Thursday, January 24, 2008

this will eventually gross you out

Sorry for my internet absence lately. Remember November, aka: NaBloPoMo, when I posted something every single day? Wasn't that so fun?

But then I met Mahavira on November 30th and we've basically been on one, long date ever since. Which means I'm sadly neglecting this little digital outlet. Though I guess I haven't really *needed* an outlet for all my rantings and ravings since I met Mahavira. *She's* been my outlet.

Anyway, I'm finally home alone for the first time since last Sunday and here's my chance to write a little something about life and things. Oh! I know what to tell you! I can tell you about the grossest thing I have ever done in my whole life. Why? Because it happened at work tonight.

For those of you who don't already know, I work with homeless crazy people at a kinda shelter downtown. Anyway, it can be a pretty gross place and I have done many, many gross things since I have worked there (plunging toilets full of shit is one example, cleaning up vomit is another) -- but what I did tonight really takes the cake.

Basically, I helped a client cut a giant mat (matte?) of hair off her head. She's got OCD and goes through long phases (like years at a time) when she can't wash her hair, so she puts it up in a pony tail or braid, puts a hat over it, and leaves it. Years of friction, between the hat and the pillow, create this enormous matted knot of hair, sort of like a helmet, all over her head.

Because she's OCD, she can't just shave it all off and start over. No sirree, she has to try and "salvage" her hair. A few days ago she told me she'd been "working" on her hair (trying to untangle it) and had decided that some of the mat would have to be cut off. Tonight she enlisted me to help.

I gathered up some supplies (a comb, a pair of hair scissors, a stool for her to sit on, a garbage bag sliced open to use as an apron to shield her clothes) and we locked ourselves in the big bathroom on the first floor. She's had a knit hat over her hair for a long time, so I really had no idea what I'd find when she took that hat off. It was intense. What seemed small under the hat turned out to be huge. A huge, thick mat of hair.

The first thing I noticed, as she took off the various other hairbands in place under the hat, was a yellow crust in the top layers of the mat. I knew she'd been trying to work the tangles out and had mentioned using conditioner and detangler, so I just assumed that was the source of the yellow crust. I took some time sizing up the problem and, like a surgeon, I chose the best place to cut. I wrestled the scissors into place and started slicing my way through the matted hair and yellow crust. Eventually I pulled back a great flap of mat, revealing more stringy, tangled hair beneath.

I also revealed a great deal of yellow chunks and gobs. "Did you say you were using conditioner to detangle?" I asked her, poking at the gobs with the comb. "No," she said. "I should, but I haven't yet."

So. The yellow gobs were not conditioner. They could only be massive collections of head oil, solidified. They looked like the yellow globs of chicken fat that congeal after chicken grease has been allowed to cool. Her hair was full of these disgusting yellow gobs, hunks of head-fat, it makes my skin crawl just to think about it. Fuck. Solid gobs of head-fat. Solid, yellow globules of congealed head oil. How many different ways can I say it to make you understand how gross it was?

It could've been worse, I know. At least her head wasn't teeming with lice, that right there is a miracle. And, surprisingly, it didn't stink. It just had head-smell. Regular old head-smell. At least it wasn't sour or rotton smelling. I'm serious, if a rotton smell accompanied all that head-fat, I would have vomited on her as soon as the reality of it all hit me. That would have been the end of it.

As it was, I pulled it together and managed to detangle a huge amount of her massive knot. The head-fat never ceased to disgust me, though I admit it was sickly fascinating and I definitely anticipate having disturbing dreams about it when I finally get to sleep.

And, strange as it might sound, this is just one more reason I love my job. I get to be involved in the weirdest shit imagineable. And I get paid for it!


Blogger not drowning waving said...

oh god what a story.. but what a relief for the Oasis!

i think i retched a couple of times reading though...... can you follow up with something about clouds and rainbows and skipping through fields of wild flowers or something??!!!

good news about the one long date too:-))))))) happy for you:-))))

1:01 AM  
Blogger roro said...




7:31 PM  

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