Handicap spaces: half taken by the handicapped, half taken by bitches

So I'm at Costco, getting tires put on my car. Earlier that morning, I was heading out the door to go to Firestone, where I usually go, when The Boss told me that I should go to Costco. And no, I don't mean that Bruce Springsteen took time out from saving the country from George W. Bush to offer me car-care tips. I mean THE BOSS, that nice lady who has those credit card things that are apparently as good as real money.

I was something like 82nd in line, and it would be at least a couple hours. I'd had the foresight to bring along a big soda and a book, so I was good to go. Or good to stay, as it were. The only problem was, they don't have a waiting room, like at Firestone, where they have lots of magazines about tractors and fashion and a TV set that only gets Channel 13.

If you're going to wait at the Costco automotive place, your options are severely limited. All they have are a couple of chairs right behind where customers stand. One can't get much reading done in that situation, because it seems that two out of every three people who show up do so just to argue.

Guys will show up and say stuff like, "I bought this part one place and this one at another place and my Uncle Earl took this off a '73 Chevy. I want you to put all of 'em on my truck and not charge me nothin'."

While I was there that day, one guy actually said, "You guys installed this, but then I (improperly) altered it, and now it doesn't work right, so you have to put a new one on for free."

His argument boiled down to the fact that they hadn't warned him strenuously enough not to do anything stupid. It's like the guy behind the counter needs to have a degree in YouFreakin'MoronOlogy in order to deal with these people.

Plus, the way the thing is set up, if you're sitting in one of those chairs, you're probably going to find yourself at eye-level with a steady stream of butts all day. And it's a pretty fair bet that the women in the OutKast videos hardly ever go in there to get stuff done on their cars.

The only other option is to sit outside. Since the bench is almost in the shade, I sat there. I figured at least nobody was going to sit next to me.

Sitting on that bench, one has a view of 10 or so parking spaces for the main store that are reserved for the handicapped. I was reading my book about how the Israeli Air Force took out Saddam Hussein's nuclear facilities back in the '80s and wondering what it would be like to have a government that only sent the military into action when it was absolutely necessary, when something caught my eye: Some 20-something guy had pulled into one of the handicapped spaces, jumped out of the car and literally run into Costco.

The car did have a handicapped plate on it; when he came out of the store, I asked him about it. He shrugged and said, "It's my dad's car, and I was only going to be in there for a few minutes," like either one of those things made it OK.

I said, "So, you're not handicapped. You're just a bitch."

He looked at me for a second--sizing up the fact that he was younger than I and in better shape--but then it must have dawned on him that he was, indeed, a bitch, because he jumped into the car, then flipped me off as he sped away.

For the next two hours, I watched those handicapped parking spaces and noticed that almost half of the people who park there aren't handicapped in any visible way, though a lot of them have those blue permits that hang from the rearview mirror. Do they give those things out in cereal boxes?

I asked one guy why he had the permit, and he said (and I quote), "I hurt my arm at work."

"Does that mean you can't walk a reasonable distance from your car to the store?" I asked. "What, are you afraid that your bad arm will cause you to veer off in the wrong direction?"

Those spots are for people who have trouble getting from their vehicles to the store and back, but instead are being taken by jerks, slackers and UCLA football players.

The girls on my basketball team always do community service. Last year, it was graffiti removal in the neighborhood around the school; the year before that, it was food drives during the holidays. This year, I'll have the girls patrol parking lots and apply specially made bumper stickers that read, "The person who parked this car in a handicapped spot obviously isn't and therefore deserves your scorn."

But that's probably too much for a bumper sticker, so we'll just shorten it to "NOT HANDICAPPED--JUST A BITCH."

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