Gasman No More!

It’s true, I’ve only gone and changed ma career.  Apart from the odd emergency call outs for friends and relatives, I have hung up ma tools.  After 20 years, your friendly neighbourhood gasman is no more!  I now work as a care assistant, working with the elderly.  And it’s great.

It’s 18 months in now, and I wish I had taken it up sooner.  You might not believe it, but remarkably the two jobs, gasman and carer, are very similar.  As a gasman for all those years I am no stranger to sitting and listening to the preoccupations of my elders over a cup of tea and a biscuit, after I have done some wee turn or other for them.  I’ve gone from maintaining the boilers to maintaining the people.  And there is still tea and cake involved.

Old folk are fascinating, and I have always enjoyed a good rapport with them.  In fact I have oft’ lamented the fact that the grandmothers think I’m lovely, while the granddaughters think I’m some kind of strange, lunatic, pain in the ass.   Of course, the only explanation for this must be because the granddaughters lack the maturity and the wisdom to make a reasoned and sound judgement on the matter…

When I first started this job, I was immediately impressed by my work colleagues.  I have a vivid memory from my first week of watching two of the girls helping an old chap to his bed.  I watched in awe as they gently fluttered around him, helping him undress and into his pyjamas before they carefully assisted him to spend a penny and have a quick wash before gliding him into bed.  It was a quite beautiful example of genuine human care and compassion for others.  I recall telling them afterwards that I had seen their wings, and that I had fallen in love with both of them a little.  I told myself that if I can be half as good at this job as they are, then I would be quite content.  It is quite a pleasure to work with such people.  I think I can be forgiven for not missing the old days of soot, mud, wind and rain, builders sites and bums.

Next week I have been asked to ‘mentor’ a new start.  In no way will I be able to replicate the impression that was was made on me, but I’ll give it ma best shot.  To paraphrase the protagonist from God Bless You Mr Rosewater, “goddam it you’ve gotta be nice”.    I don’t know if I am half as good, or half as nice quite yet, but I’m working on it 😉


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