I Did It

Last week I wrote about receiving my disabled parking placard.  This week I’m writing about actually using it.

Let me start by saying that, when possible, I always venture onto the residential streets to try and find a “freebie” spot.  While some meters give me an hour for $1, others double that rate.  And I know that walking is good exercise for me, so I don’t mind parking a block or so away. 

But last week, I couldn’t find a freebie spot, so I was forced to park at a closer spot, one that had a meter.  I reached for my credit card to pay the meter and then stopped myself.  I had a decision to make.  Should I pay like I usually do or park for free by displaying my placard?  I was torn and really didn’t know how best to handle the situation.  Neither decision felt quite right to me. 

I have “earned” this placard (if that’s the right word) and thus was “entitled” (again, not sure that’s the right word either) to free parking.


But I don’t “look” disabled.  But, the two dollars won’t make or break me. 

And, putting up that placard puts me and my situation out on display.

It wasn’t easy, but I did it.  I parked and walked towards my doctor’s appointment, feeling like at any moment someone would call me out as a fraud.  I know I’m not a fraud.  I know that this, sadly, is my reality.  But it’s a reality I sometimes feel unprepared for.

Mail Call

The picture above shows the items I received in the mail a few days ago.  Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I couldn’t help noticing the combination.

My Writer’s Digest magazine — a subscription I’ve had for a few years now.  I read each issue, marking pages with Post-Its, highlighting passages, reading it as a writer looking for information and inspiration.  Because since I am no longer a teacher (because of a disability), I am a writer.

The other item, my disabled placard, is one I’ve had mixed feelings about for quite a while.  I’ve been vehemently opposed to getting one and worried that I wouldn’t even qualify for one.  Although, as my husband pointed out, I’m no longer teaching due to my disability, and I receive a monthly disability check, so it really wouldn’t be a stretch to think I’d qualify for a placard. 

(Click here to read my essay on Role Reboot.org titled “Why I Don’t Hang a Disabled Person Placard In My Car.”)

But the placard is such a visible sign that there’s something wrong with me.  And I still believe there are others who need it more than I do.  But lately, there have been times I’ve really felt like I needed it too.  Like the day we parked several blocks away from my rheumatologist’s office to save money by not parking in the building’s parking lot.  We weren’t sure how long we’d be so I opted out of an hour-only metered spot.  A disabled placard would have made finding a parking spot much easier.

I haven’t used the placard yet.  I haven’t even put it in the car yet.  But I will. 

And one day I’ll use it.  And that will be it’s own essay.

Very Structured

I started getting pedicures a couple of years ago.  Often times, I don’t even have my nails polished — I’m just there for the convenience of having someone else cut my nails so I don’t cause myself additional discomfort trying to do it myself.

On Monday, I went for a pedicure, and inspired by the warmer weather we’ve been having, I did have my toenails polished.  A pretty shade that caught my eye.  This particular hue is described as a “classic burnt sienna.”  But what stuck in my head was the name of the color — Very Structured.  

I am a “very structured” person.  Certain chores like laundry, writing bills, and grocery shopping are done on certain days of the week.  I prepare dinner at the same time each night.  I write daily “to do” lists.  I publish this blog each Wednesday. 

And, apparently, even in my choice of nail polish, I’m “very structured.”