It’s not easy to give up convenience
Nov. 11, 2015
by Ivan Raconteur

As I contemplate the possibility of saying goodbye to the old bachelor pad and moving to a new residence, one change I am forced to consider is giving up the luxury of a garage.

I haven’t always had a garage.

The first several places I lived had neither garages nor driveways, and I had to park on the street.

Anyone who has been in this position knows it is not much fun, especially during a Minnesota winter.

I confess to having used some intemperate language on many a black January morning, when the wind was howling across the frozen tundra, the mercury was plummeting, and I was forced to stop and hack a layer of ice off my vehicle before I could go to work or school.

There’s nothing pleasant about starting the day that way.

Although it wasn’t ideal, it was manageable, and I and countless other Minnesotans survived the experience every winter.

Things improved for me dramatically when I moved to an apartment building in Eden Prairie where I had a reserved parking space in the heated underground garage.

That seemed much more civilized to me, and even though I had to take an elevator up several floors to my apartment overlooking the lake, I was happy.

Later, when I bought a hobby farm, I had several outbuildings, including a three-car garage with a wood stove and a workshop area.

This opened up new possibilities for me.

It was still some distance from the house, so unloading groceries and other items was still inconvenient, but I quickly became accustomed to the additional space.

Then, I moved to the bachelor pad and discovered the joys of an attached garage.

When I get up in the morning, I hop into a warm, dry vehicle and I’m on my way.

When I get home at night, I get out of the car, take six steps, and I’m in my kitchen/dining area.

If I have shopping to unload, I can do so without a hike, and without getting cold rain down the back of my neck.

This, I thought, is how things were meant to be.

With each step in my journey, I quickly became spoiled with the advances in comfort and convenience. I wondered how I ever got by without it (whatever the current improvement was).

It’s like that with a lot of things in life.

We quickly adapt to whatever conveniences we might have.

Some people begin to experience withdrawal symptoms any time they are without their smart phone for more than a few moments.

Other people say they don’t know how they would get by without the convenience of a dishwasher.

Still others can’t imagine the wasteland their lives would be without the magic of microwave ovens.

Even in our northern climate, many people, including those who grew up without it, are mortified by the thought of enduring a Minnesota summer without the aid of central air conditioning.

With every kind of technological advance that ushers in a new level of comfort or convenience, we quickly adapt to the new normal, and have no desire to return to the bad old days.

Even though we are perfectly capable of getting through the day without many of the new tools, we don’t want to do so.

Many of us are creatures of comfort. We like it when we can accomplish the same objective with less work. We don’t like to be too hot or too cold. We would never want to go back to the dark ages when we had to actually get out of our chair to change the channel on the television, switch records on the phonograph, or answer the telephone.

The reality, of course, is we can survive a bit of inconvenience. Many of us have done so, and our parents and grandparents certainly did.

As a matter of fact, most of the world’s population puts up with much more inconvenience than we do.

So, if I end up moving to a place without a garage, I’ll try to do so without much complaint, except possibly on those dark winter mornings when I am freezing my digits off while scraping the car windows. I just don’t think there’s any way I can see the happy side of doing that.

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