I smashed into my own garage. The old garage, a regular target of tagging by the local gangs, was already unstable and had been jerryrigged with random support beams just to maintain structural integrity. While I only hit it driving at about two kilometers an hour, I knew that dent in the central support was going to bring trouble.
The situation took years before getting problematic but gradually the metal fatigue worsened. First, one of the doors springs just fell off and the door had to be wrenched open. Soon enough, that door, along with the second one, just snapped off their metal casings and had to be left shut or propped open.
It took a long while to find some one, in this case an expert framer, willing to take on a crooked garage. So, once corralled, he and I pushed off those thick steel doors right off their rollers and they landed with a bone-rattling crash. We leaned the doors up against a hastily reinforced fence in the hopes that the scrap metal guys would soon be by.
You see where I live if you leave a piece of scrap metal of any shape or size near the garbage some scavengers who drive up and down the back lane near garbage day in a beaten-up half-tonne will stop and grab it. They sell it to the scrap yard for money and you get rid of your unwieldables - it’s a win-win situation…usually.
This time, however, the doors sat idly for over a week, all the while testing the resolve of the fence’s reinforcements.
Then, a few days later, I arrived home to find my children and their friends at play in the back lane. There, right in the shadow of those enormous doors I watched their whizzing scooters, toddling tricycles and wobbling training wheels kicking up a racket and plumes of dust.
The time came for snacks and the children pulled their little vehicles into the shade of the newly re-framed garage and it’s light aluminum articulated door. We all devoured salty crackers and sweet grapes while the kids set their juice packs, still frozen hard as steel, in the sun to melt.
Then came the men with the truck. Sure enough, the truck was a beaten-to-shit half tonne. Two guys with oil-stained hats and work clothes caked in sweat and dirt jumped out and offered to take the doors.
Without questioning, I told them to take them and sell them for what they were worth, which they figured was about twenty bucks.
While they grabbed the doors with off-setting speed, setting the old door screws clanging onto the pavement, I asked them for the name of the scruffy brown and white mutt with his nose sticking out the passenger side window.
“Dookie” said the less feral of the two.
So the tongue-dangling animal was named after a Green Day album, or perhaps after the slang term for feces from which that album took its title. Either way Dookie looked harmless enough so I made some doggie-talk in his direction before the truck abruptly began backing up, it’s cargo unsecured.
I backed up, with an eye towards the safety of the litter behind me.
Next, I heard two terrific clangs of metal hitting metal, not unlike the sounds when my garage doors springs had finally snapped. Then a tremendous roar of the engine and the truck rocketed forward down the back lane.
I stepped out of the shade of the garage and saw a man wielding a crowbar they way Conan the Barbarian wields a broadsword. In a flurry of words he told me that these two men had just broken into his garage and stolen his father’s electrician’s copper wire. I realized my doors had just been for cover and ballast.
The man, stuck the crowbar into his belt loop, jumped into the car and tore off down the back lane after the heavily endowed thieves.
Not long after the Man with the Crowbar returned embarrassed by his inability to catch the thieves’ unlicensed truck and by his reckless actions. He offered an apology to my family and moved along, warning us to watch our backs because a gang of thieves and their dog were still on the loose.
So I ended up with a new door and an old problem.