a removable leg cast and using crutches. I was determined to shop, and walked the mall. Folks were so kind, carrying my stuff, commenting on my strength of purpose and passing me to the front of any line. The following year, I was tempted to whip out that cast again, just to get preferential treatment. (I couldn’t follow through on it, though, worried about bad karma, maybe another injury.) Van

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I am also guilty of making assumptions and judging people. no matter how hard I try not to! As I was reading through, I was agreeing with your thoughts, and thinking worse ones of my own! I felt so sad when it got to the conclusion, and the old couple venturing out to the pharmacy probably because they had no choice or nobody else to help them.
    Thanks for the reminder, I needed it too ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Every time I see a car in a handicap spot I check to see if there’s a handicap decal or license plate. Now, WHY do I do that? Why do I put myself in their world? It’s none of my business and it’s not like I can do anything about anybody who abuses the system. But I do it anyway. I’ll see someone at the gym texting while sitting on a piece of equipment. It’s not a piece of equipment I had any intention of using, but I get all angry and upset just the same. Why am I in that person’s world? Do you know how much HAPPIER I’d be if I could stop doing this to myself?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As always, what a great blog. Yes, first impressions are often wrong. So it is better to step back, think about possible explanations for people’s behaviour.
    Victo Dolores blogs always seem to inspire me to write something different from my perspective. I might.
    But one example. I am middle aged, very fit, probably look younger. But before I had eye surgery last summer, I had a very poor vision.However, because I did not look like a frail almost blind person, people got impatient with my walking slowly down dark stairs when I could see just a path, no steps. With me asking questions at airports when I could read none of the signs. Those people only saw a woman who is annoyingly in the way. First impressions. let’s look and think again.
    Lucie

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Working at a pharmacy and also living in NY you get to see every variation and deviation when it comes to parking in a space, multiple spaces, verticaly, horizontally, on grass, double parked, in handicappm etc and become pretty much desensitized to the point you roll your eyes and just walk away lol

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I remember being pregnant, big as a whale, having Braxton Hicks, and trying to marshall two small children in a parking lot so I could buy diapers. I always looked longingly at those blue spaces, but I always drove by. Polio trumps pregnancy, it really does. I’m glad you were there to see that the giant SUV had its reasons after all. Faith in humankind is so important, given how closely we all live.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. At times, especially when I first started working in pharmacy, I found myself judging patients for the small things. Not responding to my greetings or sincerity. Rushing the pharmacy staff. Acting outraged at the price of medication.
    It was then, a little later on, it occurred that I’m seeing and experiencing only the consequences of their actions, and I have no idea what they may be thinking or going through.
    These lessons aren’t so obvious when you begin, but learning to appreciate perspective has made me a better man and pharmacy intern.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the ticket! It is not your fault that the cost is so high or that they feel like crap or just got finished with an exhausting and frustrating visit with their physician. It isn’t really personal…

      Like

  22. Pingback: My Article Read (2-22-2015) (2-23-2015) | My Daily Musing

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