|Banks County Opinions...||
November 7, 2001
By Phillip Sartain
The Banks County News
November 7, 2001
I just cleaned out our garage for the 10th time in the last 10 years. And let's be honest here - it was just as useless an effort as the first nine times. The entire project was doomed to failure from the start and I did it anyway. Even worse, my efforts were so predictably futile that I think that I've already written this column several times before.
Come to think of it, I've already complained about our junky attic, our junky cellar, our junk room, our junk drawer, and the junk under the seat of my truck. So what's one more babbling piece about a junked-up garage?
First off, I want know what evil mind launched the idea of a separate little house to store your car in the first place? It's a nightmare that never ends, a perpetual cleaning and cluttering, cleaning and cluttering, cleaning and cluttering. For the record, we have pretty much mastered the cluttering part.
When my wife and I bought our house, it came with a garage. Having never had a garage, it was a mystical experience for me. People would ask, "How many bedrooms does it have?" I would look at them like I was in a trance and mutter, "It has a garage." They'd look at me for minute and then walk off to find my wife for the rest of the layout.
I got to park on my side of the garage exactly two weeks and six days before I lost control. In that short amount of time, my side of the garage was completely consumed by junk. I resisted for as long as I could, but I was fighting a fungus. Lydia lasted a little longer, hanging in there for a record six months.
After that, it was all we could do to stem the tide of junk from flowing out of the garage, down the driveway and into the street. The sole function of my annual cleaning is to prevent our yard from looking like a year-round yard sale. Even so, when I raise the door on the weekends, I still have to run people off that think we're open for business.
Finally, I decided to talk to a house counselor about the problem. He charged me two hundred bucks to tell me that the only way to break the curse was to convert the garage into a rec room.
"You're crazy," I told him. "I'm planning on using it again. Soon."
He laughed at me and then he looked at me sharply. "You're in denial."
"No, really," I said. "I'm going to clean it out and park a car in it."
"You pervert," he snarled at me. "When the rest of the neighborhood hears that, they'll run you out of town."
"But that's why I bought the house in the first place."
The counselor leaned toward me, "Listen pal, if you don't break free from the cycle now, you're going to have to get a license from the city to run a junk yard."
"But where will we park our cars?"
"Where they belong," he roared. "Outside."
I reeled in horror. "But they'll get wet and cold and everything."
The counselor held up his hands. "You people are all alike. Cars are not real. They don't have feelings, so stop treating them like the family pet."
As he talked, I began to feel a sense of relief. After all, he had all the credentials and his office was a converted three-car garage. So he knows his stuff. And he's written a self-help book on breaking the clutter/cleaning cycle of garage madness. I bought a bunch of extra copies to give away as gifts.
I'm going to read it myself when I get the chance. In the meantime, I'm keeping the books stored in the garage. But just until we get started on the construction project. When we finish, we'll store them in the new rec room with the rest of our junk.
Phillip Bond Sartain is a Gainesville attorney.
A tale of two taxes
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