Ask ChicagoNow: What is the dibs rule in Chicago?

Ask ChicagoNow: What is the dibs rule in Chicago?

ChicagoNow is a group of bloggers from all sorts of different backgrounds. One thing that helps tie them all together? Chicago.

With so much collective experience with the city, we’ve decided to put that knowledge to use by posing some of the oldest and most popular questions about Chicago to the group.

What is the dibs rule in Chicago?

“Dibs is the re purposing of plastic lawn furniture during the winter months.” — Kim Cavill, Sex Positive Parent

“I don’t know how or where it started, but we had parking chairs in Pittsburgh too. I once saw a car with a chair through its windshield, so I always respect the parking chair.” — Kim Z. Dale, Listing Beyond Forty

“It’s the Chicago Way. My grandfather did it seemingly his whole life. It’s when you live around jerks who are too lazy to shovel for themselves and can’t even say thank you. I personally enjoy the news stories when people cover the other person’s totally in snow.” — Stephanie Esposito, Chicago Rucks

“Dibs is a mating display, wherein males create elaborate displays in the snow in order to attract female companions for the cold winter months. Curiously, the behavior has also been observed in females, particularly those attempting to discourage males from other unwanted mating rituals.” — Lea Grover, Becoming SuperMommy

“Dibs is a right of passage, passed down from one generation to the next. It used to be reserved for winter time, but I understand that since Chicago weather is so unpredictable, it is now a year round event. There are, however, no dib-free zones that I’m aware of.” — Carole Lago, Inside the Wrapper

“Dibs, is that time-honored or hated tradition of reserving a parking space during the winter snow. It’s kind of like pornography, everyone knows what it is but no one knows exactly how to define it.” — Michael Messinger, Mysteries of Life

“I’ve heard a few stories about people pouring water on cars that take their space and the water freezes into ice all over the car. Whatever happened to just being a nice neighbor?” — Howard Moore, I’ve Got The Hippy Shakes

“The presumed right to reserve the parking space in front of one’s house with chairs, buckets, or other assorted items because one has shoveled the snow to clear it. An unintended consequence is that the objects you use may be stolen. DIB may be an acronym for ‘Don’t invade, Bub!'” — Jerry Partacz, The Quark In The Road

“When I moved to Chicago, I’d only lived in Washington, DC and Jerusalem and had never seen anything like dibs. My first year here, I went around taking photos because I couldn’t get over seeing lawn chairs outside in weather I could barely tolerate for a minute. I thought the lawn furniture was out because Chicagoans were such hardy folks they were determined to lie out and get some sun no matter what, although the playpens and cribs worried me. I got it as soon as I had to dig out my first parking space. When I went to law school a few years later, I was still fascinated by dibs and wrote my final property paper on it. I never understood the law of perpetuities. I only passed that class because the professor gave me an ‘A’ in dibs.” — Teme Ring, Comedians Defying Gravity

“Dibs is absolutely necessary during a blizzard when you don’t have a garage. Without dibs, I wouldn’t have survived the Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011. I planned my last trip to Aldi to give me time to find a spot near my apartment in Albany Park and lucked out with a spot right in front of my building. Thank God! If dibs wasn’t the law of the land I would have gladly left my car there until the thaw and used public transportation in the meantime.” — Angela Soriano, less than perfect

“Dibs have been around since at least the 1970s. Originally there seemed to be an honor system involved. You only put the chairs out if you shoveled your car out of deep snow. I’ve since seen chairs, or whatever, come out with the first flurries. Once worked with a guy who volunteered proudly that he had slashed the tires of a car that violated his dibs.” — Floyd Sullivan, Waiting4Cubs

If you have a question about Chicago that you want answered, email it to mschwerha@tronc.com. Think you have the answer to the above question? Let us know in the comments below.

Lead image via Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune

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