Naturally, this story is wildly exaggerated. Well, maybe not that much. But if you have a garage and a dirtbike, you know the feeling–Rick Sieman.
I guess I knew something was not right the moment I walked in the door. After all, when your wife is cleaning the windows with your favorite sweatshirt, you know she’s upset.
After opening the ceremonial can of beer, I gave her a perfunctory peck on the cheek, only to have her stride over to the trash can and drop my sweatshirt in. I went into an instant state of shock.
“Is it possible that something is wrong, my dear?” I asked in my nicest voice, whilst clenching and unclenching my fists.
“You bet your JT socks something is wrong,” she angrily snapped back. “Take a look at my leg!”
Hmmm. Other than an S-shaped gash and several bruises, I could perceive nothing strange. Perhaps the merest hint of needing a shave, but…
She continued: “I went in that damn garage of yours to put some stuff in the washer, and nearly cut my leg off at the neck on some junk. There’s so much stuff in there, I cannot even walk through the garage without climbing over 15 bikes. Bikes, more bikes, gas cans, handlebars, frames and front ends, and more bikes. Not to mention filthy boots, toolboxes and bike stands. Super, I tell you, that garage is a mess.”
“A mess?” I exploded. “I just cleaned that thing not more than a month or so ago. Or was it two months? No matter. My garage is organized in such a fashion that the female mind cannot fathom it. And you are a female. Ergo, you cannot understand my garage. Now where’s my supper?”
“No supper for you until you make a path through that garage so I can reach the washer and dryer!” she snarled back.
At that moment, I began to regret the decision I had made some time ago. Mister Nice Guy, that’s what I was. Had to let her have a space in my garage. Give ‘em an inch, the saying goes. Well, the hell with that, I figured, I’ll just stand up for my rights. After all, it’s my garage and I run it like I want to.
“You can just keep your funky old supper,” I cleverly replied. “I’ll make a trip to the local burger thing and get something decent for a change.”
She smiled. “Like homemade pepperoni pizza, maybe?”
“Pepperoni pizza, huh? Well, maybe I could take just a little peek in there and move a few items out of your way. I mean, hell, what’s a husband for anyways, if he can’t help around the house now and then, eh?”
I flicked on the light switch and took a long, hard look. Gad, it was gruesome. I guess when you’re all caught up in working on bikes and stuff, you never really notice your surroundings. Being a highly organized sort, I figured the best method was to get all the bikes out of the garage into the driveway, then the reorganizing would take but a few moments. Let’s see. There were four test bikes, my 501, the 400, a project Yammie, a Kawasaki PigHorn project bike and pieces of bikes and things.
Shuffle, shuffle. Move, move. Grunt, groan.
It took about 10 minutes to get all of them out in the driveway, leaning against the truck. Much care was taken, so as not to scratch the finish. A glance around revealed that the area was still rather cluttered. If I could just get that damn washer and dryer out of the garage, there’d be no sweat keeping things in order. I mean, do you have any idea just how much room a pair of appliances take up? Almost as much as one bike, that’s how much.
A garage is important to most dirt riders. When someone comes over to visit, what is the most relaxing place to go and have a drink in? Right–the garage. The men head out to the garage and talk about bikes, and the women sit in the house and talk about those stupid men sitting out in the garage talking about bikes. It’s too bad they can’t get their thinking straight. We men would not object if they would come out to the garage and talk. In fact, it would be a welcome change from the more conventional “living room” syndrome.
Garages are so neat. If you spill a drink in a house, everyone goes all ga-ga and they rush to clean up the mess before it stains the carpet. If you spill a drink in the garage, you merely rub it in with your foot until you can’t see it anymore. Simple, neat and efficient. Same thing goes for smoking. In a house, everyone is always looking for an ashtray. Garage? The whole floor is an ashtray.
See? Now you’re beginning to get the picture. The garage is more than a place to keep bikes and tools. It’s a man’s haven from the restrictions of life that are imposed on him all during the day. It’s his place to act like he wants to act. Get as messy or as neat as you like, and who’s to say it’s wrong or right.
I walked around and surveyed the area. A little shiver went up my back. Was it the cold night air? I think not. It was merely the fond memories of all the good times I had had in the garage, flooding back all at one time. Damn near got misty-eyed.
I remembered that time Tom and I spent two whole nights and one full day straight through, trying to rebuild a 650 Triumph. Those pleasant days when the fluorescent lights were hung for the first time. We could actually see the walls. The dozen and one personal items that adorned the walls: Posters, pictures of nekkid wimmen. Charts showing conversion from metric to American, and charts showing just the opposite. A giant CZ sticker with several darts stuck in it. Ah yes. These were good things to surround oneself with. Big posters of races long since gone. Hey, there’s a good one… Barstow to Vegas 1971. An old Dirt Digger jumper hung on the wall.
I spent nearly an hour walking around, just looking at my garage, letting the memories of hundreds, nay, thousands of hours well spent permeate my being.
Then, right then and there, I made a decision, and strode manfully into the house.
The homemade pepperoni pizza lay there innocently on the stove. I picked it up, placed it on the floor, then climbed up on a chair and jumped off with vengeance in my eyes. It squished sickeningly under my shoes. She just looked and didn’t say a word. I then went out and cleaned the garage, feeling very good about it. It took a long time.
But a good time.