On my first evening in the woodturning studio two weeks ago, I put on the safety glasses the Folk School had on hand. I could feel the plastic digging into my cheeks. Wearing these things for six hours a day for the next five days was not going to be comfortable – and the indented-skin-around-the-eyes look just wasn’t doing it for me. So I decided to head to Lowe’s the next morning to get myself my own pair of safety glasses.
I’m not your typical Lowe’s customer. First of all, I’m female. Secondly, my typical attire includes heels and jewelry and makeup. But this can all be used to my advantage to get in and out of these places as quickly as possible. So on Monday morning, I did what I usually do when I have to step into a home improvement store: I dressed cute, put on a smile, walked in the door and asked the first person I saw where I could find what I wanted. I was in and out in five minutes.
Two weeks later, I found out I’d be heading to Lowe’s again. Twice in two weeks? Who have I become? This time, however, it was a little different. I had missed the first half-hour of class Sunday night as I was doing my host duties. When I arrived, our instructor Tom filled me in: the class had requested we take a field trip to Lowe’s on Monday. This being a course on Building a Garden Shed, the request was not unreasonable.
“Before you go, you should know what you want,” Tom explained to us in our outdoor classroom Monday morning. “Just like when you go grocery shopping.” So I listened as Tom asked us to dredge up our fourth-grade math skills to figure out how much wood we would need.
Our class would be using wood salvaged from the Folk School’s maintenance department to build a garden shed for the school, but my classmates would have to buy their own wood if they wanted to do this at home – which half of them did.
So after our lesson on building materials, I got behind the wheel of the Folk School Suburban and drove us all to Lowe’s. I walked into that store looking almost like someone who belonged there (i.e. dressed in jeans and sneakers as opposed to heels and a skirt). Tom led us into an aisle I never would have dared enter prior to this class: the one full of wood. Tom patiently answered everyone’s questions about two-by-fours, plywood, and roofing materials.
“If we have enough time,” Tom said earlier that morning, “we can head over to Tool World.” I thought it funny of him to call the tool section Tool World. Not til we got there did I realize Lowe’s actually has those very words written on the wall. Tom showed us the tools that were worth the investment and those that were truly unnecessary.
I walked out knowing a lot more than when I walked in, but thinking my life would not be missing anything if I never had to step into Lowe’s again.