Well, to be honest, selecting the domain name "garageboy.com" was
not one of the brightest choices I have ever made. I have since
registered stevenjbernstein.com for my professional resume, using
garageboy.com as a forum for my hobbies and interests. When I started
searching for a
domain name for my web site in the mid 90s, many beloved names were
in use, including bernstein.com and bernstein.org. However, no one had
That should have been a clue
for me, but it wasn't. I snatched
it up before anyone else could.
Don't read any more of this unless you're bored... I mean, really bored...In the summer of 1997, I decided to register a domain name. I was switching ISPs, and I wanted to have a permanent email address that wouldn't change due to reasons beyond my control. Even today, there are still thousands of very clever domain names yet to be registered. In my opinion, garageboy.com is not one of the better ones. But why did I pick that name? Well, I wanted something car-related. Garageman.com was already being used. I am an automotive enthusiast, and I do spend some quality time working in the garage. In fact, I have been known to be found in the garage all seasons of the year, from the hot, muggy days of summer, to the single-digit sub-freezing temperatures of a New England winter. The "something-boy" concept seemed to work well for others (bubble-boy, skunk-boy, computer-boy super-boy, bat-boy, bag-boy, etc.), and since I am a relatively young man, the rest is history that caused me to rationalize the name garageboy.com.
In some senses, the name actually fits. I did grow up in a home where we had a garage. It was a small one-car garage, but unlike other neighbors with garages, my parents actually used it to store a car, and I used it to store my bicycle. It was nice to have a garage to run into when it started to rain. Or to work on my bicycle. The roots of this garage affliction clearly started when I was very young.
When I was in college, I had no garage, which was reasonable since I didn't have a car. Nearing graduation, when I bought my first car, I was forced to work on it in the fraternity parking lot. I frowned when my "brothers" would park their cars at the end of the lot for the annual oil-change-drain-down-the-hill. It wasn't fun lying on the ground, ruining clothes, getting dirt in my eyes, using a hammer as the first tool, and missing those heady days when I knew what working in a garage was like.
When I had my first real job after college, I had no garage at my apartment, and this was simply not going to work. I had an Opel Manta I was trying to restore to its original beauty so that it could live its life as the rally car it was destined to be (which was given a new life as an electric car near Boston). I immediately went out and found a very nice 2-car garage in town and was able to store both Opels there.
When I moved to Belgium, I kept the cars and the garage in Connecticut, but now I also had an underground garage with my apartment!! That's when I started to appreciate automatic door openers - that was also when a friend coined the phrase "Batmobile Exit" to describe the unorthodox manner in which I would enter and exit the garage. If you ever saw Batman exit the Batcave in the Batmobile, you probably have a good idea of how I entered and exited Riverside Tower in Antwerp.
At the time, I had a company car - rather than a Passat wagon the color of the wine of Bordeaux, I got a brand new 3-series. Other than installing a car stereo, this was the first in my life where I didn't have to work on a car! I learned how most normal people live - dependent upon a car dealership or mechanic. This was a foreign concept to me then and still is today. Nonetheless, I still appreciated having a garage to tinker with the car, and I started to realize there always had to be a garage in my future.
When moving to the People's Republic of Massachusetts, I was destined to have a garage. I had some cash and wanted to lay down some roots. No house that I was looking at would be garage-less!! So I bought a townhouse with a two-car garage (I had three cars at the time). Since it was newly built, it had an insulated metal automatic door and a space-heater built into the wall. A SPACE-HEATER BUILT INTO THE WALL!! As the house connected directly to the garage, I could work any hour of the day or night, undisturbed, without the judgemental stares of neighbors.
I had found Garage Nirvana. Or so I had thought. It was a wonderful garage, but it turned out to be in one of the most economically depressed areas of the USA. The "Economic Miracle of Massachusetts" had ended with a fury. As luck would have it, I decided to try my hand at living in The Big City, you know, the city so nice, they named it twice..
When I first moved to New York, my company put me up in a hotel for an entire summer. Mints on the pillow. Room service morning, noon, or night. A gazillion frequent stay points. All the comforts of home... NOT. And for the first time in years, I had no garage and was at the mercy of a car dealership again. I got caught by surprise when my car's water pump died suddenly! I actually had to bring it to a professional mechanic in the New York City metropolitan area - I was so embarrassed. I don't believe I ever recovered from that experience. I never imagined that car dealers could charge 20% over list price for factory parts, followed by Rolls Royce labor rates, culminating in an incompetent repair that required me to repair their repair. I had encountered some serious culture shock.
Eventually, I ended up in a house on Long Island that had a two-car garage. But it was wet, smelly, and cold, and the neighbors could hear me swearing at the car while working on it. I was also in the process of trying to become a one-car family again. These were trying times. Surprisingly, I performed some of the most extreme maintenance and repairs in this garage, because I had discovered first-hand that all auto mechanics in the New York metropolitan area are incompetent and crooks.
I moved to a house in the city of New York - and I've managed to become a 3-car family again: the Manhattan beater, the date/roadtrip car, and the dedicated ice racer. I share a garage, and I am very fortunate to have cool neighbors. It's hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and a bit wet when it rains, but I can accomplish most tasks pretty easily. I also drive into my office in Times Square every day, and have found superb private parking in an underground garage off Broadway. I befriended the folks who manage the garage, all BMW drivers, and managed to secure the best private parking New York City has to offer.
I'm still looking for that dream garage... I know it's out there waiting for me. If you're a bright millionairess with a large garage on the island of Manhattan, I'm cute and available. And I'll take care of all the maintenance on your Ferrari because of my undying love for you.