Saturday, January 16, 2010

Here's a List to Help You with that

I skimmed through Nickel and Dimed's play adaptation a few weeks back. One scene, involving Ehrenreich's interaction with a social worker stood out. The social worker, somewhat cheerfully, produces several lists in response to Ehrenreich's queries of where she can get assistance.

It was a little humbling and a little annoying to read. Lists are part of the referral process. Clients ask about a place to get food, find a doctor, subsidized housing options and the like. Lists (and maps) are produced in return. I try to go over information with clients but can understand how they could be overwhelming, i.e. because of cognitive issues or not being familiar with other neighborhoods.

It was annoying to read the scene and recognize it as a cynical take of what social workers do. But it was also humbling in the sense of getting a glimpse of what the other side sees, the person who's coming for help, who is hungry or desperate. It made me appreciate more the need to take time and process through information.

Also see Comments on Nickel and Dimed

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