Winter Parking Creates Strong Emotions


Winter Parking Creates Strong Emotions

Kids don’t use the word “dibs” to lay their claim anymore. I don’t know what they say, so it’s possible they’ve said it to me and I just looked stupid, or mean. Maybe there’s an acronym or symbol they text to each other when they are feeling territorial. I’m an adult so I use my size and cunning to get the best seat in the house or choose the radio station/playlist. If throwing my weight around doesn’t work, an executive order will.

But “dibs” gets a lot of play in some Eastern cities where heavy snow days turn parking into a battle of man vs. nature and man vs. man. According to Minnesota Public Radio’s blog at, recent storms have stirred up a lot of animosity over parking spots.

The big storm on the East Coast has proven that once again. If the post-Armageddon demand for food doesn’t turn people into barbarians, the demand for a place to park will.

I though “barbarian” was a good description for competition for winter parking in these modern times. Cavemen resorted to brutality to meet their basic needs (food, water, shelter), but present-day city dwellers have a longer list of basic needs – parking is on it.

Threats of broken windows, nasty notes, calls to police and any number of aggressive tactics are wielded to reserve private parking spots on public property.

It’s amazing how far people will go to preserve what they think belongs to them (even when it doesn’t). Being human is about having a point of view and protecting that point of view at all costs. Being an adult is about recognizing that every other person in the whole world has a different point of view. Whether or not it’s possible to accommodate those billions of points of views, there is kindness, tolerance and common sense to help ease the burden of conflicting perspectives.

The guy who breaks his back digging out the parking spot thinks it’s his. The woman who comes home from work hungry and tired thinks she really needs it. The man who lives across the street from the spot doesn’t see why he can’t use it. The elderly woman who can’t shovel is sure her neighbors will understand if she parks there. The authorities insist it doesn’t belong to anyone and cannot legally be claimed for private personal use.

“Dibs” is a limited concept. It can be applied to the softest blanket in the house or the last piece of cake, but not to people, ideas, ownership of the ability to designate what is right and what is wrong, and not to parking.

I wish the snowed in folks of the Eastern states all kinds of good luck throughout the winter and and early Spring with plentiful parking. Happy New Year.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

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