Originally published March 4, 2014 – Usually, Baltimore’s winters aren’t snowy enough for the serious, Chicago-style chair fights to break out. But with this year, it’s getting heated again.
You know what I’m talking about, right? The practice of shoveling out a parking spot, then putting a chair there all day so no one can take it while you’re gone. The pro-chair crowd argues that their hard work should be rewarded; by shoveling out that spot, they are essentially investing sweat equity in the property. And the anti-chair crowd says that they are selfish jerks.
This whole fight raises a lot of questions — for example, if you actually remove the chair in a shoveled-out spot, are you righting a wrong, or just doubling down on jerkiness? Are chairs put out to save spots fair game for, um, gathering? Should you write a passive aggressive note if someone steals your spot? If you don’t put a chair in the spot you shovel out, are you sure you’re not a Communist?
Honestly, I like the solution posited by Reddit poster N8CCRG the other day. S/he argued that everyone who’s able-bodied enough to dig out one spot might as well dig out a few. “This does lots of things. First it means that the spots are shoveled-out right because I don’t half-ass it. Second it means that nobody else can try to claim the spot for themselves. Third, it’s a chance to do something positive instead of negative. I know there are some who are too old or injured or have to work long hours who may not be able to do their own car,” s/he wrote.
Now that’s a novel idea – a little neighborliness and good will sounds a lot better than getting in a huge fight over a chair in a parking spot. (But still – don’t steal my spot.)