It’s already December, and that means winter.
Winter means snowstorms.
And snowstorms mean you’ll be digging your car out in the morning.
It’s a headache.
And, like every year, it’s the duty of every native river-ward resident to help educate our new hipster neighbors on parking etiquette during and after a blizzard.
It’s simple to us: You dig the spot, you keep the spot, and you stay mindful of the needs of others on the block. Many newbies, though, just can’t seem to catch on.
Don’t get frustrated, natives.
Be patient and remember that many of these fine folks often come from the suburbs where snow parking isn’t an issue, since their former neighborhoods were almost entirely made of driveways.
I still remember one of, what I call, our first “hipster winters.”
In fact, I saw my very first “New Fishtowner” in the winter of 2003, a time before art galleries began spontaneously materializing throughout the neighborhood. These early PBR Pilgrims, landing Plymouth Rockishly in Fishtown and Kensington, had a confused reaction to Philly snow-parking practices.
They seemed to wonder: “Why are these people dragging their trash cans into the street?”
As the years went by, I started to think that the hipsters had plenty of time to learn the ropes about snowstorm parking.
But no, not even close.
In the winter of 2009, at least one proceeded to walk around Fishtown leaving whiny notes explaining how the anonymous author was super-duper angry that we natives had the audacity to save the parking spaces we spent hours digging out by ourselves.
In posts online, some users even promised to walk through the neighborhood yanking spot-saving objects from the street.
But things changed last year, when Mother Nature dropped that mammoth snowball of death on Philly.
The native Fishtowners saw the incoming hipsters — usually such a gentle bunch, what with their liberal-arts degrees, charcoal paintings and lovably unkempt facial hair — go on the offensive.
I didn’t know it was possible to shovel snow so furiously while wearing such tight pants!
There were hipster dudes plowing through the winter sludge in the early-morning hours, just like the rest of us natives.
I half-expected them to hook up snow blowers to their Vespa scooters.
But soon the situation got ugly.
Now, I don’t mind if someone living on my street digs a spot in front of my house and then plops a recycling bin there to save the spot. But that year, problems started when some of these hipsters began saving two or three parking spots — then left their trash cans there for a week.
Worse still, some decided to put cans into the street days before the blizzard even hit.
This year, I’m surprised these guys didn’t start saving their own parking spots in October. If this keeps up, the natives will be forced to respond in kind, and pretty soon you won’t be able to drive down Thompson Street without slamming into a dozen trash cans.
So, we need to educate our new neighbors.
Here are some pointers for parking in the neighborhood when it snows:
• It’s OK to save a parking spot in front of someone else’s house, but be reasonable. After a day or two, look for another space and let your neighbor claim the spot.
• Sometimes you’re just out of luck and have to park a few blocks away from your house. You’re a big boy, you could use the walk.
• If you must leave an angry note on a windshield, put your name on it. Nobody likes anonymous rage. And if you’re that angry about the car that belongs to the guy next door, why not approach him like an adult?
• When you’re respectful of your neighbors’ needs, they’re more likely to help dig your car out when you need a hand — all your neighbors, even that scary guy with the tattoos on his forearms.
• And finally, skinny jeans just aren’t good for shoveling. They’re probably not good for anything, but they’re definitely not good for shoveling.
Everybody get that? OK, let’s not mess up a traditional Philly practice by busting up our neighbors’ groove every time we hear a forecast for some flurries just because we’re over-eager to find a place to park.
The aggravation isn’t worth it. ••
Riverward Rants reflects the opinions of Joe Quigley, a Fishtown resident, area native and writer of the Web site PhillyNeighbor.com, where he makes cynical (and uncensored) comments about life in the riverwards. He can be reached at JQuig1984@gmail.com.