The Hug (15/03/2020)

So, I started this dating app to break my "loneliness" in my new environment; and one of the first questions was: "how would you best friend describe you?" - "Somewhat oblivious to his positive impact on others," she said.

I've been "home" in Southend now 3 times since I started in January. Everytime I made sure to have a tandem ride with my blind stoker, and every time I thought I need to visit my ex-client who lives just across the road. As it goes, partially with some sort of professional discretion, I opted to do all the other important things that needed attending in the short time that I was in my flat.

Finally, last weekend I thought, stuff the "important stuff", I spend some time reminiscing on the old days.

Folk never change their key safe numbers. However, since I don't work there anymore, I did not let myself in. I rung the bell. When his wife opened the door, before I got to say anything she wrapped her arms around me in a big hug: "We missed you!"

Ron looked good, very well indeed. Sitting in his recliner chair and pretending to having forgotten me already.

So I came to explore the virtues of an Accounts Receivable Administrator: a certain salary, dropping the pen at 5.30pm, but predominantly processes. Some of you (readers) may be aware of my telefonophobia, where a clearly completely irrational anxiety of making phone calls to strangers causes quite an aversion of engagements. Not to worry, it doesn't make sense to me either. However, it helps to have some sort of reason for calling, which in my position is asking/chasing for money. In turn, the I-make-you-pay is part of "process" (data entry), reminder emails and letters advising of sending to debt agency.

Compared with this sedantry and at times quite tedious work, my time as Social Community Carer was far more challenging: you knew what you were supposed to be doing for the client at a visit, but once you got there the situation might have changed. - There were things that you must not do, like picking someone off the floor (= helping them up). There were things that you had to do, like call the paramedics, and/or inform the office on any concerns. And there were things that you could not do, like changing a light bulb on your own accord, even if the client sits in the dark... need to get consent from the office first, due to insurance issues. But hey, at least the daily experiences varied.

When we contemplated the experiences that Sharon & Ron had after I left, I knew that if I didn't survive my new position, there was a place to go back to. Apparently also my former line manager reminisced on wishful thinking.

An ex-colleague turned up to prepare lunch for Ron in the kitchen. We had a brief chat and I sent my regards to the office. So, we assembled there. As I was used, I guided him back into the lounge, comprising of helping to stand, he walks with the zimmer frame and I push the wheelchair closely behind, in case he fancies sitting down. After lunch Ron preferred to sit in the wheelchair. When I said good-bye, got dressed and pushed my bike out the door, Sharon held the door open and Ron made the effort to wheel himself into the hallway. Even when I was cycling away they were still there and waving.

This was for me actually quite a shocking (in the sense of the word) experience. During my time at work there I was aware that I may have a slightly different approach to deal with my clients than some colleagues, but I always insisted that I am "just" doing the job to which I have signed up.

And yes, I do have my particularities, but the folk who accepted this appeared to have enjoyed the benefits. With hind-sight there were many situations that I was priviledged to tend to, although going a couple of 100 yards more doesn't stretch my job out of the way.

Cycling to work is an enjoyment, rather than racing from client to client to cover as many as possible in the shortest time. Fair enough, you can't compare a 3 hour respite with 6 clients wanting lunch, meds and assistance to the toilet in 1/2 hour stints from 11.30 to 2.30; but travelling time being not included nor paid.

Still, under these circumstances the welfare-supporting job is way underpaid compared with the paper-pushing dual-screen (two-monitors) mondane work.

On the other hand, where do you get a job for 9-5.30 Monday to Thursday and 9-5 on Friday, week-end off? For my future, it's some experience in - albeit a slightly different area of - accounting, and the possibility of another qualification. And after that, we will see...

 

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