My wife and I bought solar panels for the usual reasons: We wanted to save money and feel morally superior to our neighbors. Solar power for the whole house was a bit pricey for us, so we stuck to solar water heating. This is practical, as we go through a lot of hot water. My wife is British and requires great amounts of tea to live, whereas I am from Fort Lauderdale and need to defrost with a hot bath after any day where the temperature dips below 75.
So we found a solar company. They sent out a sales guy, an older New Yorker who seemed like he’d probably spent most of his professional life in an obscure corner of Queens working someplace with a name like Honest Tommy’s Muffler Repair and Life Insurance. I’m pretty sure that if I’d mentioned how in addition to solar panels I was in the market for some watches that look nice and say “Rolecks” on the back, he’d know a guy.
Now look. As a Fort Lauderdale native, I am perfectly comfortable dealing with New Yorkers who live in Hollywood and don’t understand how far up you’re supposed to button a shirt. It’s just that when I decided to buy solar panels, this wasn’t the experience I expected.
I pictured a guy with one of those last-name first names – Beckett maybe, or Anderson – would Uber over to the house. We’d bond, possibly over a shared fondness for NPR morning host Steve Inskeep. I’d offer him a coffee. “Fairtrade?” he’d ask. “Is there any other kind?” I’d say. Then we’d laugh, I’d put on my favorite Mongolian throat-singing CD, and he’d sell me some solar panels. Afterwards, we’d start following each other on Twitter.
This was the solar panel-buying experience I’d envisioned. So I was caught somewhat off-guard when Mickey the Chin showed up at my house asking about what he’s gotta do to get some solar panels on my roof today.
In the end, what he had to do was offer to sell me solar panels. I feel like in Florida, this is a no-brainer. Even our license plates explain how we’re a state with sunshine. Or at least, that’s what the standard license plates explain. This is Florida; our license plates also explain that we’ve got manatees, panthers, children whom we love, horses, turtles, approximately 127 colleges and universities, sports teams, whales, coral, Freemasons, largemouth bass, family values, more turtles, the arts, cyclists and NASCAR. But you get my point.
We’ve had the panels for a little while now, and they’re working out great. Like a plate of Tarks chicken wings, our water is hot and reasonably priced. And at social events, we get to bore people with how wonderful we are. I’ve developed a talent for working solar panels into any conversation. (“Yeah, I like the Marlins chances too. With Stanton, they’ve got great power at home. Hey, speaking of power at home…”)
So, as I’ll inevitably tell you if we ever run into each other, I’d recommend solar panels. And if you want to talk specifics, I can help with that too. I might know a guy who can get you a real nice deal. Real nice. Also, let him know if you need a watch.