Four years ago now I started school for the last time as a teacher. I didn’t know at the start of the year that it would be the last. I had planned to teach until I died if possible. But it wasn’t possible. By March I had to make a hard decision and report to the administration that I was going to retire. Because of deteriorating health and family difficulties with finance and schooling for the kids, I had no other workable choice. I really doubted four years ago that I would still be alive four years later.
Today, I dropped my daughter off to start her sophomore year in high school. This is actually the second week for number two son, who can now drive himself to school, saving further wear and tear on my aging, disintegrating self. Will I still be alive next year to start a fifth year of retirement? Does it matter? I am already victorious in ways in which I didn’t believe I would be.
And then, Hurricane Harvey decided to show up and remind us that we are all mortal and none of us have a guarantee that we will get to start another school year. Of course, the hurricane is not directly threatening me. It is in Houston, and I am a long way away in the Dallas area. But it still has an effect. I have former students and their families living in the Houston area. One of them told me she was safe on Facebook, but she was shaken by the devastation she saw around her. She wanted to help in rescue efforts. I told her to please take care of herself first, that she could only help others after she was firmly okay herself. She told me that she always loved my class and made me cry. I know she will probably be all right, but she will take risks and act all heroic without regard for herself. That’s just who she is. And I have other former students in that area just like her that I haven’t heard from yet.
And while the hurricane gives him cover, the orange-faced Bozo in chief has had a great couple of weeks encouraging racists and pardoning racist criminals and possibly even sending my number one son to Afghanistan in a surge that goes against campaign promises to not get us more involved in foreign wars. Now he wants to take Afghan resources and enrich himself and the evil corporate slugs he works constantly to enrich. Jabba the Trump in his full glory. I didn’t vote for this parasite, but despite the fact that I have no voter guilt to overcome, I am definitely not happy with him. And how much more damage does he have to do before somebody stops him? The party in control hates him too, but they can do all the evil they want and he’ll ultimately get the blame, so their voter-suppression tactics will continue to let them hold on to power.
But, even though I still have to remove the swimming pool or risk losing the house, and I have to finish the paperwork for becoming bankrupt, school has started one more time… in spite of the fact that everything around it really, really sucks… in the sense of a vacuum cleaner.