I have a soft spot for old-school late 20th Century garage doors. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Texas in the 70s and early 80s. Those garage doors were as ubiquitous to my neighborhood as Craftsman houses are to South Pasadena.
I watched a lot of cute boys jamming with their bands inside garages like this. More than one shaggy-haired guitar player stole my heart while covering old T-Rex and Bowie under fluorescent tube lights. I kissed the cute guy who moved from Hawaii in the 10th grade in a garage like this. I had my first lukewarm beer tapped from a keg in a garage like this.
Most of my late night whispered telephone conversations happened in a garage like this: my parents’ garage. I would perch on a paint can, giggling to my best friend Mary with the kitchen wall phone cord stretched through the back door and pulled around the front of my mom’s Cordova…
I’m sure the teenagers walking through the book stalls in Paris have the same confusing/mad/wonderful dreams as those of us who grew up hanging out in garages. We’re not so different. In fact, I remember arguing with Paul from my drama club about whether Godard or Truffaut was the better French New Wave director, all while leaning against his dad’s workbench in a garage like this. It’s not a grand setting that makes youth so grand. After all, the setting is just the launch pad for where we eventually end up. (Which, more often than not, turns out to be an awful lot like where we started out.)
I know, I know. Garage doors like this don’t call for a Gershwin soundtrack. They don’t inspire the same homespun nostalgia as picket fences or porch swings. But for those of us who cut our teeth on the edges of American suburbs, garage doors like this are familiar touchstones. They welcome us right back into our past, with or without the remote control.
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