Just back from the school run where I got dirty looks and glares for where I dropped my youngest off at primary school. As with most schools, drop off and pick up times at our schools are crazy and the school tries to minimize the insanity by designating certain doors for certain groups. We are fortunate to have a few drive-through routes at our primary school. The side is used for Kindergarten-2nd, with a sort of separate area for K and the front of the building is designated for preschool, preK, and handicapped & special needs as it is closer to walk to and has lots of handicapped parking. I've been given permission to use it since the girls began going to school there for preschool.
During my healthier times I use the side drop-off, otherwise I use the front, especially for the youngest who is a bit of a lollygagger and easily distracted. This way I can pull up and drop him off and am able to see him walk to the door and into the school a few feet away. It also saves me having to get out and walk him up. If I do need to walk him in, it saves me a lot of walking and exertion that is better spent elsewhere and often is pretty painful for me.
Today I was in the lane dropping Col off and there were more than a few other parents using it due to cold and snow who would normally use the side lane so it was congested and backed up, but this is pretty normal. As I sat waiting to be able to pull out I had two women (other moms) walk out of the building look at the congestion, talk to each other and then begin glaring at various people, myself included. I happened to be straight in the line of fire, and I really do understand their frustration, especially when you have little children or special needs children and value that lane. I know that what to some may seem a small convenience it can be a HUGE help to others and save some steps and energy.
What gets me is how judgemental others can be, so focused on their own needs that they fail to realize that even though others may not appear to have limitations they just might. Unless you see me walking, and sometimes even when you do, you'd not really know I have a disease. You wouldn't see that I am not a healthy, able person. I get a lot of looks like the ones today.
I generally try to not use shortcuts, as if to prove I am able and that I can do it. I end up wasting energy and pushing myself far beyond my limits and half the time, its because of those looks. I don't want to be seen as using something others may need more than me. But, I do need those things and I end up hurting myself by pushing too far. I use the handicapped stall in the bathroom, I use the shorter lane at the school, I park as closely as possibly at stores and its not because I don't care that others may need it. It's because I need it, even if I don't appear to.
I know it won't stop and I also know I've found myself doing the same to others and I'd like to kick myself for it. How many times have I sat in judgement of someone using the same things and feeling as if I had more of a right to it? How many times have I been frustrated with someone for appearing to be healthy and able and using things they "shouldn't." I am more attuned to it, but if even those of us who are not able do it how can we expect those without an understanding of our limitations to do any differently?