A Good Head of Hair: “Putting Timebanking into Practice”

By Grace Maselli

I went to a friend’s house recently to wash her hair. She’d just had shoulder surgery and needed help with something I take for grantedthe ability to easily execute self-care. Bandaged and still in the early phase of recovery, “Pamela” cared about hygiene. Truth be told, it was a hairy situation for me at first. I hadn’t washed another person’s head of hair since my children were small enough to fit inside a kitchen sink. (On my worry list: unintended re-injury of Pam’s shoulder, soap in her eyes…) Happily, it went well and my friend smelled fresh as a daisy on a sunshine-y morning. I even played full-on hairdresser and combed her hair, added product, including a spray to spike her hairdo just the way she likes. Heretofore, Pamela didn’t know from timebanking…so I pitched away. “But what can I offer?” she asked in earnest. “Just about anything you might need or like to have a helping hand with yourself: car rides, organization,  sorting storage boxes,  gardening, reading to a house-bound person who could use some human contact.”

My plan as of this writing is to pick Pam up and drive her to the TBT August monthly meeting to get more than her head wet, but her feet too. Then I took to Page 34 of a long-ago written but still relevant missive published by “TimeBanks USA” in their, “Guidebook 1: Exploring the Big Ideas of TimeBanking, Transforming Time, Reweaving Community”. Page 34 offers the following suggestions for ways to contribute and receive timebanking tasks that map to many of our own TBT offerings:

Adult literacy
Car care
Child care
Clerical support
Computer assistance
Computer literacy
Consumer support
Craft lessonsErrands
Financial advice
Group Activities
Heavy lifting
Home Repair
House watching
Information sharing
Jewelry makingLegal assistance
Light housekeepingMassage
Meal preparation
Medical monitoring
Music lessons
Personal grooming
Pet CareReading
Resource sharingSewing/Mending
Translation services


I reckon I engaged in two activities with Pam that appear on this wonderful list: “Personal grooming” and “Befriending.” You’ll notice too that “haircuts” is colorized and bolded. It’ll be a long time before I ever take scissors to head again, now that my children are teens and the days of unprofessional trims with craft scissors are behind us. But I think I may add hair washing to a potentially ever-expanding list of TBT skills I could offer right here on the peninsula in Tampa Bay.