I moved from the suburbs into downtown Seattle a couple years ago. I love living in the city core, but there is one thing I really miss about the suburbs — having a private garage. You never realize how important a garage is until you don’t have one. Not only is a garage a nice place to protect your vehicle, it’s also a great place to store all the things you need to keep your house functioning. I’m talking about things like cases of light bulbs, toilet paper, dish soap, etc. It’s also great to have an extra refrigerator or even a deep freezer out there. Knowing there’s a bunch of steaks in the freezer is a feeling I miss.
A garage can also be your temporary storage — kind of a staging area where you put things while you decide that to do with them. That keeps the rest of your home clear and allows you to make thoughtful decisions about what to keep or get rid off. Some people would argue it allows you to be indecisive, maybe even flirt with hoarding, but that’s another story.
The thing I miss most is having a place to permanently keep my tools, and work on my motorcycle. I now live in a big apartment building that has a communal garage. The garage is really just a big, dark, cold place to park. There aren’t very many power outlets available, and that makes things like running an air compressor or a battery charger quiet a challenge. Flat tires and dead batteries are significant problems, and I’ve spent considerable time and energy worrying about and dealing with both.
There was a time when Connie, my motorcycle, was my daily commuting vehicle. I put 20,000 miles on her in the first two years. Now, I go weeks, sometimes months, between rides. The times between rides causes Connie’s battery to die. When she won’t start, Connie turns from a beautiful motorcycle into a 700 lbs. problem. Right now I have that problem, and I need to address it in a meaningful way.
I’ve figured out the necessary battery charger and just ordered it from Amazon for $70. I’ve located a power outlet in the garage, and I’ve pushed Connie to within 30 yards of it. Now I need to get a long extension cord and a bag of zip ties. I’m planning to rout the heavy, orange extension cord through a series of overhead rafters, down a dark concrete wall and along the backside of a guardrail. I have to do it in such a way that most people won’t even notice it’s there, and those who do will hopefully leave it alone, because I’ll make it look like it is supposed to be there. The goal is to get power within a few feet of where Connie is parked, get her battery charged, and then figure out how often I’ll need to do it on a recurring schedule.
Once again, I’m wondering if all this effort is worth it. Maybe the time has come to sell Connie. That thought is both welcome and terrible in the same moment.