We popped into the supermarket to get a roast chook this morning. I parked in a Disabled Carpark (with the carpark label showing). When we returned to the car, an old couple were getting into their car in an adjoining disabled car park spot. They both kept glancing my way and then muttering to each other. At one point (as I was bundling BC in the car) I could see them shaking their heads in a ‘tsk tsk’ sort of way – ie that we were using the spot when we shouldn’t be. Now, normally, I am very immune to any of this sort of behaviour.
Here’s why – last Christmas at a very large shopping mall here in Melbourne, I had a go at being a disabled car park police officer. There were loads of people looking for spots and clearly, some of those using the disabled car parks were just sick of looking – thinking, I’ll only be a minute, it doesn’t matter. Because it was Christmas and I too was doing last minute shopping, my nerves were a little frazzled. So I had a go at someone who was waiting for the spot I was in. Pointing to the disabled sign, telling them to go park somewhere else. THEN had the horrible realisation that I was in fact shouting at a woman with a wheelchair in the back of her car. A woman who had far better things to do with her day then face a stupid stressed out mother of 2 accusing her of not being disabled. It was horrible. I apologised profusely to her. She was very understanding. She was lovely. We had a little chat about how misused the spots were. She told me not to worry about my outburst. But even though she was so understanding, I made a decision that day that I would never again be a member of the disabled car park police. It just got me too stressed out AND there was a bloody good chance I could get it wrong again. So these days, I never comment. I don’t say anything. I just park.
So back to today. It’s BC’s birthday (more on that in another post). I was feeling a little emotional. OK VERY emotional. So when this couple started to tsk tsk, something in me snapped. I couldn’t help it. I had almost driven off and they were still sitting in their car – craning their necks to see if there was a disabled car park sticker in the front of my car. I reversed back, wound down my window and shouted out ‘It’s my son. It’s not always the driver you know. It’s my son’.
I got about that many words out. They probably didn’t hear me. Their window was still wound up. They were looking at me like I was nuts. Which I sort of was. When I saw how they were looking at me, I drove off. I burst into tears. It was all too much. It was just a dumb overemotional moment for me because I was struggling with the realisation that my little boy turns 4 today. Struggling with what I know most 4 year olds can do. I don’t often have such moments of weakness. I am normally much more in control and definitely a cup half full sort of girl.
BUT the disabled car park police officer in them had irked me even though they hadn’t said a single bloody thing. So I’ve made a second decision now. Not only will I never engage in policing others, but I will definitely never get upset by someone who’s decided to police me. It’s just not worth the emotional energy. And besides. It’s none of their business ;-).