The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

Dibs Parking Spot Chairs

[photo courtesy of chicagonow.com]

I was traveling on the bus the other day, when I spotted two very (Canadian politeness coming next) ‘interesting’ looking chairs placed strategically where normally one would think a car would be located:  in a shoveled spot on a side-street.

Ah, “Dibs” I thought.  I’ve actually witnessed the prolific activity of calling, ‘dibs’.  And so, here it is, a post from last March with a rewind on this very bemusing activity.

Some of you may be familiar with the term, ‘dibs’; however, until I came to Chicago, I had never heard this word relative to the activity some Chicagoans partake in on snowy days.

‘Dibs’ is the action of taking an old chair, lawn chair, or some other noticeable apparatus to mark your newly shoveled parking spot.  Really.

How did this ‘dibby’ demonstration of temporary ownership of public spaces begin?  Ah, I thought you’d never ask.  Let’s go back to the superlative snowstorm of 1979.

1978 snow

[photo courtesy of chicagotribune.com]

Almost 90 inches of snow fell that winter.  After shoveling mammoth mounds of the white stuff, Chicagoans concluded that their efforts should be rewarded for the duration of the season; thus, chairs, et al. were placed in newly shoveled spots in a show of claimed territory.

Apparently the tradition has carried on to present day; however, it seems that even the slightest sniglet of snowfall will cause the broken, lop-sided, lousy looking chairs to rear their ugly heads yet again.

Dibs Parking Spot Lopsided chair

[photo courtesy of bing.com]

You might be wondering if ‘dibs’ is politically sanctioned? In the technical sense, no.  However, former Mayor Richard M. Daley was quoted as saying, “I tell people, if someone spends all that time digging their car out, do not drive in that spot.  This is Chicago.  Fair warning.”  Eek!!

[quote taken from chicago.straightdope.com]

Ah, but not to be outdone by the delightful ‘dibs’ faction, in 2011 an ‘anti-dibs’ campaign was founded by the marketing company, “Proximity Chicago” (yes, that is their name!)  The campaign, known as, “Chair-Free Chicago”, provided signs and fliers to individuals who wished to declare their neighborhoods as definite, “dibs-free” zones.

Dibs Parking Spot Tree Sign

[photo courtesy of chicago.straightdope.com]

Now here’s someone who is hoping that the divine will save their parking space:

Dibs Parking Spot Mary

[photo courtesy of chicagonow.com]

Here we have a Christmas ornament, the Virgin Mary misplaced from the manger to adorn a ‘dibs’ decree.  Oh my!

 Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your newly shoveled parking spot, your chair is gone! What, where did it go?  This past January, a Chicagoan thought he would cash in on the decades-long tradition of ‘dibs’:  didn’t he gather up hundreds of ‘dibbed’ chairs, and attempted to sell them on “Craigslist”!  For those of you who live in parts of the globe that do not have such a list, “Craigslist” is an online, enormous list of goods and services for sale.  I would call it a ‘free for all’ if it were in fact, free.  My play on words relates to the fact that “Craigslist” is filled with anything and everything one can possibly imagine, and is listed for sale.  Perhaps some things on “Craigslist” are free.  But not the ‘dibbed’ chairs!

The ad has since been removed, but here is what the ‘dib-destroyer’ declared:  “In driving around the Northside these past few days I’m seeing hundreds of chairs being abandoned on the streets. I’ve collected about 350 various chairs… I’m selling each chair for $5, regardless of condition or smell.”

[quote courtesy of chicago.cbslocal.com].

Dibs Parking Spot walker

[photo courtesy of bing.com]

Do you know the song, “MacArthur Park”?  There is a line that goes, “Someone left the cake out in the rain.” For whatever reason after finding this picture, I cannot help but hum to myself, “Someone left the walker out in the snow.”  Perhaps it is just funny to me.  Yes, I am sure that’s it.

If you find yourself in Chicago on a snowy side street somewhere, please do me a favor.  Watch out for seemingly misplaced objects set in snow.  Chances are they have been caught up in the game of claiming a snow-free spot.  And I call ‘dibs’ on that remark!

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33 thoughts on “Repost: Does ‘Dibs’ Do It?

  1. As someone formerly from Chicago, I don’t know whether to applaud the tenacity or be appalled at the seriousness some people commit to this.

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *LOL* I think both feelings are appropriate, Kimberly!! *grin* Cher xo

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  2. yeseventhistoowillpass says:

    Why would anyone want to sit in the snow? Chairs in the streets?

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *biggest grin* Cher xo

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  3. Sounds a perfectly fair system to me. I’d be all for hoarding my hard earned parking space. Chicago can’t claim “dibs” though. I remember it from my childhood. We’d shout “Dibs on . . . ” whatever we laid eyes on or thought of first – a good seat, the piece of cake with the most icing, going first at anything, the last chocolate in the box. Then came the argument!

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *LOL* I guess “Dibs” is much more popular than I thought! 😉 Cher xo

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      1. It’s not a term I’ve heard or uttered for a long time. Could be my age. Or the fact that I’m not in Chicago. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        I think if you were here in Chicago, you’d probably say, hey, I use to say that, but not for a parking spot! I’d put dibs on chocolate any day! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. John says:

    We called dibs on car seats or whatever else when we were kids. My eyes are watering from laughing at this whole thing, a walker? But the Virgin Mary is still cracking me up! Man, that’s just wrong dude! Realistically, these folks should be fined for doing this. I understand why they do it but…

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      I agree, John! When I wrote this post last year I was laughing literally out loud as I came across these ‘unique’ ‘dibs’ items! *LOL* I just got back from the supermarket, and sure enough, there was a dibs chair sitting rather audaciously on the street!! I am surprised about it all, to! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Poetsmith says:

    Yes.I remember this post, Cher… 🙂 We had a laugh over it! 😉 Have a great weekend and hope it’s not too cold there. Love, Iris

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Ah, bless! Thank you, dear Iris! I really appreciate the, ‘re-read’! I have the windows open a bit for some fresh air, and it’s the first time all winter I’ve been able to do this! I think it is about 5C right now! *biggest grin* Being a rather ‘hearty’ Canadian, I am okay with it! I hope you have a great weekend too, Iris!! Love, Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Poetsmith says:

        Thank you, Cher. 🙂 Keep well and warm!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. There have been many fights over parking spots…hehehe

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Hahaha! Have you ever seen a Virgin Mary statue protecting the pavement? That was a first for me! *LOL* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True! That was a first LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You NEVER mess with someone’s parking spot. I’ve lived here all my life and as Daley said…”You’ve been warned.” My cousin was furious because someone took her spot the day before yesterday. She drove around the block 3 times and luckily for the person who parked there, he or she was gone when she came around the 3rd time. She was angry for hours after that…LOL Dibs counts here, always have:) It doesn’t have to make sense, it’s just the way things are. It does look weird. If you’re farther out it’s not nearly so intense. We had a garage, but sometimes you couldn’t reach it, because the alleys weren’t plowed. Then you did the Dibs thing. 🙂 We had bungalows mixed in with apartment buildings and two-flats so the parking wasn’t that bad, but in the heart of the city it’s tough and so are the people who live there. I never saw Mary out there, doing her thing…that’s new, even for me. 🙂

    But today is like summer. OMG, isn’t it beautiful outside? Yay, melting snow and drips. I heard birds singing and that made me sooooo happy. It’s going to take a while before this is gone but what a great day:)

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      I hope my wonderful readers see your words, my dear! You are a true Chicagoan, and can explain ‘dibs’ much better than I can! It’s a tradition here, that’s for sure! Have you ever seen a walker for dibs? That one was rather interesting! *LOL* And what a day it is! I had the windows open for about an hour! The snow is melting, and soon dibs will be done for another season! *grin* Enjoy the day, my fellow Chicagoan! Cher xo

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  8. Yes, Cher, I remember your other “Dibs” post. It was funny then, but funnier today. Thanks for the update. It’s amazing that someone “lifted” the chairs and listed them on Craigslist? Will wonders never cease? Thanks for this post. Loved it.

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Hi dear Carol! Isn’t that something? Talk about nervy of that person!! *LOL* Thank you!!! Hugs, Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We rarely have enough snow to need to ‘dibs’ parking spaces, but woe betide anyone who parks in front of someone’s drive without permission….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Hi Veronica! *LOL* Good thing you don’t get a lot of snow! I think perhaps ‘dibs’ would be in play! *grin* Cher xo

      Like

  10. LadyPinkRose says:

    When I lived years ago in the city, “dibs” was taken very seriously in Buffalo. I remember times when I would come home from work at 4am in the morning, only wanting my bed, and some moron had parked in MY space on the street. I had to go down a block, sometimes two, in order to find a parking spot and in so doing, more then likely took someone else’s spot. It only takes ONE to mess everything up!! Great post, one I can honestly relate to.

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you for your comments, Amy! I am sure it was horrible coming home at such an hour only to find you had to take even more time just to park! I can see why you can relate to this post!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  11. RMW says:

    We don’t have snow here…. maybe the snow makes people more polite…. but I can’t imagine anybody in LA honoring dibs… when I put my bins in the street on recycling days, people move them on to my lawn so they can park there! Then I have to go out again and move them back on the street… maybe a small price to pay for not having to deal with the white stuff!

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  12. I only heard about this the other day from my daughter. It is much frowned on in her neighbourhood. My son-in-law solves the problem by clearing a whole length of parking space in his street, which seems very noble to me.

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Extremely noble indeed, Hilary. Very thoughtful and I am sure it is muchly appreciated by their neighbors! Cher xo

      Like

  13. Those of us from North Dakota can empathize with the plight of having to try to preserve your efforts. I wonder if this trick is moving east, what with all the record snows they received lately?

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      I lived in Winnipeg and am very familiar with Minot and Grand Forks, ND! Oh yes, the extreme efforts are well noted!! *grin* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Another fun and rather hilarious post, my friend! Laughed out loud at the wording of that ad! Thanks for the good cheer and chuckles this snowy (and I must say, thankfully chair-free) morning. 🙂 Hugs, Gina xo

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  15. laura kilty says:

    The Mary statue pic is HILARIOUS! Love this 😀

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    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *LOL* Thank you, Laura! Isn’t that funny? The snow is melting here, so ‘dibs’ will be ‘done’ for a while! 😉 Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

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