Chicago Winter Chair Ritual On The Decline?
Winter-time in Chicago means many things to many people, but to all Chicagoans it means snow and chairs left in shoveled out parking spaces. Are these chairs left out for the casual passer-by to stop, rest and have a leisurely look around the neighborhood? No, but I do think it would be fun to play a block sized game of musical chairs, the passing traffic would add to the challenge. Maybe motorists could join in the game by pretending they are going to hit players with their cars, but I digress.
I have never understood the mentality of a person who places a chair in a public parking space, in order to save that public space as their own. Is the chair some sort of implied threat, “park in my space and I’ll hit you with this chair?” People who weren’t lucky enough to have a spare chair in their car, pocket or purse to stake an empty parking space were just out of luck. The chair-less were forced to drive the neighborhood streets, looking for a spot where someone left their space and forgot to move their chair back from the lawn to the street.
I have noticed considerably less chair-leavings this winter, and it disturbs me. I wonder what has happened to that Chicago Winter Parking Attitude of Self-Entitlement? It used to be that you would even see an occasional coffee table, saw horses and once in a blue moon an actual Lazy Boy. Though I think it is a meathead thing to do, I don’t remember hearing of any Chicago-based Meathead Purges of late. Could it have to do with Barack Obama being elected President? Are Chicagoans actually becoming egalitarians? What’s next? Total strangers looking each other in the eye and saying “hello” when passing each other on the street?
Though this winter tradition has always annoyed me, I would like to ask Chicagoans to participate in it for just one more year. I’m hoping to find six new (to me) dining room chairs by winters end, people! And those of you who are already participating in the Chair-Leaving Parking Program, do you think you could put out something a little better than those white Rubbermaid outdoor chairs? C’mon now! How am I supposed to put those in my dining room?