Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Common courtesy

When we lived in San Diego, reserved parking spots for pregnant women were pretty much everywhere. I was in awe and loved the idea that society was being considerate to the needs of these moms-to-be. When we moved back to Montreal in 2006 I couldn't help but notice the lack of these type of spots in comparison. But over the past 2 years they have started to pop up pretty much everywhere from the grocery store, to the mall and Toys R Us. Even Canadian Tire has a few! Some of them are specially designated for "Pregnant women or parents accompanied by young children." Being out and about with a 3 year old, a 1 year old and a ever growing pregnant belly, these parking spots have made life so much easier for me, and I am appreciative whenever I do manage to snag one for us.

I have noticed however the disturbing trend of single men parking in these spots, especially at the grocery store. I am there 3 times a week (once for grocery shopping and twice to go to the gym which is located inside the store) and so I have seen an amazing amount of men ignoring the sings completely, somehow feeling like they have a right to park there. It annoys me to no end to see a pregnant mother dragging her groceries to the far end of the parking lot in the rain just because some inconsiderate man decided that the rules don't apply to him.

I was at the end of my rope yesterday after seeing another single man pull out of a reserved spot when I arrived, so when another single man pulled in beside me as I was putting the kids into the car to leave I actually got up the nerve to say something. Now it's important to note that I am a pretty shy person when it comes to conversing with strangers and really do prefer to avoid confrontation as much as possible. But I had had enough at this point and decided to speak my mind. I went over to him as he was getting out and said "You know you're parked in a pregnant woman's spot right?" His response floored me. He said "What, just because you see that I'm brown you automatically think that I'm stupid?" I was shocked my this but still managed to get out: "No, I see that you are a man parked in a pregnant woman's parking spot and I automatically think you are incredibly rude!"

Obviously this man had issues that stemmed far beyond simply being inconsiderate and as I shook my head and went about buckling the kids in, he continued to spout on and on about how "people like me" are all the same, always assuming that "brown people" are idiots, etc etc. The whole thing was completely surreal to me. And then lo and behold, as I finally pulled out of my spot, who should pull into the spot across from mine? Yup, you guessed it, another single man. I flagged down an employee of the store who was gathering up some shopping carts and asked him if there was anything that could be done about the situation. He said I would have to take it up with the manager. Sheesh.

So now as I am contemplating writing a letter to the manager of the store, I can't help but wonder what has happened to the world we are living in. Were people always this rude? Did they always have this kind of sense of entitlement? Where did it come from? What would their own mothers think if they knew that their grown sons were behaving this way? I have always been one to give up my seat on the bus to an elderly person or hold the door open for the person coming out behind me. Am I in the minority now? Is common courtesy really dead? For my kids' sake, I sure hope not...