I don't get out a lot these days, other than for doctor's appointments.
But my internist did do the paperwork for me to get a handicapped parking pass, and I occasionally make use of it for things like pharmacy runs, particularly at stores that are generous enough to provide those motorized scooters for those of us with mobility issues, or the occasional small errand.
But I'm routinely surprised that the handicapped parking places often are farther away from the door of a retail establishment than "normal" ones.
Of course, I never noticed that before I could legally park in them. In my healthy days, it often seemed like the only good spots were handicapped spots, although that was mostly because they often were empty while the close-in regular spots were full.
I know that for some folks who need those handicapped spots, the key for them is the extra room around the parking space that makes it easier for them to load and unload a wheelchair or other assistive device. For them, maybe it doesn't matter if the closest handicapped space is 8-10 slots away from the door instead of directly in front of it.
But for me, the extra steps involved to get to the door often impact whether I can actually run my errand or not. And how bad I feel afterwards.
When I visited the Comcast Cable office in Beaverton recently, I was amazed that there were literally no handicapped spots near the customer service entrance of the building. The other end of the building, where I assume employees enter, had a couple spots, but none where I needed to go.
I was just there to pick up a digital cable box, which I thought was an in-and-out errand since I'd set it all up on the telephone. But no. It was like going to the DMV and waiting a long time for my number to be called. To top everything else off, although there were chairs to wait for your number to be called, once it was your turn, you had to stand at a high counter while being served. And of course, nothing had been done over the phone like I thought, so by the time I was done, I thought I was going to pass out and had to sit down in the lobby again before I could hike out to my car. Ugh.
Meanwhile, I'm learning to be more observant in parking lots. Scott and I recently drove separately to a doctor's appointment for Ellie since he was coming from work and I was coming from home. We followed each other from the daycare center, and I of course headed for the handicapped spot in the crowded parking lot. Scott took his time, looked around a bit and found a spot just two slots down from the door. My spot, the nearest marked handicapped to the door, was at least eight slots the other direction.
I've also noticed that at Ellie's daycare center. There's five or six really good spots for loading/unloading the kids directly in front of the door. But if you park in one of their handicapped spots, you've got a much longer walk to the door.
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