We had our floors redone recently. I expected (and got) gorgeous new hardwood floors, but I did not expect a life-lesson from the install guy. Enter Tom, a quiet, middle-aged man who made a major life change several years ago. For most of his adult life, Tom worked in retail. Then he and his wife bought her family home. The house needed lots of work and Tom wanted to tear it down and have a new one built. His wife wanted it restored, so Tom set out to do just that. With no prior skills, he redid all the wiring and plumbing, installed a new furnace , put in new flooring and totally renovated the kitchen. By his own admission, he learned as he went along, reading how-to books, tagging along when friends did projects and following diagrams friends-with-skills made for him.
Tom's renovation project didn't end with his house. Even though we only live an hour from Boston, he never went there - too far, too afraid of getting lost, didn't think he liked the city. Then his daughter started college in Boston and Tom started going into the city to visit her. Now he often drives down for the day, exploring new neighborhoods on his own and visiting area museums.
Now to that random (lone) male shopper at Michael's. I was in the art supply section, trying to decide which gel medium I wanted when I noticed the LMS - big guy, mid - 30s, baseball cap on backwards, paint all over his shirt. I watched as he selected a canvas and then several colors of Grumbacher watercolors. What?? This was not a guy I would have pegged as an artist. But since he clearly knew stuff, I asked him about the gel medium and he gave me a quick run-down of the various kinds and which one was best for which application.
Life lesson 2 - Never judge a book or a floor guy or a random male shopper at Micheal's by the cover. They might just throw your stereotyping out the window.