I Am The 1%!


Yes indeed!  I am tired of trying to hide under a cloak of averageness, and am ready to burst forth into full public view while proclaiming that I am one of the few, the 1%.

Yes, the hated 1%.  One of the people everyone looks upon with jealousy.  One of the people that all of you make fun of, but I know the truth – you wish you were like me.

Wait – did you think I was talking about the top 1% of wealth?  No no no, I am far away from that exclusive club.  I am, however, among the 1% who has lived the lifestyle of parking two cars in a two car garage.

I was not raised this way.  Although I grew up in homes with two car garages, very seldom do I remember them being inhabited by two actual cars.  The rule seems to have been that one car lived indoors while the rest of that space was taken up with . . . well I’m not sure.

There were lawnmowers, garden tools, bicycles, and even firewood.  The first winter that teenage me owned a car we squeezed it into the garage, but that luxurious lifestyle did not last long.  The death of my grandma (and the accumulation of some of the contents of her house and garage) filled up that space and that was the end of that.

But fast forward a few years and I became a homeowner myself – a small 1920’s bungalow on a forty foot wide lot.  A narrow driveway ran from the street and up past the house to a two car wood frame garage – that sat sideways.

As one who has always been into cars, I had two of them when I bought the place.  An everyday car and a cheap old beater pickup truck.  Because I was just moving in, there was room for both.

Cars came and went but one constant was that there were two cars there, except only times when one of them was spread out across the entire floor for some project or other.

Early in my marriage my Mrs. and I got up to five cars – three were playthings that lived in the garage (one of them in a rented space in the garage next door) while the two daily drivers lived outside.

Kids came, cars went and we moved to a bigger place.  Even during the move-in phase we got two cars in.

A  lesser man might have given up when it became necessary to squeeze a full-sized Ford van and a 1968 Chrysler Newport into the same relatively petite 1950’s garage – along with bikes, a lawnmower and the kinds of things that a suburban family accumulates.  During that phase of life the Mrs. refused to move a car in or out if the other was there, such precision was involved in the operation.  The secret was in keeping the drivers side of the van skinnied up to the wall, requiring us all to enter or exit aircraft style through the passenger side doors.

Life got easier when we went to smaller cars, but even then I have remained spoiled by not having to scrape ice and brush snow or having to run through the rain on the way to or from work.

I have, however, temoporarily lost my spot in the 1% club.  My daughter, it seems, needed to stash a bunch of furniture from her student apartment during a summer out of state.  So here I am with our two daily cars outside.

Which makes me wonder about priorities.  The combined contents of the garage at present is worth far less than the value of the cars that sits outdoors in the weather.  Yet that stuff luxuriates in dry comfort while two of our cars get the rain, sap and tree-trash coating them with great regularity.  This makes no sense.

But the end is in sight.  As our daughter prepares to come home she has confirmed plans for moving into her own apartment – a living situation that will result in Mom and Dad getting our garage back.

And it will not be a moment too soon.  I have had quite enough of living how the average person lives.  I crave re-admittance to the 1%.


Photo Credit

The featured photo is *not* my garage, fortunately.  This unaltered photo comes from the Flickr page of Unnar Ymir Bjornsson (found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/54771619@N05/6791821471) and is available via a Creative Commons Attribution License.

13 thoughts on “I Am The 1%!

  1. You have truly found the American dream. Plus, having seen your garage, being able to squeeze a Ford van and a ’68 Newport in there together is an automotive form of having won the lottery.

    Often times, a comment may involve a comparison. I shan’t this time as that would require a confession to having three garage bays (two up, one down) and the resultant necessity of disclosure of the third being full of a dormant washing machine, a riding lawn mower in the midst of repair, and an assortment of other crap that need not be there.

    So I’ll only say this: Last time we were house shopping, one house had the worst compromise I’ve ever seen. The original garage was half full of stuff. So they built a wall with a sliding door between their treasures and their parking area. In turn, the attached garage was extended, leaving this mess that jutted out from the house. It was weird.


  2. Hmm, well I was wrong. No food today, unless you keep bags of burnt peanuts in your garage which seems unlikely at this time.

    Anyway, well done on actually parking cars in the garage. I must say that during the 20 years we have lived in our current home a daily driven car has spent exactly zero nights in our garage. It’s a deep single and the contents are adjusted seasonally. During the winter it holds our 1963 VW, two motorcycles, two canoes, four bicycles, a lawnmower, toolboxes and the other regular detritus of suburban life. During the summer the VW lives in the driveway and the other stuff spreads out for better access.

    I’ve told Mrs DougD that when we downsize I’d like a 1000 square foot house with a 2000 square foot garage. That too seems unlikely…


    • I keep trying to think of ways to make my garage bigger, but the ground to the side is not flat and I would have to sacrifice a screened porch if I tried to make it deeper. But then my garage might turn into something like my basement, which is a complete disaster.


  3. We have usually kept one car in the garage, but two? I’m not sure I’d even want to do that, even if they would fit. I like just walking out the front door and getting in my truck. Also, I set up the workbench in our garage along the back end, so that only my wife’s short car fits. When she rides her bike to work and her car is in the garage, it’s a good excuse not to get anything done in there. This is the first house we’ve had which really has no room for a project car or non-runner, either. By the way, our driveway is possibly shorter than our garage; my truck, which is a full foot shorter than a ‘71 Chrysler, hangs a few inches into the sidewalk even if the front bumper is kissing the garage door. So I park on the street, which in my neighborhood requires a $20 annual parking permit. Not to mention that we’ve had two cars broken into in the 7 years we’ve lived here …


    • You who live in a moderate climate lack the two motivations that we midwesterners have: snow and ice. The need to brush snow and scrape ice from windshields is a powerful motivator. Except that now an old Miata takes up half the garage while my daily driver sits outside. Maybe I need one of those things that lifts one car up and allows a second one to park under it. 3 cars in a 2 car garage would be epic!


  4. I see a Chopper bike in this photo. I think they were 5 speed bikes (when 3 speed were all most people had) and they had shock absorbers too.

    I lost use of my garage when #1 son moved back in while his second house was being built (about 3 months so we survived), and when son #2 moved back in with GF and her car took one of my spots. However now all is back to normal operation, both of my cars enjoy garage storage, especially in the winter time. I also squeeze in the lawn mower, the snow blower, and my bike.

    My fear is that our next house will be downsized from this one and a 2 car garage will not be high on my Mrs. shopping list.


    • Oh yes, I understand. My Mrs and I have an agreement: she is reluctant to downsize the house and I am reluctant to downsize the garage. So I guess we stay put.


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