Posted by: Brad Nixon | August 16, 2010

Ward Cleaver, Parking Space Sneak

I was sitting in the car, parked outside the drugstore. The Counselor had dashed in to pick up something she needed. Normally I don’t play the chauffeur, but go in and poke around, too. The drugstore’s not quite as stimulating as the art store, but today I wanted to sit still for a few moments, freed from everything that calls out to get done on the weekend, and think about what I was going to post on the blog this week. It’s not as if I could expect the Wienermobile to pull into the lot or for some other spectacular bit of local color to appear (I mean, how often can something like that happen?), but maybe I would think of something.

I saw a familiar ’62 Fury pull into the handicapped spot next to the entrance of the store. By golly, it was Ward, Ward Cleaver. And darned if he didn’t hang a HANDICAPPED tag on his rear-view, get out and step lively into the drugstore!

Ward! A handicap space sneak! I couldn’t believe it. Now, I don’t really mind who uses the handicapped spots, because it’s not depriving me of a parking space, after all; but, really, they ARE for people with disabilities of one sort or another. It’s just not right.

The Counselor came out of the store right after Ward went in, and we drove off.

This morning, I did pull up to Ward at the intersection of Aviation and El Segundo, and waved to him. He had the window down.

I couldn’t resist tweaking him about the parking tag. I mean, forthright, do-the-right-thing Ward? Always counseling Wally and The Beav about being honest and respectful?

“Ward. I saw you at the drugstore yesterday in the handicapped spot. Everything okay?” I figured I had him.

“Ward smiled that worldly-wise, confident grin. “Oh, I was just picking up June’s Mom. She was having her blood pressure checked. Poor thing, she has to use a walker now and we have to drive her most places. She hates that.”

And then the light changed, and Ward drove off, leaving me, yet again in my life, pondering the danger of making assumptions about people.

Just picture me sitting next to The Beav in Ward’s study, getting another life lesson.


  1. “We Do Not See Things as They Are. We See Things as We Are.” — Chinese proverb.

    OK, maybe you deserve to be in Ward’s study on this one; and maybe you don’t.

    I for one am at least dubious when I see a young male aged 25-35 slide out of his shiny Corvette, BMW, or Porsche that he has neatly wisked into a handicapped parking space, said ultra-fast vehicle appropriately sporting the correct blue handicapped placard below his front mirror. He then easily bounces out of his car and dashes into the Starbuck’s, Office Depot, or whatever place not usually frequented by the aged or disabled.

    Such luxury-sport vehicles are not known to be particarly “disabled friendly” in their appointments and various expensive options. In fact, driving one of these cars requires a certain amount of presumed skill (tho’ the drivers seem to have more testosterone than brains). Not to mention the flexibility one needs just to exit or enter one of these low riding sport cars.

    Not to quarrel with Ward’s method, but I take a different approach when ferrying around my Octogenarian parents with their walkers. I could put their blue placard in my car when I take them around town, and pull into a reserved parking space. But I don’t.

    Instead, I pull up along side of the curb in front of the door of the place they want to enter. Then I (and sometimes my wife) get their walkers, help them exit the car and get them set up to start to walk toward their destination. I then go park in a regular, non-reserved space, dash back, and catch up to everyone. I repeat the process in reverse when it’s time to leave and return home. A car or two might have to go around mine while I do this. But I have yet to create either suffocating gridlock at a shopping center, or a major international incident.

    With my method, the handicapped parking space remains available for those who are not able to do what I can do. Or, it remains available for you self-absorbed alpha-males with your hot cars.


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