Saturday, July 16, 2011

A difficult affair

I've realized the limits of language this week. I'm in the process of hiring new aides or, as some might say, replacing aides.

Those words are ridiculously inadequate.

I can't replace a person. Each aide I work with is unique. Every time I interview someone, I look for certain qualities. Reliability - because I need them to show up. Willingness - so they can be my hands and legs.

I'm feeling impatient with words. I hate that I can't explain what this process is like to friends. How do I know who will work out? I don't. I can't replace someone's sense of humor or another's caring touch.

I guess at what a person will be like in moments when I need them most. And that feels inadequate too.

I know it's a leap of faith. And so I choose someone.

Sometimes they make the choice, like the woman who walked into the interview, stared at my wheelchair and said she couldn't handle it. I smiled thinking I already knew that with the sense I've developed. This works the other way too, like a very young man whose smile lights up the room when he talks about how he'd love a job like this and why.

More interviews on the way. The music student who says he can play the violin for me. The out of work dad who just wants a shot at any job. The college students who mostly want a summer job for a summer that's almost over.

This is a permanent position, I tell them. I know that's an illusion, that although some aides stay for years, others move on quickly.

And so must I.


Meredith Gould said...

But only I earned the Kitty Apron, right? RIGHT?

Ruth said...

Absolutely :)