Becoming a service user is an awakening experience for a service provider! At least it has been for me. This morning while waiting for the bus, I noticed that when it drove into the driveway, I looked carefully to see if I could see who was driving. It didn't take long for me to have a list of favourites, those I looked forward to riding with. This is a more diverse list than you might think. Some are chatty, some are not; some are morning people, some are not; some drive smoothly, some do not. My favourites, then, are similar only in the way they present themselves to me and the way they interact with me.
Similarly, when I get a driver I don't know or have never had before, I begin immediately assessing them. I assess them for a couple of things ... mood and manner ... predictors of how they may interact with me. And, man, do I want to be able to predict! There are things I prefer, routes that I'd rather not take, hints about the lane way beside my office ... things which I'd like to point out or ask for or inform about. But I've found that my input is welcomed only with those who have an interest in me as something more than cargo.
So this morning, getting on the bus, I did a quick check. Mood? Manner? And as I did so I began to think about all the people in service, all the children waking up to parents ... everyone who is dependant, at least in part, on the mood and the manner of someone in their lives. Do people realize that there are those who assess them, those who are trying to determine if their day will go well or their day could go pear shaped at any moment.
Hmmm ... maybe those of us who have support providing or care giving responsibilities need to be the first to check our mood and our manner, maybe we need to realize that, in small ways, every day, we are being checked out - assessed. Our character and our dangerousness are being calculated to determine risk.
Because the one thing I have learned as a service recipient - in relationship with any service provider, of any type ... there is always risk.