Thursday, April 9, 2009

Since it's what I do, I'm building yet another aluminum patio cover today -third one this week. This one is also for a customer who lost their house to the fierce fires that swept through back in 2007. (We've done three or four now.) So they rebuilt. It's amazing how an inferno that steals everything from you doesn't just chase you out of the county, but what else are you gonna do?

People are still surprised by the product. Say "aluminum patio cover" and one thinks of that corrugated metal stuff flanking trailer parks and mobile home estates, but these end up looking quite nice, actually. No termites! No rust! And it won't burn!

Which no one ever believes. I was chatting about the product with a concrete sub the other day and I proclaimed, "It won't burn!" and he just shook his head like I was a pathetic, uneducated street huckster. "No, really," I told him, "it doesn't burn." And he told me about his father, who was a Fire Captain, who raised him with the notion everything burns fixed squarely in his head. I tried to explain about the house down the street where I just replaced an aluminum patio cover. The house had burned to the ground -burned everything but the old aluminum patio cover, which was still standing, and holding up the stucco walls. He smiled, shook his head, patted me on the back and walked back to work with a wink and a whisper: "Everything burns, son."

It bugged me.

I guess if you want to argue about it then the melting point of aluminum is 1220.58 degrees Fahrenheit, which is low for a metal, but he let it go and so did I. He knew The Truth and so did I. What was I going to do, fight him on it? There are some people in the world who just won't listen, won't hear a fact, and won't get or admit that they're just plain wrong sometimes even with the evidence staring them down. They're usually teachers and leaders and business owners and people who are used to having to have answers and having to make the heavy decisions. I know the feeling. We go through life thinking we always have something to teach everyone when we should just turn it off for friends, family, and complete strangers who don't care. I'd like to try to live life like I have something to learn from everyone. I'm not sure I'm humble enough to pull it off, but I have this theory that it would actually make me smarter. Wiser. Maybe I'm crazy. Anyway, I'll try not to bug you about it in public. If you want to know what I think, well, it's all right here on this dumb blog, which you are never obligated to click on (and, for that matter, I am never obligated to write, oddly.)

I reserve the right to be wrong and change my mind at any given moment. I believe it's the mature thing to do.

That picture at the top of the nice Spanish Brown aluminum patio cover was taken after the fire. (See how there's nothing through the windows?) I'm telling you, the stuff doesn't burn.

Here's a different angle:

If your house burns down, you still have to rebuild the aluminum cover, however. So I did that for this guy, exactly the way it was before, and which is the way he wanted it. He may still lose his house in another inferno I suppose, but it's better than fanning it on with a large flammable stack of firewood and kindling next to your large stack of everything you own.

Everyone could be right. But we all still have to go back to work.