I had a bit of synchronicity this week. Since I live in an apartment building, a few days ago I was bemoaning my lack of grungy indoor workspace. I planned to get out the shop manuals and learn me some two-stroke fixin’. But I’ve got no place to pull parts off and get greasy, no cement floor on which to perform sanding and painting. No storage for tools, either.
Unlike some of my friends in the Vespa Club, I can’t carry the Frankenstella upstairs to my apartment, in pieces or in its entirety. Those crazy kids just throw down a tarp and have at it, right in front of the television. I have new hardwood floors. And I’m not strong enough to carry cargo up three flights of stairs. Plus I could think of a dozen more reasons why I shouldn’t attempt tinkering with gasoline-fueled machinery indoors, white couch notwithstanding.
So I was coming up the stairs a couple of days ago and stopped to talk to my neighbor and pet his soaking wet Bichon. He asked if my gortex scooterskirt kept me dry and I told him “more or less.” Then he told me he was moving out at the end of the month.
“You know, my garage is going to be available,” he said. My eyes grew so wide they nearly popped out of my head. “How much do you pay for it?” I asked him. “I pay $60 a month since I’ve had it for five years, but he’s bumping it up to $100.” I groaned. So much for that idea. “But it will go really fast so you better tell him if you’re interested.”
He didn’t have to tell me it would go fast. Having a private garage in Capitol Hill is like having a private garden in Manhattan. People have been killed over less. His garage also included an off-street parking space in front of it, which easily doubled the value, and could be used to negotiate with car-driving friends who are pissed I live on Broadway.
But $100 a month? That would put my rent well over a thousand bucks, a figure outside my comfort zone. I growled. I slept on it. I played with my Excel spreadsheet. I growled some more. And then I decided to forget about it.
But I’m not good at letting something go. So I contacted my building manager and told him I really wanted the garage to store the Frankenstella but that I couldn’t swing $100 a month. I made him another offer that I could afford. He said, “Sure. I’ll drop the key by on Monday.”
I jumped up from my seat and danced around the office, limbs flailing. I have a garage! I have a garage! I never thought I’d get this excited about 150 square feet. But imagine the possibilities! I mean, a real garage! I can get grimy and grubby and store large shiny boxes of complicated tools! I can paint! And as suggested by Roger Tango, I can host a garage-warming party with Helmet Bucket Chili and a bed-sheet screening of Roman Holiday.
Then in June, when I get my new Vespa GTS, she can share the safe and cozy garage with the Frankenstella. There’s definitely room for two.
Maybe I’ll even lend a professional touch with a shop poster featuring a scantily-clad vixen straddling a Sito Plus. Yeeeeow.