Inches and Dibs in Chicago

Let us first acknowledge the correctness of my Sunday prediction. I’m not talking Super Bowl. This is about snow.

The Chicago media told us to expect 16 inches before the snowfall ended overnight. I said more. Okay, so I wasn’t very specific. Kind of like a Price is Right contestant who wins by guessing one penny more than the last guy. Nevertheless.

sign

Officially, it was Chicago’s fifth-largest snow blizzard at 19.3 inches (we want credit for every fraction of an inch we conquer … or succumb to).

I say the blizzard “was,” but what it dropped on us is still here. And we’ve received a couple inches more since. On the other side of my windshield, pictured below, is the real “incremental weather.”

windshield

In Chicago, these are perfect circumstances for dibs. Pulled from a basement, garbage pile or right from the dining room if one is desperate, dibs can be anything a driver thinks will keep others from parking in the street spot he or she cleared of snow. I’ve seen little riding toys, buckets, buggies, strollers and empty water cooler jugs. My favorite set-up this week was a crutch stretched out as close to horizontal as it could be and held up on one end by an upholstered piano bench.

Dibs

The most common dibs are chairs — cheap plastic patio chairs available at the grocery store, folding soccer chairs, fancy dining room chairs. kiddie chairs, broken chairs and bar stools. Chair dibs are often made more formidable in pairs or with a leaning board.

Chair dibs

The configurations are almost endless.

How do people feel about the street-side clutter throughout the city? In a democratic mayoral debate this week, the four candidates were asked for their positions on dibs. Should they be allowed? It was hard to tell if any one of them was coming out against them. “Dibs are part of Chicago culture,” admitted one candidate.

To my ears, the strongest declaration came from current Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who believes in “sweat equity” and said, “You shovel it, you own it.”

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