I can’t help it, I think this pun is priceless. Supporters of all that is good and right in the world will be happy to know that Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has read the Master’s proposal to stem the evil tide of dibsiness (that is, putting a chair on the street after a snowstorm to claim the parking spot you just shoveled out) and, knowing a first-class idea when he sees one, has written about it on his blog. Chair-Free Chicago, meanwhile, has organized a community clear-the-street demonstration project in Bridgeport, which is underway as I write. The Teeming Millions are invited to contribute thoughts and hopefully a little muscle of their own. More later.
My first, personal, Chicago blizzard was 1978-79.
My thought was, where did all those UGLY chairs come from? What else is lurking in Chicago basements?
So many people are just barely able to dig themselves out. I don’t blame them for claiming a space they worked so hard on, and just can’t risk having to shovel out another spot. Like my friend with the broken foot, for example. She was able to dig out her spot, barely, with much throbbing and needing to put it up the rest of the day. She dibbed her spot in Edgewater this morning to go to work. She just can’t risk having to shovel again. (not that she isn’t perfectly aware someone could still take it, but why not reduce the chance if possible?) She sure as hell isn’t going to help other people dig spots, too.
The community thing is a lovely idea, I just don’t see it happening in a densely populated street full of apartments like mine in Roger’s Park, or my old place in Lakeview. Parking in these neighborhoods is already difficult and people are often parked a block or more from their home. A street of houses, where there’s already a community watch or something in place, where neighbors might actually talk to each other more and actually park in front of their home most of the time, maybe.
Though I guess my opinion doesn’t really count as I don’t have a car - this is one of the many reasons why! So I don’t have a dog in this fight. I find it highly amusing.
It’s been a number of years since I’ve had to deal with dibs, but this is my take. “I shoveled it out, it’s mine.” I had neighbors (loosely termed, there) in the apartment building across the street who didn’t feel like shoveling out their driveway to put their car in the garage. Instead they threw my barricade onto the lawn and parked there. My response was to put all the snow back where I removed it and wet it down so it wouldn’t blow away.
And this is where the antidibs campaign can run into trouble. If a car takes your spot you know which car to take your vengeance on.
Your friend is an exception. Most of the people doing this are surely able-bodied males capable of not only shoveling spots, but packing in offending cars with snow/ice and worse.
Dibs is a great way to make your life a little easier and throw the world the finger at the same time. That has to appeal to a lot of people in a tense urban environment.
I wonder how the dibs tradition started in Chicago and Philadelphia. You don’t pull that shit in Buffalo. Snow clearing is seen as a community project where you help your neighbors; it’s not an every-man-for-himself affair.
Also, Buffalo has alternate side parking. The city essentially clears on-street parking spaces that will open up at 6:00 PM the following flip day. After the flip, the plows will then return to clear the rest of the street. Alternate side parking is one of the few things the city does right, IMHO.
I spent two hours shoveling my wife’s car out.
The guys across the street have been parking in the dug out space for two straight weeks. They didn’t dig out their side of the street, and because they parked there when the snow plow came by, the plow ended up dumping a ton of snow into our driveway, and our section of the street isn’t cleared out.
I feel for the anti-dibs campaign, but I know what I’d like to do with the neighbor’s car.
I park on a private lot in NYC, where my neighbor (two floors up) parked in the spot (that I lease, mind you–it’s not “first come, first serve”) which I shoveled myself out of, leaving me with no spot to park and nothing to do until he came down and moved his car, after security went to his apt. and knocked on his door. And he took his sweet time coming downstairs, too. And no apology.
We haven;t spoken since then, just glared at each other in the elevator. That was around 2003.
Huh? Two weeks? The blizzard was less than one week ago. I don’t get it.
I’d assume you were talking about some episode from the olden days, but you wrote this in the present tense.
And anti-dibs is a great way to way to enshrine laziness. Whether you see it as wrong or not, you are not doing work that someone else is doing.
I just don’t see how it’s mean for everyone to clear out their own space, rather than some people clearing it, and some people not.
And, anyways, antidibbers cause just as much upset by removing the barriers and forcing someone to do it twice, both your shoveling and theirs.
The dibs system is unsustainable, from a systems viewpoint. Street parking in a crowded neighborhood only works because not everyone is there at the same time. N cars share M spaces, where N > M. The fact that each car only uses a space some fraction F of the time means that only NxF spaces are needed, on average. As long as NxF < M, the system works. (I’m ignoring variabilities, time-dependencies, and autocorrelations here for simplicity’s sake, but the principle is the same.)
When some Dibster reserves a spot for his own round-the-clock usage, he throws the entire equation out of whack, thus spoiling things for everyone.
Don’t most people sleep at night? Usually they stop driving for that. Seems like there’s certain times of day where most cars are parked therefore they’d hit limit that way.
You’re assuming that antidibbers never shovel. On what are you basing that? If I shovel out my own spot and leave, even temporarily, my car has to go somewhere.
I just got this downright civilized message from my ward office - relevant excerpt below:
“…instead of creating a 'dibs” space, why not get together with your neighbors and organize a shoveling party to clear the whole block’s curbside parking? This will also help with the drainage when the snow and ice melts. "
The anti-Dibs folks are just another example of elitist snobs taking over this city. This is the city of big shoulders people!! If my big shoulders shovel out a parking spot, claim dibs, and you take that spot, my big shoulders will bring down a wrath upon your car the likes of which you’d never imagine.
Nah, people who take dibs are just jerks (except perhaps in extreme circumstances like this blizzard.) It’s embarrassing. The people of Buffalo (as mentioned up thread) have significantly bigger snowfalls than us, come from a similar working class background, and yet can act like civilized human beings, shovel their damned snow, and not resort to the crass dibs system.
I personally shoveled out three spaces in front of my house after the snowfall–no dibs --and left for several days. It was interesting to note on my block how many neighbors actually claimed dibs. I would say it was maybe 50%, so apparently, I’m not the only “elitist snob” in my neighborhood.
Like I said, I’m willing to grant a temporary exemption (2 days) for huge snowfalls like the one we just had. But when people start claiming dibs after a mere four inches or snow? Come on. It makes our neighborhoods look trashy.
I don’t drive so I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I will say that my neighborhood looks like crap right now with all the random junk used to call dibs. It looks like a garbage truck drove down the road throwing trash everywhere. The worst is the people who when they get the spot back just throw their chair onto the snow pile next to it.
I’m so glad I don’t live in a city full of self entitled people like that. If I did I’d end up driving over furniture constantly.
I think I ought to do a photo essay on the strange crap people put out to reserve their spot. Among the odder things I saw today: an upright vacuum cleaner and one of those red Ryder-type wagons. Saw some relatively decent looking barstools last night, that I was tempted to take…