I read recently that people now misuse rather than abuse 'substances' and drugs, I suppose that's a step in the right direction... I once got arrested for telling a wrap of amphetamines that it was fat and smelled funny - I was definitely abusing it rather than misusing it (I was also completely off my melon on Cocaine and walking naked through a public library, thinking about it, that might have been the root cause of my arrest). It seems you can misuse Facebook even! I thought that it was solely invented for looking up people you've not seen for twenty years and whispering 'Good Gods, you got ugly' to yourself... Seems not, that's frowned upon too and may attract the attention of the Police, or the Daily Mail.
You can misuse research, and tailor the results to support whatever crackpot theory you want to put forth. You can misuse your disabled parking badge, presumably by... Erm... Parking somewhere... Erm... OK, maybe that was a bad example, I've no idea how you'd misuse a parking badge, maybe you'd beat a dog with it... I'm not sure - Anyway, disabled people wouldn't do something like that would they? They're all great. To suggest otherwise would be disablist or something, probably cause an uproar too. (See Daily Mail, above)
But what I'm talking about misusing today is a part of your house, or my house at least. It's a room, and it has a specific purpose. A lot of rooms do you know. The Living Room is where you live, The Bedroom is where you go to bed, The Bathroom is where you have a bath, some people have Utility Rooms for doing washing and stuff and some people even have rooms, inside their house, where they put their cars.
They're called Garages, and they are designed for the sole purpose of keeping the second most expensive, and first most stealable thing you will ever buy, safe from people who wear 'snap-back' hats and talk like stylised American gang members... Bruv, innit? an' t'ing.
Every house I've ever had, since leaving the home of my birth has had one, but to my knowledge I've never actually stored a car in one. Bikes and Trikes, yes. Golf Clubs, certainly. Dogs whilst they 'Think about what they've done', indubitably. But Cars, never.
I seem to remember trying once, it was so long ago that I've forgotten what the car was. It wasn't a big car, not a Range-Rover or a 42 tonne articulated unit, probably an Escort or something like that. I measured it, by the tried and trusted method of spreading my arms, squinting and thinking 'That'll go in there.' then cleared the floor of woodscrews and nails and Japanese soldiers who hadn't realised that the war was over. I threw the tent onto the front lawn, pulled out my golf clubs, moved a tea chest of old Honda parts and my prized (at the time) 750/4 was reverently wheeled into a sunny spot where it could bask as it slowly soiled itself into the gutter. I then had a cup of tea and a slightly dry Jaffa Cake, as was the style at the time.
Girding my loins, I seated my broad, British buttocks on the slightly faded velour and started the engine. I crawled at a sedate pace through the up-and-over door (after lifting it up and over, obviously... I'm not a complete cretin.) and nursed the jalopy into the space provided.
It was only then that I realised that I couldn't open the driver's door due to the sturdy workbench I had constructed the Summer previously. So I gave up in disgust and reversed back out.
Since that day I have used the garage as both a depository of randomness and a way of ending uncomfortable conversations with Mrs Dandy... Conversations that start with, 'Dandy, can you take 3" off the end of this bit of wood?' and end with 'I would love to, but the saw's in the garage.' - To which her reply would be a knowing nod and a wandering off in the other direction.
Here is a picture of the garage in question.
Ok, so a lot of it is taken up by the trike, although if you work out the amount of floorspace, it probably only takes up about a quarter. Then there's one of those American style fridge-freezers (because our kitchen isn't big enough to house it), and a tumble dryer and a workbench (Which I can't use because it's covered in boxes). There're a couple of sets of Golf-clubs, a guitar, a sack-truck and Mrs Dandy's pushbike with the suspension and the really comfy seat. The entire left-hand side is shelves full of crap - odd bits of Dolls-house furniture and those socket timers that you use to turn the lights on and off when you go on holiday to stop the snap-backs nicking your telly (Open note to housebreakers: We do not ever go on holiday, and even if we did, we have nothing worth stealing. What we to have is a large dog with sharp teeth, a crippling venereal disease and the sexual morals of an alley cat - So, like, don't breaking in or nuffink, OK?). The cardboard boxes on the right-hand side... Well, the contents of those are anyone's guess. They're probably stuff that we still haven't unpacked from when we moved in, over three years ago - I'm scared to look.
Every once in a while, I'm moved to give it a bit of a tidy up, I decide to drag everything out onto the drive and only put back in stuff I really need. The stuff I leave on the drive just 'disappearing' as soon as I close the door (No, really, it does... We live smack-bang in the middle of Pikey-Town). But what usually happens is that I drag a couple of things out and then I find something that I've not seen for years, and I spend the rest of the day playing with it, and look all guilty when Mrs' Dandy comes in to say that dinner's ready and I'm sat there playing with a model of Concord that only has one wing and there's a cardboard box of cables outside on the drive, and it's raining. I suddenly feel like an eight year old who's been told to tidy his room, and she walks out of the garage shaking her head. I 'fly' the Concord back into the box where I found it, making quiet 'Neeeyowwww' noises ashamedly, so that she can't hear me.
I understand that people without the luxury of a solidly built garage have to use sheds instead. That sounds perfectly awful to me. I mean, how are you supposed to nurse a battle-damaged Concorde onto an imaginary airfield in a soggy cardboard box with the constant worry of a spider wandering up your trouser leg and building a silky fort in your gentleman's area - Makes my collies wobble just thinking about it.