2:3:19 Garage & Garbage

I say without fear of contradiction I am the only person in my immediate neighborhood using his garage for the intended purpose of sheltering an automobile. Elsewhere, I might see someone driving in and out of a garage, but it's the rare occurrence I notice because invariably they use an automatic door opener. I'm content to manually lift and lower my garage door.

garage

I'm sure if garaging cars was never the norm, lifting and lowering that door is why. Despite neglected use, the garage is a standard feature of single-family houses like mine. I see its primary use as storage and a place to park garden tools. As for the garage-owner's car(s), they're parked in driveways or on the street, and increasingly, in front of a neighbor's house (more about that later).

I garage my car religiously, a practice I owe in part to my apartment life in Santa Monica. While the equable climate there didn't generally motivate me to keep my car out of the elements, the ever-present salt air was more than enough motivation to garage.

I never took having a garage in Santa Monica for granted. For two reasons. As an apartment dweller, I paid extra rent for a scarce garage. And besides protecting my car from corrosive salt air, I also didn't have to join the battle for on-street parking, which in apartment-heavy Santa Monica was constant.

Another reason people in Portland don't use their garages is because their cars typically don't fit. My garage, which must go back to the 1920s, is not wide or deep. The cars I've owned each fit, but most cars would not.

Moreover, even when the garage is big enough, not everyone can negotiate driving a car into its tight confines. For different reasons. Once I saw an elderly neighbor return, I'd guess, from a weekly trip to the pharmacy. He then drove into the garage, and next I heard loud crashing sounds. I saw the grille of his car poking out the end of the garage. The garage was repaired, but I've never told the present occupants of that house the special history of their garage.

Families now have two, three, four cars or more; none are garaged; and most are on the street and they migrate.

The connection of garage and garbage? Like residents in most cities, Portlanders put out recycling and garbage carts weekly. The carts are mechanically picked up and emptied street-side To assure my usual spot for carts, I put out at least one of my carts up to two days in advance of pick-up. I must thwart that annoying neighbor/visitor's car from poaching my cart spot!

Image credit: dchousesmarts.com


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