21 February 2010

City of Chicago wants your old lawn chairs

Looks like the city is looking for old lawn furniture. As of this weekend, Dibs is over until the next big flake fall. Not a surprise, considering that the last storm was over a week ago, but what most people fail to realize is that by this time there's enough stuff out there to fill a flea market. Anyone looking for an additional chair for their dining room table? Your old grill not up to snuff for the spring? Start driving around like the scrap metal guys the day before garbage pickup. If you don't snag it, the garbage trucks will, and if you thought it was funny when someone put there little girl's play kitchen out to save their spot, it may be even funnier watching them wrestling it away from the garbage man about to send it to the dump.

A snowstorm in Chicago brings out a sloppy mess of emotions for the people crammed together like they are. Everyone has stories of people coming together to help out someone who's car got stuck in the middle of an alley, or the one generous individual who decides to plow the sidewalk from corner to corner instead of just their place. Those usually are over a day or so after the snow stops falling. Think it's funny to slide into a spot that someone else spent an hour digging out? Expect to see some deflated tires the next day. It's not unheard of for people to pour buckets of water over a vehicle taking a space that wasn't 'earned' the day or morning before.

Possibly the most sarcastic response I've ever seen to the whole space saving process (I never heard anyone call it 'Dibs' when I was growing up. No one called it anything. If you weren't one of the lucky ones who lived in a building with it's own parking, you just called it 'parking'.) it would have been while watching the city crews clearing out all the side streets. There was a clean spot, surely worked on by it's claimer with love and patience, waiting for it's designated car to come back home. It wouldn't be there when they came back though. If you didn't know where the spot was you would never recognize it, because the two dining room chairs and the 2x4s that rested between them were covered by a good five feet of snow, placed happily by a laughing crew of city workers who must have forgotten that they had a truck waiting right there to haul the snow away.

That was a good ten years ago though when I witnessed that. I'm sure that would never happen these days.

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