Sunday, August 16, 2009

THE Garage

One of my favorite forums on the web...The Garage Journal...had a thread posted up a few years back that really grabbed me. First...some back story...

Most friends and family members know that I'm a bit of a pack rat. One of the reasons that I think people become pack rats, is that they just hate to waste stuff. I HATE waste. I believe that there's value in almost everything for an as yet unidentified project. Every screw, washer, board and tool.

I think I got the gene from my grandfather (on my mother's side), who could fix just about anything, and make just about everything else he needed out of the old parts from the few things he could not fix. He was an engineer with the Naval Research Lab back in the day, so I guess for him it was only natural extension of his profession, that he'd sit in his basement surrounded with boxes and jars of useful bits and geegaws, and tinker with short-wave radios and such. After he passed away I can remember that one of the things that I enjoyed the most about visiting my grandmother, was rummaging in his desk in the basement. To a 10 years old, that desk was a treasure chest, and I was in heaven when I'd sink my arms elbow deep in the drawers and sneak away with all sorts of weird little gizmos and contraptions...many of which I still have and use.

I often think about my grandfather and wonder how our lives would have been different were he to have lived a bit longer, or were I to mature a bit faster, and be able to appreciate him more than I did as a kid.

Today, I have a driving need to get away from people and sit with my tools and projects and just be alone in the quiet, and I imagine that he felt that way to. My father has a good bit of that in him, also being an odd and private man who spent many hours alone elbow deep in his own garages and projects. The Endless Tinkerer Disease...I guess it was unavoidable that I'd get hit with it... especially as it missed my brother entirely!

Back to the Garage Journal reference earlier. There's a member on the board there, (I won't tell you his name'll have to register with the board for that), who posted some pictures of his projects and his shop space, and I just can't get enough of the place. Looking at these pictures is like getting a shot of motivation in the arm to get to work on my many long-running projects. I imagine myself painting my bicycles, or refurbishing some old stereo equipment, or otherwise up to my elbows "in my grandfathers desk drawers" all over again.

I just love how this place makes me feel.

I could rattle around in a place like that until the end of time.


Steve said...

I love this entry, for obvious reasons!

I used to like prowling around in the basement, too, but mostly to rescue grandmother's forgotten Roseville vases and stuff like that. It's a good thing you and I were after such different loot -- it probably prevented a lot of fights!

I definitely do not have the tinkerer's gene, so I agree -- you got a double dose. (Although I used to buy and clean up all that mid-century stuff from Goodwill, and that's tinkering of a sort, right?)

I might have to write a post of my own about this! LOL

Paul said...

That is a cool place. If I could get motivated to start 1/4 of the projects I have planned I would be busy for years.