The season of the dreaded winter overnight parking ban is approaching. Yesterday’s snow reminded me of this. Starting December 1st, parking is prohibited from 3a.m. to 7 a.m. on over 100 hundred miles of city-designated streets until April 1st. It does not matter if there is snow or not. The city will tow your car. There are also 500 miles of streets that prohibit parking if there is two inches or more snow. If you park on these streets overnight, your car will be towed. Check for those signs, people, or trudge down to the pound to pay the piper twice, once for the ticket and then the tow. In the city of Chicago, it is all about the Kachingo$. City Hall does not care about streets or plowing. City Hall only cares about cold hard cash.
After a heavy snowfall, Dibs is holding a shoveled-out parking space by putting barricades in the street to claim the space. Dibs is a decades-old winter tradition in Chicago. Some people claim Dibs all winter long. Some do not wait for the heavy snow. They claim their parking space when there is little snow or even a threat of snow.
Some get creative to the point of setting out a dining table set with plates and silverware. There are plastic Christmas religious statues, inflatables, children’s plastic playhouses, nativity scenes, standing frozen pants, and other unique items. The usual things are milk crates, sawhorses, or lawn chairs, some with boards stretched across.
Technically, dibs are illegal. According to the municipal code, streets will not be obstructed with items including “crates, boxes, or hogsheads” (Barrels). Like many in Chicago, including our politicians, no one cares about laws. The only law in Chicago is the Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shall not get caught.”
Dibs is controversial. Dibs can lead people to damage cars, arguments, or even violence. Violent crimes committed over Dibs should not be a worry as our Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, will not prosecute crimes of mutual combat. Our lenient judges will probably throw the cases out if she approves charges.
Columnists and editorial boards have written pro, con, and humorous articles about the practice over the decades. Former mayors supported the tradition. Former Mayor Lori Lightfoot discouraged Dibs, though she understands it- whatever that means. We do not know what Mayor Brandon Johnson’s view on dibs is. I am sure it will be a nonsensical statement filled with terms like equity, snow justice, and other inanities.
How popular is Dibs? There are social media pages about the tradition. There is a Facebook page too, Chicago Dibs. Dibs is a form of tolerated subversiveness in Chicago. People take to the streets with their shovels and snow blowers to clear a parking space, then put up the barricades. They worked hard for it, risking the widow making heart-a-stroke. They earned it. That space is theirs. “Whose streets? Our streets.” Why should some lazy, low-life motherless mook, mameluke, or jamoke be entitled to reap the benefits of their hard work?
There is a Judge Dibs in Chicago. He is as wise beyond his years as the ancient Greek philosophers. He decides dibs cases based on the rules and the situation, the“Dibstitution.” Judge Dibs is tough but fair. He once named me the Lord High Chamberlain of Dibs. I would have preferred Lord High Executioner, but Illinois eliminated the death penalty. I was honored to have such a title bestowed on me. But I do not have the time to execute my duties. I have my own problems with people blocking my side driveway because Illinois issues driver’s licenses to blind people.
Some claim Dibs is uncivil. They believe people who toil should not reap the fruits of their labor. According to these apostates, we should be kind and understanding towards each other. A few go so far as to suggest people shovel out parking spaces for their neighbors or even the whole block. It is an act of kindness and a neighborly thing to do. Those people are Communists. There is one problem with this line of thinking if you call it that. Chicago, the “City of Neighborhoods,” does not have Mr. Roger’s neighborhood. I don’t know if they noticed, but Mr. Roger’s is dead.
Winter is coming. Snow is coming. Dibs is the natural order of things. Let there be peace on earth and Dibs in Chicago.
As Judge Dibs states:
Revere the Dibstitution.
And love thy neighbor, baby.
So let it be written. So let it be done.”