The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #57, April 2004


A few years ago I bought my Subaru - the first car I've owned that wasn't a family hand-me-down, purchased without a motor, or priced under $125. Soon thereafter my motorhead dad called to hear how the new car was working out, and he asked if I was keeping it dry and safe in the garage. By "garage" he meant the shack in my backyard originally conceived to store a Model T. Getting a vehicle in this building required unlocking the padlock on the side door, lifting the 2 X 4 that kept the main doors closed, swinging open the two halves (which was impossible if any snow had fallen), and dragging cement blocks into place to prop them open. I explained it was easier to park the car in the street and dig it out of the snow as necessary. (Heck, it would have been easier to build a hovercraft out of old vacuum cleaner parts each morning and commute with that.)" You cheap son of a bitch," he joked (intending no disrespect to his ex-wife), "Have someone install a proper door and take care of that car." Properly shamed, I soon had a modern, citified garage door in place.

Upon examination, the installation seemed to have gone well: the new door gracefully disappeared overhead on its shiny new wheels, and would glide back down with the slightest effort. Impressed, I drove the car around and carefully pulled it all the way in, knowing from previous attempts that I'd have to actually touch the bumper on the back wall of the garage in order to fit. I then slid down the overhead door only to have it crash on the bumper, removing a fair amount of car paint - with the new door slightly inset from the opening, the garage wasn't long enough for my little station wagon. Eventually I solved this problem by removing sections of the supporting 2X4s to accommodate my bumper. Since our recent coat of exterior latex probably offered the majority of the building's structural integrity, and since I'm total ignorant of terms like "load-bearing", I sawed away with reckless abandon.

Some time after this, my neighbor to the east, who had personally built his big two-car garage, sold his house to our current neighbors, but not without a little disgust. "They didn't even look at the garage!" he complained. Armed with the information that the new neighbors don't fully appreciate what they've got, and fueled by my desire for a big, sturdy garage in which I could actually walk AROUND my compact car, I began planning "Operation Backyard Regime Change". Some starless night I'll dress all in black and rub charcoal on my face. Next I'll knock on the neighbors door, then quickly run away, leaving behind several bottles of really nice wine with a card welcoming them to the neighborhood. A few hours later I'll begin my commando raid. I'll paint their garage to match our house, reroute the sidewalk to our back door, and replace their junk with my car, lawn mower and whatnot. Come morning it'll appear that their garage always belonged with our house. With any luck they'll wake up a bit hazy and disoriented and will readily assume that any confusion is theirs. Perhaps they won't even notice.

Oddly enough, I failed to notice when The Auto Body Experience recently became available at the Apple iTunes store: that's kind of neat - check it out if you get a chance. Hopefully you're more attentive than I and will notice that we're playing at The Uptown Bar Thursday, April 29. Joining us will be "In The Morning" and Eddie Mac". We'll play one set starting around 9:00, so you'll be able to get home early and keep an eye on your outbuildings.

-Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, The Auto Body Experience

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