Today I drove from Tampa to Wellington, Florida. Along the way I stopped at one of those great monuments to urinary relief and consumer excess: the Turnpike Rest Stop. It was raining, and as usual I was enjoying watching people act as if hydrochloric acid were falling from the sky. I put on my jacket and hat and sallied forth into the downpour, anxious to create a downpour of my own, when I witnessed an act so unbelievably asinine as to set me to thinking. A young, healthy man in a car with Virginia plates parked in the handicapped spot closest the doors, leapt out of his still running car, and ran inside; acting for all the world as if tiny razor blades were falling instead of raindrops. I stopped, making sure that my assumptions were founded, for there were no tags or stickers announcing his right to park there. This is a particular pet peeve of mine. And while visions of tire slashing, or paint-job keying played across the movie screen of my mind, I had an epiphany. RFID's.
Radio Frequency Identification tags are a boon to store security managers, and a bane to privacy advocates, but these innocuous little devices could finally bring down the massive horde of handicapped parking spot invaders. An RFID is a tiny device that, when put close to the proper transciever, emits radio signals containing whatever information is needed. In an ideal world, you could fill your shopping cart with RFID equipped groceries, walk through a special scanner tunnel, and have your amount tallied and deducted from your account without ever having to wait for a check-out person to call for a bag boy to find out how much your jar of Vasline and extra strength Trojans cost. And they can be very tiny. There is even talk of putting them in passports to speed up the customs process. (not a good idea, in my opinion, but that's a story for another day) So here's my proposal. All handicapped parking spaces would be equipped with a mechanism that tags any vehicle that parks there with an RFID that tells the time, date, and location of the parking event. Police officers would routinely scan vehicles to see if they had any of these tags on them. If they did, and they had not the right to use said space, voila! Ticket. Not quite as satisfying as doing major damage to the asshole's car, but justice would be served.
Marius the Semi-Drugged