In Praise of the Garage
By J. Smith
It comes back to life in the spring. Its rebirth occurs along with the beasts and blossoms, emerging from a long winter nap of storage and neglect.
Gasoline and used motor oil waft from shadowed corners, tiptoe into my nostrils and twirl in an olfactory dance. Cat litter scattered to and fro, haphazardly tossed wherever dark spots mar the concrete. Tools, some hanging on pegboard, others lying where put to rest on the workbench, adorn careworn surfaces. A car or two or three in repose, recovering from the worries of the road, in dignified decomposition. Metallic clinking and clinking and curses variously heard, the sound waves refracting between canyons formed of beer bottles, stacks of parts and repair manuals.
The whir of the drill and the agony cry of the metal through which it bores pierce the air as silver shards dart from the spinning bit. The clash of the grinder, sharpening and shaping in the glimmer of a downpour of sparks, rises above the tumult. The sweltering breath of June, July, August smothers, the four walls groaning in solar agony, as I lay in crushed bits of clay, blackened water of the rock dripping to a syncopated beat on my sweat laden forehead.
Place the jack stands a little to the right. Rotate the tires, torque the lugs. A thin, evenly applied layer seals the gasket. Top the SUs with 20 weight. Pull the plugs, check the gap. Adjust the tappets. And where’s the damn Haynes Manual?
Dawn melts into afternoon melts into evening. A brown ale or a crisp lager serves as the day’s reward.
And so ends another summer Saturday. And the next.
But each morning finds the sun rising minutes later. Setting minutes earlier. Dew turns to frost. Trees of green burst into autumnal flame and fade to brown, piling here and there. Ice and snow return. The tools lie idle. The car rests. And waits. And I silently sing praises to the cement pad, girded by wood and metal and glass and plastic and wait for the spring.
Then we’ll begin again.
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