About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, October 15, 2007
The Look
It was a lot of fun doing the post for the two year celebration of Weekend Herb Blogging. Yesterday, M and I made a trip to the liquor store that stocks zubrowka, to pick up a bottle and we parked right there in a disabled parking spot, which M's autism entitles her to.

Which makes a lot of sense.

For instance, there are times when we shop, that M might like to have a certain something that has caught her eye. There is no way of predicting what that may be, a treat, a book, a bracelet, but whatever it is, when she decides she needs it and if in the name of effective parenting, it doesn't look like it might happen, all hell can break loose. It might be something that you know you can buy much cheaper in another store and promise to do so and gain no respite. There are also some triggers to meltdowns that are entirely invisible. Having your car parked near the entrance is then A VERY GOOD THING.

We bought the bottle and on the way back to the car, I noticed a women was sitting in her car that was parked next to ours and was looking at us as we got into our car. As I reversed, I head checked to see if the way was clear and I saw the women was now staring at us with what I could only imagine was her filthiest look. Taken aback, I pointed to the disabled permit on the dash, but her expression didn't change one iota.

Perhaps she thought the two able bodied people she saw get into the car meant we were system abusers. I stopped momentarily, thinking to explain, but I don't like to do that in front of M, so I drove off. Ironically, part of me wants to applaud her. There are times when I've felt exactly like her, when you see cars without a permit, parked in a disabled spot. But, if I see the permit, I never feel like questioning any one's right to park in those spots.

Here's the thing.

You can't always see the disability.
  posted at 2:40 pm

At 4:16 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

And what an incredible way to say it:
You can't always see disability.
So simple, so straight forward,
and yet so complicated.

At 9:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen "the look" myself. When my very handsome, extremely happy stepson suddenly switches from the perfect child to a raging, screaming ball of fury, for no apparent reason in the middle of a store.

I fell for ya, I stopped trying to explain years ago. Now I just focus on leaving the building with a minimum of commotion.

At 9:52 pm, Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Aye, and there's the rub... so here's my question: was the woman in the car next to you also parked in a space reserved for those with disabilities?

At 11:31 pm, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Great post, and so very true. It's sad that some people are so quick to judge.

At 9:22 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, so very true.

Hi jerry, a kindred spirit. It just isn't possible to explain how helpless you feel at the time either. I'm just so glad the happier moments far outway these sadder moments, especially as M gets older.

Hi lydia, no she wasn't; I don't feel bad about her either, it's just I've had longer and more oppurtunity to think through the issue.

Hi kalyn, it is sad but good at the same time; that they feel these spots should be the sole preserve of those who need them.

At 12:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Neil.
Some days "the look" , or worse the comment, is easier to cope with than others.
I have thought about getting one of those permits but ... .

At 6:07 am, Blogger Gigi said...

I have to admit, I have been that woman and thrown that look when an apparently healthy person bounds out of a car parked in a handicapped space (although not if they have the permit; sheesh). It's a memorable phrase that; about not always being able to see the disability. Thanks for the check on my own self-righteousness.

At 12:22 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ann, My wife felt like you at first about those permits, but after she got one, she wouldn't be without it.

Hi gigi, I know I've done it in the past too, but like you, it was with best intentions.


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