Zero-Car Garage

On the gray and mottled cement of my garage floor, there is a thick layer of sawdust. A recent project required cutting several large holes in panels 3/4" thick, and I estimate I converted about five pounds of the original hundred-pound sheet of wood into powdery, orangish-tan dust. It was loud, and messy, and if you've got a use for eight 11" oak-laminated MDF discs, let me know.

Sawdust works well for cleaning up motor oil, you know. If you happen to spill a few drops during some maintenance operation on a car or motorcycle, or lawnmower, just sprinkle out a small pile of dust onto the pool, give it a few moments to absorb and then sweep up the whole mess. Tidy as you like.

I was thinking about getting an old BMW motorcycle - maybe a K75, or an R100 of some kind. That might be fun. They're very... machine-y, you know? Lots of precision-crafted little parts to take off and oil and put back on. Reservoirs to flush, troubles to shoot ... to tell you the truth I'm more excited about working on it than riding it. Call me strange.

I picture myself, though, there in my garage, figuring stuff out and making it work smoothly. There really aren't many experiences more satisfying. When something comes to life, from your own hands, and your own ingenuity ... gosh, you feel like you can do anything. It makes you forget all the times you tried and failed, or gave up, or opted to hire a pro in the first place.

That, I think, is the big appeal of The Garage. It's a place of invention ... of resurrection ... of confronting problems and consulting manuals and getting your hands dirty and Figuring Stuff Out. This summer alone my garage has seen two oil changes, the fabrication of casters for a drawing table, the sawing of PVC, the disassembly and reassembly of an outboard boat motor and the construction of a file-cabinet sized subwoofer. You just don't accomplish this stuff in a breakfast nook.

Garages are filthy, and they should be. There are arguments for the spotless garage, with its sealed flooring and finished walls and *trim*, for goodness' sake, but I'm not listening. A garage should have random racks of mysterious fasteners, their placements and applications known only to he who dwells there. It should have extension cords snaking from behind hulking cabinets, with electrical tape patching spots where the rubber's been nicked. It should have stains on the floor that will never come out - tattoos from adventures and experiences hosted by these four dusty walls.

And yes - it should probably have sawdust, covering everything - from the lawnmower to the T-square - cloaking the implements of your achievements in the remnants of jobs that came before.


Most of the time, garages hold cars. But sometimes, in very special instances, the cars get shoved out into the driveway, and the tools get hauled out of the cabinets, and the plans are scribbled on scraps of paper, and the safety goggles are lowered, and in those times, my friends, garages hold miracles.


Anonymous said...

our garage may or may not be harboring mice. I avoid it as much as is possible, just in case. Until last week, my neighbors' garage was harboring a skunk. They were avoiding it even more than I am avoiding mine, as you might imagine. He finally left in the middle of the night, without paying his bill. But that's skunks for ya... Still, I do appreciate the Handy Man Tips (re: sawdust)

xo! Wee

Anonymous said...

as for those 11" disc of wood. Jesso them and paint them, paint anything on them. It will be diffrent and maybe fun to paint in the round!

Anonymous said...

Are you just trying to make an excuse for your messy garage?