Long-Standing Chicago Tradition

Since our first snowfall back in November, I've had this post a brewin'.

You see, there is this phenomenon in Chicago that has been going on for decades. I think it's now happening in other cities, but I would almost guarantee that it started here. It's affectionately called

If you look out your window, you'll see people early in the morning, digging around their car, and then pulling out, parking their car in the middle of the street, and going back to their lawn or garage or front stoop and gathering up their "item of choice" to put in the spot they just dug out. And they leave for eight or ten or twelve hours, and when they return, their spot is ready for them. No one has dared to take their spot. No one. It's this unwritten Chicago Code of Ethics. You just don't mess, no matter how desperate you are to find a spot to park your car. It's funny, there ain't much in the way of ethics going on in Chicago these days, [thanks to our pathetic governor] but on this count, people are upstanding, law-abiding citizens.

So since I always have my camera with me, I decided I would officially be on the hunt - all winter long - to find the best item used to save a spot.

After picking up Maddie from school today I thought, "Ahhh, today we begin the hunt." So off we went and this is what we found. [Excuse the camera - the cold air was doing funky stuff.]
You've got your classic "Cheap White Plastic Lawn Chair"

And then you've got your typical "Stack of Two or More Cheap White Plastic Lawn Chairs"

Oh, and of course, the "Standard Milk Crates." Can't leave home without those.
And this was one I've never before seen. A perfectly good "Swivel Office Chair."

And this was unique - a stick, an upside down pail, and a stack of bricks. I'm gonna need to go back and see this contraption in action.

Oh, and true to form, as I was snapping a picture of the eye-sore below, a man came out of his house and yelled at me. And this was our delightful conversation:

He said: "Hey, yous, whatch-you-doin?" in the most beautiful, in-your-face Chicago dialect you could possibly imagine.

I said: "Oh, I'm just taking a picture of that (as I pointed)." He gruffly said: "Why?"

So I said: "Because I think it's funny that Chicago folks do this."

And he gruffly said again, while flailing his cigarette in my general direction: "I don't think it's funny. I do the same thing if I have to dig out my spot!" [As he turned and pointed to his car for emphasis]

So at this point, with the kids in the back seat, I thought I'd better acquiesce so I simply said: "Oh, I agree. It's pretty smart to save your spot after you work to dig it out." I don't think he caught the cheekiness in my voice, but I smiled that sweet smile of mine and did the "Catcha later nod" and off we sped, leaving him behind, smiling and waving goodbye! It was as if we were long-lost cousins. That's called street-smarts, my friends!

So be on the lookout for the occasional post of our greatest sightings throughout the Chicago-land area.

Oh, and the thing that Jack and I find so very intriguing and mind-boggling about this whole "Save Your Spot" phenomenon, is that probably 98% of the people that are digging their cars out of the snow have perfectly great garages in the alley. Why, we ask, do they not clean out their garages and park their cars inside? And all the good people in the world said, "Hmmmm."

This to we ponder in the wee hours of the night.


Mae said…
I loved this post, especially since I've seen this in action a number of times.

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