It was record time…faster than I imagined!
My husband is on the board of the homeowners’ association for our condominium community. On his to-do list has been to erect a sign to designate a particular parking space for handicapped parking.
It’s been raining for days so the ground was soft and ready, and this morning there was a break in the rain. I held up his ladder with one hand, while holding the sign up with the other. He balanced on the ladder and used a sledge hammer to pound the sign post into the ground.
It wasn’t thunder we heard, but the rumble roll of patio doors being pushed open. A woman in her 30-s stepped out on her patio.
And then she screeched, her voice like fingernails running down a chalkboard.
Is that another handicapped parking sign? There’s already two up the hill. Isn’t that enough?! The parking sucks around here!! I can’t believe this!”
My husband responded in his calm, steady officer voice perfected after years in the military.
“This isn’t for the building up the hill, it’s for this building. A new resident needs it. I understand your frustration, but this is required by law.”
The sign wasn’t even up and already she was complaining!  
I calmly added, “You can park here if you want to pay the $500 dollar fine.”
The door slammed shut behind her.
I thought of my college girlfriend born with physical disabilities. When she walked she weebled, wobbled, and often fell down. Yet she always got up with a smile. She told me once she didn’t like using handicapped parking spaces because of the angry glares from more able bodied drivers with parking envy.
I thought of my blogging friend Debbie. She lives life in a chair, yet boldly sets out and explores her beloved Boston. She blogs her discoveries, thoughts, and reflections on faith with such insight and eloquence, I am often blown away. She types each keystroke with a nod of her head, using a “head stick” since her fingers and hands won’t cooperate with her brain.
(Visit her at http://debsheadstick.blogspot.com/ )
And I thought of our neighbor for whom we were installing this sign. Her hands and body are twisted with arthritis, yet her face lights up when she sees you, ready for a pleasant conversation.
I thought of our screeching neighbor and realized out of all these women, she was the one who was handicapped.
(But she better not park in that space!)