The last few weeks have been like a whirlwind for me. I have been out of town, hosted out of town guests, attended the wedding of a good friend, wrote, worked and taught...and now here it is: a Saturday morning with just me and my pillow. I was delighted. My husband went out early to run errands, so it was just me and my lovely apartment (aside from the sounds of the city outside my window). As I lay there in bed I reached for two of my favorite books: "The Desert in the City" by Carlo Carretto and "Every Bush is Burning" by Joan Puls. They are old and small, but they are in my top five regarding books that have shaped my spirituality. Because of other academic commitments, it has been quite a while since I have done reading just for me. As I read, I underlined new nuggets I had not yet seen and wrote new observations in the margins. I determined that today I was going to bring the balance back into my life. Today was going to be the day I didn't have to have constant stimulation; Today I wasn't going to drive and change the station a million times; Today was going to be peaceful, silent and contemplative. My husband came home and in hand was my favorite drink from our favorite coffee shop. I asked him if he could not put the television on. He said yes and said he would play his guitar instead. So now I was reading in bed, with my favorite drink, listening to my husband strum on his guitar. Yep. Definitely a great morning.
I eventually got up and decided to do some laundry and go to the grocery. Menial tasks, but ones I enjoy. We shop at the Wedge Coop just around the corner from us. A lot of times we will walk there, however, because the parking is so bad. I don't usually go on Saturdays and now I know why. When I arrived there was not one parking spot to be found. I, literally, drove around the parking lot 4 times. My tank was on empty and I was contemplating just leaving. It was then that I saw a handicap space open. I thought, "I will just be a minute. I only need 2 things. I'll be in and out." As soon as I got out of my car the parking lot attendant asked me if I had a permit to park there. I logically explained the situation to her: "Well, no...but here's the thing..." Well, she definitely got up in my face about it and created some what of a spectacle. "Ma'am I mean no disrespect to you or the handicap people that park in these spots but..." I don't take well to being yelled at. I would have gladly moved my car. I fully understood that I was wrong. But now it was about this woman and how rude and loud she was being right in front of an entrance to a very busy coop. This woman standing behind her, an innocent bystander mind you, decided to fight the injustice of a middle class, white woman parking in a handicap spot by informing me that I "must have some nerve to park there." I walked up to that woman and informed her that "it is unfortunate that she is such a rude individual." Then she informed me right back that I must be "low class to park in a handicap spot." I proceeded to get back in my car, thanking the women for their kindness.
I must inform you that, even though I can be sassy and strong, I am a lover not a fight. I never get into fights. I am not a mean person, nor do I enjoy the conflict. I actually tend to avoid it. It was uncanny. Here I go and purpose that this day will be peaceful and lovely and then this happens. Did I bring it upon myself? Maybe. But still. I was so bothered by that small altercation all weekend. I was bothered because, even though the women were overly rude, I was the one committing the injustice in the situation. These women didn't know me at all, and to them I was just a stuck up snob assuming that I could get away with parking in a handicap spot. I fight injustice; I teach a theology that says make right what is wrong. And here I was so blatantly wrong. We shop at the Wedge almost everyday. Will I see these women again? And if I do, will I want to make it right? Will I even have the guts to make it right? One thing I will not have the guts for ever again is parking in a handicap space.
Here is a tip for you: If you are looking for inner peace, you are not going to find it in a crowded parking lot. Second tip: Don't park in handicap spots if you aren't handicap. Third tip: I highly recommend checking out the books mentioned above. ;)