The Argument I Always Have at the Disability Parking Space

The argument I always have at the accessible parking spaces is whether or not I really need to use it again.

I have fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis and generally don’t look like I need to park in the accessible spaces, so I feel guilty and need to justify using them.

“Not this time,” I reason. “I don’t hurt that bad today.”

And then it hits me! Of course I don’t hurt that bad!

I haven’t…

…gone into the store looking for a cart only to find that they are now keeping them outside the store so I have to go back outside and start all over again.

…walked around the store reaching and lifting assorted groceries to put it into my cart.

…had to stand and read all the labels in an effort to buy the healthiest food possible.

…leaned over to get the economy-sized laundry detergent from the bottom shelf and, with gravity working against me, tried to get it over the side of the cart.

…walked past the refrigerated section and wished I had remembered my sweater because cold always makes me feel worse. Even in the middle of summer.

…had to unload my groceries from the cart, again working against gravity, to place them on the counter for the cashier.

…had to reload my cart with the same items now in overfilled bags from the helpful bagger at the checkout.

…had to roll through the sliding glass doors and panic because I’m so exhausted that tears begin to well up in my eyes.

…tried to put one foot in front of the other to find my car and open the trunk in time to unload my bags, this time feeling as if they’ve been weighted down with bricks.

…sat in my car and cried because the pain and exhaustion was so great. Or having to take a deep breath in order to put the key into the ignition and start the car.

…left the groceries in the back of the car so I could go into the house to “rest up” before carrying the food in — only to find the forgotten carton of melted ice cream in the bottom of a bag.

There are times that I’ve circled the parking lot and, not finding a space close enough, decided to go home instead of parking too far away — just in case.

Do I really need to park in the accessible spot today? Yes, I do.

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