On Keeping up with the Joneses

So, I’ve always wanted a garage and due to some Deus Ex Machina in the history of my life, a local microbiologist with whom I am acquainted found work doing coral reef research in a far away land. So, my wife and I were offered the house for rent at a ridiculously low fee, probably lower than anything even remotely this size in town. In fact, apartment prices have been driven up very high since we moved out of the rather modestly sized apartment. If we were to get the next size down from our old apartment, it would be $100 dollars more than our previous place. This might sound cheap to some, but with local economics in mind, it’s exorbitant. I wonder if the oil field has driven up rental prices? Anyhow, back to the post. We live in the house and it has a garage (it also came with my friend’s children’s dog because it couldn’t go with them). The sad thing about this is that it was filled with a great deal of his things. He told me I could use all of it, and that with the exception of a select few items that, if upon inspection something turned out to be worthless, it could be throw away (they had to move suddenly).

But, my garage has been a mess for quite some time. I’ve always wanted a garage (I lift weights, enjoy hitting a punching bag, I enjoy building stuff, I like having a place to sit in the shade outside when it’s too hot, etc).

But, one of my dear friends has a garage. He cleaned it up, turned it into a place to roast gourmet coffee, he has his weight equipment inside, it’s organized, not covered in dust or filth, in short it is a model garage. As I looked at it, I thought to myself, “Geoff, why aren’t you enjoying your garage? You always wished for a garage. Your wish came true. You have one of the top seven things you’ve ever wanted. You should fix it up.” So, I mostly did. Some of it is beyond my skill to repair. The foundation is literally broken and spreading apart. That’s actually where all the dust comes from as the concrete atomizes it creates a nice film of nightmare death powder for asthmatics.

Now I have a space to do dead lift, room to move around my heavy bag and dodge the uneven ground to practice foot work or pain tolerance for stubbed toes. I have the main light switch accessible and I found another light switch (ha!). I built a stand so my wife can do dead lift because the 25 pound plates have a radius that is too small for comfortable warming up. I swept out most of the concrete detritus, I moved a giant work bench to a more useable location, I got a stool for said work bench, put in a fan, and have organizes many of the tools.

So, I’ve been keeping up with the Joneses because they reminded me to keep up with my own goals. There is certainly a healthy place for feeling ashamed of yourself in life. This was one of those times. Paul even notes that “shame/grief according to God (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)” is a kind of grief that leads to positive change. Grief for public show or as a paralyzing feature may range from being a serious moral flaw to a psychological problem for which you should seek help. But if feeling bad leads you to make a change for the better, it’s probably a good thing. Fixing my garage wasn’t a monumental life change, but it was important for the schedule my wife and I will be keeping next school year. I’ll be taking 14 hours of engineering courses and more in the spring while teaching five classes M-W-F. We’ll need to train in the garage rather than the gym. I’ll also need to find things to do besides books. The garage will be the perfect place.

Brief Moralistic Appendix:

Don’t keep up with the Jonses if it has no benefit to you. Just admit to yourself and others that you don’t care what they have. I was literally internally ashamed of my laziness with regards to a pretty major advantage I have (a garage). Don’t buy a boat because Tom Jones has one. That’s stupid.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: On resolutions | My Blog

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