I don't know about you, but I have stood in parking lots, hands on hips, glaring at those who stroll boldly into Target or IKEA or whatever retail giant they find themselves near, leaving their car in a clearly marked stall reserved for handicapped patrons only. What goes through my mind at this moment is this question: "What possible affliction could be keeping them from performing the same operation that I myself have just executed: driving the length of the lot, searching for the one open space without the baby blue restriction?"
The answer that comes most readily is "They must be in an awful big hurry to buy some new trash bags, or modular furniture spelled with an umlaut." Or maybe they're just lazy. Those blue and white graphics are generally found in the closest possible spots to the front door, and those miscreants are saving themselves valuable energy getting from their vehicle to the business of their choice. I mark these moments by wishing for the magical apparition of some measure of parking authority. Someone who will openly shame the scofflaw and send them searching for a spot much more in line with their abilities, or simply handcuff them and tow their cars to a shame-based impound facility, where they can pay for their crimes with self-esteem as well as cash.
But that never happens. And when I clear my throat or show disdain in some other way, that concern is generally brushed aside, since many of these seemingly able-bodied men and women merely point at the color-coded placard hanging from their rear-view mirror. They've got the plastic, why shouldn't they be allowed to park wherever they want?
Happily, for me, the Los Angeles Times recently reported the reason for all this confusion: The California Division of Motor Vehicles has issued some fifty-six thousand disabled parking placards to dead people. The people I have been accosting in shopping centers across our great state are not disobeying any law, they are zombies. The guttural responses emanating from them as they shamble in to obey the retail siren's call should have been a tip-off. From now on, I won't be angry, I'll just feel pity. Or shoot them through the head. That's the best way to deal with your average zombie.