My husband got mad at me recently because I drove his car to the grocery store and when I came out again, it wouldn’t start. Because I'm a rabid feminist about everything except garbage and cars, I called him to deal with it. He called Triple A, and he waited with the car. It wasn’t like he blamed me for his car trouble. That would be patriarchal. And it was a freezing cold day. He was just angry because I had parked his dead-ass battery in the HYBRID CARS ONLY spot.
Needless to say, he doesn’t drive a hybrid. Nor do I.
Yes, I do it all the time. I behave this way for 3 reasons. One, I like to rankle the left-wing hippies. The fact that it succeeds just makes me more committed to my cause. Almost every time I do it, an angry customer with a hemp infinity scarf walks by and loudly remarks to her patchouli-scented partner, “That’s not a hybrid car!”
The only problem is, the hippies aren’t the only ones who get rankled by it. One time, a very patient father had to redirect his young son, who may have been autistic because he was quite rankled by the categorical violation. He stood there for several minutes, telling his dad (over and over) how it was a busy holiday weekend, and that may have been the only free spot. Which was 100% true. But it was embarrassing. I felt really bad. I didn’t park there again for like, two months. Until the next really busy day when the only open spot was the HYBRID CARS ONLY one.
The 2nd reason is that parking category is stupid. Nobody needs me to provide a sustainability chart on relative carbon footprints. We have an internet for that. But I will say, I drive an average of 2 miles a day in my gasoline-guzzling SUV. Now throw in a customer questionnaire about how often I fly on airplanes – almost never, by the way, because I’m a chicken shit – and I guarantee my carbon footprint kicks those hybrid drivers’ carbon footprints’ asses. Also, everyone knows that driving a used/recycled car with good emissions is better for the environment that buying a brand new fucking Prius. That battery has a large carbon footprint. Put on your infinity scarf and walk to Whole Foods.
The 3rd reason I sometimes park there is that those parking signs are not laws. They are suggestions -- and thank you to Whole Foods for the great advice – but I don’t feel compelled to take them. I would never in a million years park in a disabled spot. Those are legal parking spots for people whom the state has recognized as a special category. Do people abuse them and leave their disabled tags on their cars even when their carpel tunnel is healed, or their actually disabled spouse is home watching The Voice? Of course they do. Everyone is born with the God given potential to be a self-serving hypocrite. Even Bernie Sanders. I’m looking at you, millennials.
But I digress.
The best argument in support of this reasoning is that the suggested special parking spot varies so dramatically from store to store. Every store has their own special definition of who deserves a special spot these days. I had to laugh the other day, when pulling into Home Depot to buy a washing machine, at their reserved spots for military veterans. Veterans? Not even disabled veterans? What about veterans who kick their dogs? I'm grateful for our veterans. I donate money to them on a regular basis. But c'mon: That's a helpful suggestion.
If you get groceries at Copps, on the other hand, you get a special spot for being pregnant and/or having small children. Are those people equally burdened too? What if your toddler is an early walker? How about cat ladies who don't have human children? What if you’re only 2 months pregnant and never have morning sickness? I’m a heavy drinker and hung over like, every third day. I guarantee I have more trouble getting across that parking lot than a pregnant woman who isn’t even drinking. Helpful suggestion.
Then there’s Metcalfe’s, with their 80 special spots for the elderly. Listen, elderly: I know you are more rickety and tired than me, and have to deal with an increasing number of health problems. You're a lot like veterans in the sense that I don't actually park in your spots, except maybe like one time. My parents are older now, and I had to take down their Christmas tree and drag it to the curb this year by myself, because they were both dealing with muscular issues. On the other hand, when they are feeling fine, they have no problem walking half a mile in cold weather to basketball games, and 3 miles down the beach in the Cayman Islands. My mother-in-law just turned 80 and won an award for swimming 500 miles at her gym last year. There are 365 days in the year, bitches. Even when it’s not leap year. Do the math.
I feel the same way about 15 minute parking spots, by the way. How am I supposed to know how long it will take to pick up my Japanese takeout? What if the sushi chef is backed up, and then I run into a neighbor who wants to tell me about her new hot tub? Also, why do some stores give you 10 minutes instead of 15? Are Supercuts customers faster than Aveda spa customers? OK, maybe. Anyway.
Sometimes, I like to imagine the special signs that other stores in town might have, if this special privilege space trend becomes a thing. Like this:
Bookstore: Reserved for People Who Read Lots of Self-Help Books
Pool: Reserved for Triathletes with OCD and Ladies Who Take Water Aerobics
Hardware Store: Reserved for People Trying to Paint Their Kids' Bedrooms
Schools: Reserved for Parent Volunteers, But Only If They Work in the Lunchroom, Which Smells Bad
Local Pub: Reserved for Women Forced to Accompany their Boyfriends to Watch Football
Readers, the hybrid spot is fake. I'm not a law breaker. That kind of space is a helpful suggestion much like the one given to me by my mom, when I was younger and single: Join a church group to meet a husband. I didn’t take that suggestion either. Somehow, things worked out. So until the revolution comes -- and the only special fake parking spots are reserved for apparatchiks of Chairman Sanders – I’ll probably keep doing it. But for my husband’s sake, only when driving my own car.