I'm not excited by trips to large shopping centres at the best of times. There's too much background noise, and I can't clearly hear what people are saying to me.
The absolute worst time of year to go to a major shopping centre is December and January. To start with, this is the worst of summer here in sunny Queensland - summer heat means I get tired far more than usual Then the December pre-Christmas sales, then the Boxing Day sales, then there's the January sales which just run on from Boxing Day, along with the school holiday crowds, means the carparks are always full.
I have been tired and sore from the heat, just about too exhausted to even think about what I've faced the trauma of a shopping centre to buy anyway, and had to drive around the carpark for 30 minutes, looking for somewhere to park
At these times, I've looked at the empty "disabled" parking spots with a kind of avarice I think I rarely have over anything.
I, along with many other people who have chronic illnesses that involve severe pain and fatigue, do not qualify for "disabled" parking.
I checked the Queensland Transport website. To get the magic tag that makes those spots legally accessible, one must need assistance with mobility. So, people with wheelchairs, walking sticks, and walking frames get the spots. And I don't begrudge them those, they need it.
But people with Lupus, people with MS that hasn't progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair yet, people with some cancers, etc, who suffer from fatigue and pain, but aren't attached to any hardware, don't get the permit.
Most of the time it doesn't worry me. Most of the time, I wouldn't use the permit if I had it. But sometimes, on those incredibly hot days, when I can't walk five metres without falling into exhaustion, when I need to buy something so desperately that I absolutely must go to a shopping centre - God help me, I covet a disabled parking permit!