Learning To Love You More




Assignment #19
Illustrate a scene or make an object from Paul Arensmeyer's life story.

Katie Hawkins
Hartford, Connecticut



From junior high through high school and my first two summers home from college, I spent most of the time I wasn't in school working in my parents' hardware store. At the store I wore plaid polyester pants and very thin, short-sleeved "uniform" shirts that always made me look even skinnier than I was, and were a major source of insecurity when working at the store. The greatest skills I developed working at the store were the ability to figure out how use tools and build or fix pretty much anything (Both masculine skills in most people's eyes.) and how to deal with difficult people.
By the time I was 15 or 16 I had learned how to somehow charm those customers that the other employees dreaded. I worked on them until weren't just nice to me, but asked for me when they came in the store. Somehow I had become the one they trusted to figure out what was wrong with the pump on the horse trough, or why the paint they put on two months ago was peeling off already. It wasn't because I was a cute kid, adolescence wasn't kind to me and at that age I wasn't cute at all. I think it was mostly learning not to let their difficult sides ruffle my feathers, and appealing to their pain-in-the-ass side in a way that made them see how unnecessary it was to be difficult.

--Excerpt from Paul Arensmeyer's life story
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