We always knew it was a risk, that some idiot could assault a parking campaigner one day. Even though I’m always careful to assess the level of aggravation & not push my luck. What I didn’t expect was someone to be so furtive in their actions to make an assault look like an accident.
I’d only just returned from a meeting about access issues at a local library. l was excited about the opportunity to tell people how I had approached it to resolve it in hope of setting an example. When you advocate you are often acutely aware of the general lack of knowledge on how to initiate change and in a world of social media, good old slacktivism.
It was a win and I was glad to see the eagerness to make the improvements.
Sadly that was where the joy stopped.
Returning to my car I received a call that was disappointing but not unexpected on an issue involving the very spot I was parked. Whilst on the phone I watched the woman in her little Corolla reverse into the space next to my car and shook my head. It’s painted with white diagonal lines. This is called a painted island. It is there to allow people to access the vehicle in the disability bay, particularly as it has a footpath access ramp. There is also a parking restriction sign with an arrow showing that between the sign and the end of the curb, it is a parking zone for disability parking permit holders.
Apparently this is not clear enough for people. Today was no ordinary day though. Once or twice a week I help out a young mum, minding one of her two babies so she has a bit less hassle getting her school day done. I admit I do it more for me than her because despite how exhausting it is on me they really bring much needed brightness to my week.
So today just happened to be the day I had young master almost 2. I like taking the kids out with the pram. People don’t stare like they do when I have a walking stick or walker. I blend in. Getting them from the pram to the car is a challenge but together we manage. It’s almost like they know they need to help me.
I didn’t say a word to the woman, I just awkwardly hoisted him out of the pram but in the process, knocked it over. The handle of the pram hit the wheel of the illegally parked car. l lifted the pram and returned to trying to buckle the child seat harness.
Have you ever seen someone with Parkinson’s try to do up a seat belt? Try threading a needle. With silly string. Drunk.
It was 2.55pm. I take my next medication dose at 3. This was not going well.
When I accomplished that mission I stepped back and my foot got caught on the pram knocking it over again. As I picked it up, the driver got out of her car and told me, “stop hitting my car!”
It wouldn’t have been an issue if she wasn’t illegally parked and I told her so. So began the no I’m not yes you are argument and I’m growing very tired of having it.
If you don’t know simple parking rules then perhaps you shouldn’t be driving.
She informed me she was calling police and began taking photos of my car. I got out one of our new brochures but when I attempted to give it to her she got in her car and wound up the window. I put it on the windscreen and told her to get educated.
It’s what happened next that will shock you. She opened her car door, not hard enough to hit me, but more in an action that once it made contact with me, gave me a little shove.
I HAVE BLOODY PARKINSON’S DISEASE!!
If a day goes by I don’t lose my balance and fall I celebrate. Yes that little shove that seemed so innocent was enough to push me off balance and I landed ass first in the garden.
That wasn’t the worst of it. No apology or offer to help me up. She yells out “Oh come on, you walked into my door.”
While I was on the ground do my best turtle on it’s back maneuvers to get up, she takes the brochure from the windscreen and goes and throws it in my pram. Icing on the cake was the teenage girl she was picking up from school yelling at me “It’s not a disabled space.”
I hope she isn’t getting her licence anytime soon.
I’ve been to police but as per the previous post with no liaison for people with disabilities I’m not expecting any miraculous change in the parking behaviour of the drivers around North Lakes anytime soon. It was also apparent police were aware of the problem in that specific area and also of this campaign.
Ten bucks says no one is patrolling the area tomorrow.
Not that I can be arsed going out again. Between this and my car being keyed last week, I’m just over it. I don’t want your damn inclusion. I’ve got internet. I will survive.
- might I add, its not the first conversation I’ve had with this driver about this space.