I Got Dibs!!!

The law says you can't put crap in a parking spot that you don't own in order to reserve it for yourself. Well, it doesn't say exactly that, but it does say that you can't keep your personal property on a public way. Technically, claiming dibs on a public parking spot is illegal.

But the law doesn't rule dibs. The people rule dibs. The city looks the other way and leaves residents to figure it out among themselves. The mayor has supported dibs in the past, and most of the current mayoral candidates say they're for it. Or at least they're not going to say anything against it. You'd think we were discussing abortion or gay marriage.

So the tradition continues. Those who are pro-dibs will keep their junk on the street - strollers, fish tanks, wheelchairs, large containers of cat litter. Those who are anti-dibs will keep complaining. Some brave souls will move someone's chairs, park there and risk the consequences. My favorite is a Chicago cop who clears chairs from the street when she's off duty ... not to uphold the law but to do what she thinks is right. She doesn't need the spots; she does it on principle, especially on those days when people claim dibs after only two inches of snow.

What I'm wondering, now that we're past the storm, is how long dibs will be tolerated. Regardless of whether you're for it or against it, there has to be a limit. Since the law doesn't seem to matter, what's the etiquette?



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  • It's been a week; now that the snow is melting, it's over. But I still see tons of chairs. Dibs is human nature, and we would do it throughout the year if we could. The fact that it snows gives us an excuse to give in to our primordial urges.

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