Sit for a spell, but not here

I visited a client today who didn’t have a single chair in the house. A big flat screen TV and a nice car in the driveway, but nowhere to sit.


No table either, but then that would require at least one chair, I guess.

The #1 Social Worker rule when making home visits is never to sit on any soft surface.

You can use your imagination to sort out the why.

The #2 Social Worker rule is to have an exit in view at all times.

Laugh all you like, but this was about the extent of my training on *how to conduct home visits* without bringing home bed bugs or getting kidnapped by a psychopath.

These rules usually find me doing business in the client’s kitchen. Today’s kitchen had a couple bicycles, a washer/dryer combo, and the most fabulously neat collection of shoes I’ve seen yet. In the kitchen that had no table or chairs.

I wanted to ask, but it felt really rude… where do you sit to eat? Where do you sit to put on any of those fabulously neat shoes?

There was no couch, either.


Oh! I also visited this lady… remember the one who likes to call me over and over and leave the same exact message a dozen times, at three-minute intervals, on my voicemail? Very, very nice lady who lives in the most awful of neighborhoods. Very organized, too, apparently. Her kitchen didn’t have a table either, but the fridge was covered with post-it notes. As was part of the bathroom mirror and most of one wall in her bedroom. In big block letters on one of those post-its was my name and phone number. Next to it was my business card, labeled also in big block letters, “CASEWORKER”. Next to that she’d printed out my field and office schedule.


Explains a lot though, probably.

Mind you, I’m not making fun exactly… just sort of pondering what to do with these glimpses into other people’s lives and homes.

10 thoughts on “Sit for a spell, but not here”

  1. Everyone is weird….except me….I make perfect sense.
    I guess that’s what everyone thinks.

    but where does he sit?

  2. I’m constantly amazed at how differently people live and perceive the world that me. It’s amazing most of us get along as well as we do. Very interesting post.

  3. It’s a fully different dynamic when you are on someone else’s turf. When I did home health for years it would amaze me how people would see to the tiniest of details, and yet might not have a clean towel in the house. It’s a real education when you see people where they live.

  4. Boggling, this person was probably exceptionally limber. I confess that for a time I thought of living without chairs because it is better for the back and hips if you can do it. I couldn’t afford getting low a table (and was unwilling to cut mine down) so this experiment went untried.

  5. I have been in homes on my job with chairs that I would never sit on due to incredible filth. I visited one lady who had lots of furniture but it was all covered in plastic so it wouldn’t get soiled. She even ate standing up at the sink. And I always stood. Needless to say these people do have issues….

  6. Like Ruth said, “needless to say these people do have issues…” That’s why you are there? Very odd – no chairs. I would have been so tempted to inquire, why? Where do you sit?

    I remember once having to visit the home of a swim team family who lived nearby, just to pick up paperwork. I was inside the most filthy home imaginable (I won’t describe it here). In shock, I went home and took a hot shower.

    You never know…

  7. Just this week my daughter started her new job as an official MSW in San Francisco. I’m going to send the link to this post to her. Thank goodness for those like you with big hearts, Laura.

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