Cleaning Out

I keep blowing my nose. Wet, snotty, and gross, I go through two and three tissues at a time. My wife says I'm getting the cold out of me, purging myself of the virus. I'm not so sure, but the alternative is to sniff or let it drip, so I blow my nose and blow my nose hoping she is right. I have to clean it out of me one way or another.

In my classroom I saw a stack of folders and paper on one shelf, more piled atop the filing cabinet, and still more near my desk. I picked up the first stack and began filing. Half of it went into the recycling bin (which I'm pretty sure gets dumped into the garbage, but what can you do?). I did that stack, the one on the filing cabinet, and the one near my desk. I pulled old files out of the filing cabinet and cleared two shelves behind my desk. The recycling bin is chock full as is the garbage can. The room is a little bit cleaned out.

My plan at the end of June was to simply walk away from the classroom. I don't have much there anyway. All my things fit in my messenger bag. I'll wipe the computer drive, close blinds, lock the door, and leave the keys. Stuff on the wall will stay. The books will remain shelved in the classroom library. Student computers will lie dormant. Old textbooks, unused in my nine years there, will continue to gather dust. My standing desk will remain up on cinder blocks. I didn't think I would clean out much of anything.

Today I did more cleaning out than expected and it felt good. I got rid of things written by students no longer attending the program. I purged ancient curricula and threw away the three-ring binders in which they have slumbered for a decade. And that was that. There isn't much else to clean out. I still have forty days of work there that I'll ride out like the cold lodged in my nose and lungs. Time is the only thing that will make it better, but every so often it makes sense to clean things out, blow my nose, and try to breathe more clearly. That way I walk out of this place at the end rather than running or, heaven forbid, striking a match and setting the bridge on fire.

Already I'm kind of walking away and where I'm going is becoming clearer with every bit of cleaning I do inside and out.