job description, schmob description

October 23, 2007

Today I cut Miss Mary’s hair. My intent in going up to her apartment was to have her fill out an application, as she was one of the residents with some mobility issues whom I knew would struggle to come down to sign up for the annual “commodities.” When I got up there, however, she mentioned that she was bothered by the way her hair always fluttered into her eyes. She wanted to get it cut but wondered at the cost of having someone make a house call to do that: or at least that’s what she replied when I asked if she wanted it cut.
So I said that I could actually do it for her, if she wanted, having spent my college years as a bit of a word-of-mouth hairdresser for all my housemates and friends. I started to feel guilty about offering to do something that I am technically not supposed to do [it falls under to social worker-speak term of “direct service” that I am meant to provide help acquiring but not do myself]. But then I thought more about it and realized I did not in fact feel it was wrong for me to do in this case. As it was, Mary had an immediate need that I could provide quite readily, in very little time. She is planning to move out soon, and as she is one of my favorite residents I am anxious to make the most of what time there is left. And frankly–more selfishly, as far as reasons go–there was nothing I would rather have done with a portion of this day.
It was one of those sweet moments in life when time slows to a blessed stand still. Combing the wisps of baby-fine hair as I knelt beside Mary, I marveled at her beauty, and told her as much. As I am always a bit nervous when I cut someone’s hair, I was relieved to see that the result was quite lovely. And I was thrilled at her ready smile when I held up the hand mirror to show her the end result . . .
No, I definitely have no qualms about the non-working time I spent while at work today :-)

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