My town, Pittsburgh, dances to the beat of its own stadium organist.
For instance, the 'Burgh believes there's nothing odd about tucking french fries inside your sandwich-- and while you're add it, slap a little cole slaw in there, too.
It believes that anybody making a left turn has a God-given right to go first, nevermind those pesky traffic laws or that giant truck barreling down on you head-on.
It stands for helping stranded motorists just because it's the right thing to do. It believes in never-ending potential for Steelers Superbowl stardom even if half the players are in full-body casts.
And it believes that once you dig your parking space out, like astronauts on a moon landing, you are permitted to symbolically claim it as your own.
And this can only be done properly by putting a chair in it.
Now, these chairs may look like ordinary chairs, but the moment they step a leg outside, they gain magical properties. That chair instantly stakes your claim. It renders that chair unmovable by foreign entities under penalty of instant epidermal liquification or a good punch in the snoot.
For Snowapolooza 2010, however, I'm noticing some creative variations on the Pittsburgh Chair Law.
I myself have never taken advantage of the Chair Law until this year. But after spending an hour digging out the space in front of my house-- resulting in my need to buy stock in a name brand Ibuprofin manufacturing company-- I was friggin' well going to make sure that spot was waiting for me at the end of a hard day.
But alas! I had no moisture-resistant chair available to sacrifice to Mother Nature! So, in an irreverent twist on tradition, I went for the Tall Kelly Green Plastic Recycling Bin.
My next door neighbors, I noticed, have selected a Homebound Resident Toilet Chair as their snowtime statement-- an interesting spin on the usual chair motif.
I have spied Tailgating Cupholder Chairs... Reappropriated Dairy Milk Crates in Leaning Tower of Pisa-like formations... and my new favorite: a stack of colorful desk "inboxes," a rainbow of hope in a tundra of white endlessness.
Come spring, these items will once again return to their original functions. Back again to the home office, the den, the spot cradling the bottom of Great-Uncle Alfie.
Or perhaps they'll end up curbside on bulk trash day. Having served their purpose for one cold, crystalline season. Having enjoyed a few months elevated as the one object that guaranteed a small moment of reprieve, of ease, in the relentless winter struggle of Man Versus Street Parking.
Question of the day: Does your city have any odd unspoken rules visitors find confusing or funny?