Cancer: Blue badge fraud – and why I’m not committing it!

When you get an incurable cancer diagnosis, you can also get a blue badge*. Call it a perk of the job.

I’ve had mine since June and I’d say at least monthly someone asks me if I know I’m parked in a disabled space, or if they can inspect the badge, or asks me why I’m parked where I am. Given my nan has had her blue badge for a good 10 years and not once has anyone questioned her right to use it, monthly for 6 months seems a bit much.

I should probably start by saying I don’t think I’m abusing the system, I mean I use it, but my blue badge rarely comes out to park in actual disabled bays. I’ve not really found a supermarket car park so big it’s required – unless the car park is rammed and then, well, whats a lady to do? And I’ll confess, I’ve also used it Meadowhall once too – in my defence, it was manically busy AND hammering it down. But I do use it regularly when parking in paid parking bays in town. It gives me free parking which is super useful, especially on my reduced income, and it’s useful if you’re just nipping into a shop but have a quid for the parking meter or I’m in the jewellery studio.

But something I’ve noticed is that parking attendants and old people seem to think I’m cheating the system. That I shouldn’t be using it. That somehow I’ve got my hands on a badge through a back door, like the dodgy NUS cards we all had before we were allowed one, or those speakers we bought out the back of a van when we were at uni….. Trust me. I wish I had. If I could swap the blue badge out for my bloody health, I’d be all over it. But I can’t!

I’ve had old men quizzing me in the M&S food carpark about why I’m using a disabled bay. Old ladies getting out of their cars to make sure there IS a blue badge on the dashboard. Car park attendants walking slowly past my car checking my credentials. And then, then there are the traffic wardens. They love to make sure that I’m not committing blue badge fraud!

A couple of weeks ago, on christmas eve, on the way back from treatment, I stopped off at some local shops and threw the car in one of the in a street space outside them. See, I’m doing my bit, shopping local. I’d popped to get some beer (a couple of big hitting DIPA’s and some sours, if you’re interested!) when Jim called to ask me to go get some bits from the cheesemonger across the road.

I popped back to the car with the beer so I didn’t have to carry it far, then I jogged across the road for the cheese. When I say jogged, I mean I did that silly run you do when someone is letting you across in front of their car, not an actual jog, more like a strange start to a triple jump with a little shuffle at the end. I got some glorious cheese – one specifically for eating with a strong beer! The beer and cheese pairings were on point that night!

But when I got back to my car there was a parking attendant waiting for me, to check I’m eligible to use the blue badge. I’d seen him when I dropped off the beer, checking tickets, but didn’t think much of it. But there he stood, waiting for me, asking me questions, quite aggressively about my blue badge, wanting to know what right I’ve got to be using it – wanting to know what’s wrong with me!

I suppose I ought to be grateful I don’t look like I need the badge, but jeez, it’s getting old now, explaining that yes it’s mine, yes I’m entitled to park in this spot, and no, not all disabilities are visible dontyouknow!’ If it’s a particularly judgemental questioning, like the one on christams eve, I can’t be held responsible for dropping the ‘T’ word in there when I reply. I know it makes them uncomfortable, I can see it in their faces, but it makes me feel better!

It’s just another fun side effect of this world I’m inhabiting. Being quizzed about my eligibility to what small perks there are to my current situation. I guess all it means now is I’m going to have to perfect a kaiser soze limp (also, side note – am I allowed to reference him, I just don’t know)

*for those of you not in the UK, a blue badge is a parking pass that allows you to park in a disable space! Not to be confused with a blue peter badge – that is a whole different thing!

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