For some time, I have been bending hubby's ear about these particular signs ("Parking For Customer With Child" and "Expectant Mothers") which are sprouting in public parking areas everywhere. I have been reluctant to express my opinion in writing. At the risk of sounding like a bitter, older person, envious of opportunities which were not afforded my generation, I shall share my thoughts now.
Sommerfeld's article makes many good points. Pregnancy is neither an illness, nor a handicap and should not be treated as either when it comes to parking lots. Courtesy seating on buses and subways is another matter entirely. I too would expect people on public transit to give up seats not only to expectant women but also to the elderly. That's how I was raised. Sommerfeld suggests that parking in specialized "customer with child" prime locations not only deprives parents and children of exercise, but also of a learning opportunity. As it is, children are chauffeured everywhere and fitness levels are steadily declining. I couldn't agree more.
Believe me, I've heard all the arguments. "What about the winter time, when they have strollers and there's snow?"
What about it? If the weather is too inclement, is it really necessary to bundle up the kids, go out and risk your children's lives by driving to stores and shopping malls? Do parents bring strollers into every locale with them? Are retail store parking lots not cleared of snow even sooner than our own roads and driveways?
I would like to ask those who feel the need for these signs, where are the parking spots for the elderly? Let's just say, those over 65 or 70 or 75 who wake up in the morning with aching, arthritic joints. With our aging population, the numbers who fall into this category are rapildy increasing. They don't necessarily qualify as handicapped and with all the megastores around nowadays, it's challenging enough for older people to comfortably negotiate these huge areas to make their purchases. Why should they also have to park further away and walk because of these spots which are reserved for the young and healthy? At least give them an equal opportunity to get one of the closer spots by removing these ridiculous signs.
This whole thing is folly. Studies have shown that the next generation is less healthy and will not live as long as ours. This coddling is part of the reason. What will happen to the youngsters produced by the current generation? Are they already being taught inactivity before they're born and having that message reinforced during their formative years?
That's just my commentary on Lorraine Sommerfeld's article which in my opinion is receiving far too much criticism.