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Dibs in Chicago, it’s that time of year again

Dibs a comingWith Winter here and snowfall coming any day now, it’s never too early to start thinking about winter parking and that wonderful Chicago Tradition called “Dibs.”

Dibs, in case you didn’t know, 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.

Here’s something someone named Beeb wrote on Everyblock about Dibs:

I’m an old foggie who’s lived in Chicago all my life. Let me tell you about what “dibs” is supposed to be. First of all, when I was a kid, it only happened during big snowstorms of 8 inches or more. Second, the side streets were NEVER plowed in those days, and so the snow built up and built up and it was a skidding sliding mess with the tracks where cars drove two or three inches of thick glare ice. So cleaning out your space made sure you didn’t hit other parked cars. Third, the “dibs” was only good for about 3 days at most, until others had a chance to dig their own cars out, and more spaces were available. Fourth, there were fewer cars – one per family at most, and many families didn’t own cars, so crowding was not a problem.

But I guess the whole thing is getting out of hand. And it’s too bad, because it was a very neighborly practice that respected the labor it takes to do the work to clean out a space. But I guess when people think 3 inches of snow justifies saving the space, well, I can see how others who have to park get pissed.

So now I guess we’ll have to become real a-holes and get aldermen involved and be self righteous and antagonistic toward each other because we’re RIGHT. Please, let it go. To the people who try to save their space, you’re going to have to realize you can’t do it. They’ll make a law against it. And now the streets will be hard to park in. To the people taking the space, shovel a little yourself if you park on the block. I don’t know, Chicago is getting to be a jerky place to live.

Dibs has obviously come a long way since Beeb was a boy!

You could also define Dibs by the kind of Dibs-object you put in your Dibs-spot:

“A broom vs a broken chair vs your grandma’s really nice rocking chair; ie, would you be likely to move the broom and ignore the dibsing because they were crappy about saving their spot? At what point do you have to seriously consider that maybe the dibs-object is actually just trash?” — Thanks to my fellow ChicagoNow blogger Holly Lipschultz for this one.

I propose the following definitions:

  • Third Degree Dibs:  You shovel your spot, reserve it with crappy furniture but then you relinquished it once the snow has sufficiently melted.
  • Second Degree Dibs:  You shovel your spot, reserve it with crappy furniture but then you hold onto it even after the snow has sufficiently melted so that there isn’t any issue parking beyond the normal more cars than available street space ratio.
  • First Degree Dibs:  This is the worst.  You don’t shovel anything at all.  All you do is simply move your car and place an old broom and two broken chairs in its place to reserve the spot.
  • Dibs Slaughter:  you take someone’s spot that they vacated when they drove away by placing junky furniture in it’s place.

What do you think?  Is dibs dependent on what kind of dibs-object you put in your dibs-spot?   Are some forms of Dibs more despicable than others?  Please let us know what you think in the comments.


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