So last night I went out for a run, my first in over a year. Of course I have many excuses as to why I haven't been running: too hot recently, an injury, massive overtime at work before that, waiting for a new running leg to be made and fitted before that...sigh. Hard to believe that I was doing ten-mile runs just a couple of years ago. But I've been sitting a lot since then..and eating well, too. Now I'm out of fighting trim, to say the least. And with the possibility of a second Obama term on the horizon, I can't afford to be out of fighting trim because we may well end up fighting for our freedoms and very survival if he keeps getting his way.
So I ran. And it wasn't an easy run, or a particularly fast run. But at least I hit my target distance and finished my run without having to stop or slow to a walk. It's a start.
Then I went to 7-11 to get gas and some bottled water. I pull into the parking lot and park, and I notice a Mercedes SUV sitting in the store's only "handicapped" slot. Out of habit, I look to see it it has a handicapped tag or a placard on the mirror. It has neither. Now this is a pet peeve of mine, since I well remember when I needed that spot, and since I still know people who legitimately do need it. I'm still looking at it when I see it's lights flash as if someone just deactivated it's alarm. Sure enough, a large blonde woman walks out of the store, head glued to a cell phone. She's walking just fine.
I shouldn't say anything, but right then I'm tired, and I'm hot, and I'm still wearing my running foot--the one that's just a fiber and steel "J" where a foot and ankle would normally be. So I feel like saying something.
"Excuse me," I say. "I can't help but notice that you don't have a handicapped placard displayed."
"Hang on a minute," she says to whoever is on the phone. Then she turns to me. "I'm actually in the process of getting one right now," she says. "Do you want to see a note from my doctor?"
"No," I reply. "That's between you and your conscience. You know whether or not you're supposed to be parked there, taking the spot from anyone who really needs it." I walk on into the store.
Now about a minute later, she comes barging into the store, just about the time that I get to the check-out counter. "I'll have you know that I have a concrete ankle," she exclaims. I have to walk about a thousand steps a day and.." I raise my hand to cut her off. I'm not really interested in talking to her any more or giving her a soap box to get up on. "We're done," I tell her. "If you're supposed to park there, then you're fine. If you're not, that's on you."
But she's not going to let it go. "It's not your job to police the world," she says indignantly. Oh, so now I'm the bad guy for pointing out her bad behavior. Well maybe I will play a bit now.
"Actually it is my job. It's every citizen's job to say something when people do wrong."
"I have a condition!" she exclaimed loudly, drawing the attention of everyone in the store.
I just looked at her, standing there on two feet yelling at the one-legged guy about a "condition". "There ain't nothing wrong with you that a little diet and exercise won't cure," I said.
"WHAT?!" she yelled back. "What did you say?"
"I'm just saying that maybe if you dropped ten or seventy pounds, maybe you'd be able to walk the extra couple dozen feet from the regular parking spaces."
This elicited applause from a guy over by the beer cooler and a string of profanity from the woman.
"You kiss your momma with that mouth?" I asked.
She cursed me again, then stormed out. She even tried to slam the door, but the door had one of those self-closing mechanisms and it wouldn't slam.
The store manager behind the counter just looked at me. "I thought you weren't going to do that here any more," she said. (OK, this wasn't the first time. Or the second. but in my defense, it has been a while.) I just shrugged. What can I say? I gotta be me.