Rupert Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rupert Howell

Prime parking spot adds expense to airport errand

It was bound to happen–just a matter of time.

I can’t stand to see able bodied people parking in handicap designated parking spaces. Even though I might not confront those able bodies verbally, I usually cast a wary eye in their direction, hoping they feel my wrath.

However when acting as a chauffeur for my mother or in-laws, all on the long side of being octogenarians with varying degrees of mobility, I occasionally occupy a convenient handicap spot even though my auto is not licensed or registered to do so.

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It offends my mother. I often drive a 22-year-old Mercedes sold to me by a friend for a song. His wife made him get rid of it because she was tired of mowing around it and I  took it off of his hands.

When I parked up close at the pharmacy to get mother’s medication she said, “You don’t have a handicap sticker, you can’t park here. You might get a ticket.”

I replied, “Momma, we’re in a Mercedes. They don’t give people in Mercedes tickets,” a reply that really aggravated her.

They do give people tickets in Chevy mini-vans.

Picking up my in-laws at the Memphis airport recently, I had to find a place to park as their flight experienced a slight delay. I found an entire row of parking places, handicap of course, very near the baggage claim of my in-laws.

I looked around to see if an official was nearby so that I could explain to them that I had elderly people with limited mobility coming, and ask if I could stand by until they arrived. But, there was no one around to explain this to.

I instructed my wife, Rita, to go inside and point her parents in my direction and fetch their bag while I loaded them up.

But then there was another short delay and the need for me to find the restroom.

I made a quick dash, (it seems like I was gone for only a couple of minutes, no more than five) and I came out, found my deplaned in-laws before crossing the street and finding a parking ticket on the windshield saying that I owed the City of Memphis $100.

Momma snickers when I mention it.