Dibs on Chicago’s snowy streets: Rude but here to stay
To some of you, this will be an all too familiar story. To the rest of you, this will be a look into the life of a Chicago resident. We’ve all been dealing with the inches upon inches of snow, city, and suburbs alike, for weeks.
It was about two weeks ago when I decided I was completely over the winter season. Once a week or so, I don’t get home until late due to school or work. It was well after 7, when parking is at a premium, that I pulled up to my block and started looking for space. I drove down my street, thinking “well there are two spots but they are both marked with buckets. Do I want to tempt moving these? No.” I can be somewhat of a non-confrontational chicken so the thought of angering someone was not something I was interested in doing.
I continued to drive my normal route hopeful that karma, good luck or some other form of fortune would help me out. I then decided to widen the search to a five-block radius. Nothing was available. Granted there were plenty of spaces marked “dibs” with sawhorses, ironing boards, dining room chairs, table trays, laundry baskets full of snow, laundry baskets full of bricks (seriously!?), and of course the most common, buckets full of snow.
After an hour and a half, yes that is 1.5 hours, I gave up. Sometimes at this point, it comes to me crashing on someone’s couch or I choose to risk a parking ticket by blocking a portion of a crosswalk. You can never have enough bright orange envelopes lying around!
I found a spot about a block from my house that was being saved by three large orange home depot buckets. They were all tied together and slightly off to the side. I decided to take the space. Many of you may frown on me, but it had to be done.
After getting out of my car, a woman who parked directly in front of my car approached me. She had just finished putting her own small white space saving buckets in her trunk. Apparently, she also had dibs on the space I “stole.” She basically threatened me for taking a “saved” space. I was told, “you will have flat tires, that spot was saved.” At first, I took it as an empty threat, all bark no bite. However, after a few hours, I returned to my car. I found bright orange buckets on top of my hood. I can only speculate, in my slightly paranoid (okay super paranoid) mind, what the reasoning could be for leaving buckets on my car.
Here’s the deal. I get it. I really do. It absolutely sucks to spend four hours digging out your car only to return nine hours later, after working all day, to find no parking. It is seriously frustrating. I know because I have sung the same sad song. I have done this multiple times over the last three months and last three winter seasons. Ask my Facebook friends- I have inundated them with pictures and statuses venting about the trials and tribulations of the snow and parking in residential Chicago. Sorry friends and family! Even I, yes, I hate to admit it, have been tempted to put “dibs” on a space.
Residential parking in Chicago only works, well sort of works, because of the rotation. There are people visiting late at night, sometimes overnight. People go out at night. People who work different hours of the day. There’s never a time when all neighbors are home at the same moment. We all rotate/share the public spaces. If you call “dibs” you remove the ability for that space to be used for 8-12 hours while you’re at work.
Yes- parking will be harder for you to find when you get home. Yes- you spent four hours shoveling that space and it feels unfair to share it. Yes- you may end up parking three blocks from your apartment.
Guess what? So do I. So does your elderly neighbor. So does the single mom with three kids. Everyone in the Chicago residential neighborhoods is in the same boat. Do you want to save your space after shoveling it out? Pay for one. Otherwise, you don’t own that space, you shouldn’t (but you will) save it.
Bottom line- While Chicago is now starting to collect these “dibs” items and trashing them, these entitled individuals are never going to go away. If you practice “dibs”, I highly suggest renting a spot or dealing with finding a space each day like everyone else.
Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam-free, and you can opt out at any time.