Sunday, June 2, 2013

Garages

A basic definition of garage is "a shelter or repair shop for automotive vehicles." 

Donna and I have always enjoyed having a garage, and we've always used our garages as a place to shelter our automotive vehicles. I like having our vehicles securely stored to protect them against violent weather and from mischievous imps who roam the night. I also like being able to go from my vehicle to my house without getting wet during rainy weather or being exposed to the cold during winter. I guess I'm getting soft. In fact, when we were looking for a house recently, one of the features we felt most strongly about was to have a rear-entry garage. We think it gives a neighborhood a cleaner appearance.

I walk our neighborhood quite a bit, both on the streets and in the alleys. I try to do about 3 miles every other day or so. During my walks, I notice quite a bit. I'm surprised at the number of people who actually leave their garage doors up, even during the night (sometimes I walk before 6:00 AM).

I'm amazed at the number of people who do not use their garages as shelters for their vehicles. I find that many or our neighbors park their cars along the curb in front of their homes rather than use their garages. Some do so because modern families often have more than 2 cars -- 1 for Mom, 1 for Dad, and 1 or more for the children. 

But many park their cars in places other than their garage because there is no room in the garage. 

Many garages are just crammed full of boxes, old workout equipment, lawn care machinery, and all other types of odds and ends. Usually there is space enough for 1 car to fit inside, but no more. Sometimes the garage is neat and orderly, not crammed, but the space is used to store an ATV or other recreational toy. From time to time, the space is used as a workshop.

And what does this say about our culture? I think our concept of home has changed over the years. A home was once seen as an investment, and care was taken to maintain that investment. Things were stored appropriately, lawns were maintained, the house was maintained. Often today, when you see the home with a garage stuffed with boxes and other things, you'll probably see a house where the yard is not maintained and the house is not maintained. The value of a home has changed. 

It seems today that our emphasis, our value, is placed on interests outside the home. More and more families own boats, RVs, ATVs, and other "toys". Where once the American family spent weekends tending to their homes and yards, today they spend their time at lakes, on ATV tracks, or following other pursuits? 

I know that the older I get, the less time I'm willing to spend working around the house. I'll take an outing in an RV anytime over an afternoon mowing the grass. But to each his own.


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