Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 04 2011

Things I Leave Behind

Tempted to make a countdown of “days until I can ride public transportation” or “time until I start collecting until my unemployment,” I’ve opted for the much more poignant list of “Things I’ll be Leaving Behind.” This sounds, at first, like a resentful list of things that I’m happy to be leaving in the Mississippi dry-heat dust, but that’s not how I intend it. Rather, it’s a list of the things over the past three years to which I haven’t grown accustomed. I’ve been working through the full five stages of grief as I prepare to move to Chicago, and as part of the second, or “anger” stage, I’ve decided to make a list of the things that I’ll be alright gaining distance from. Here are the big 3:

1. Cheesy Breakfasts. I’m not talking about omelets, or cheesy grits. In fact, cheesy grits is (are? plural?) something I will take with me, with all its buttery, salty, “Southern Healthy” goodness. No, the cheesy breakfasts I’m talking about are the ones that this great nation is serving in the public schools, and it looks like this: take a breakfast item (see: muffin, poptart, waffle) and place upon it one room temperature slice of American cheese. My kids EAT IT UP. Yesterday’s breakfast was those double chocolate-chip muffins, heated while still in the wrapper, with cheese on top. Jeffery ate three. Farewell to you, cheesy breakfasts.

2. Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus and potlucks and women in hats and stuff. But the deal about Sunday and small town Mississippi is that the world SHUTS DOWN, and I am ready to maybe be able to eat out on Sunday. Or buy stuff if I need it. Or get something for school on Monday (though soon that won’t be an issue? So lets say in this theoretical that I would need to get something for my really high-powered business suit job presentation on Monday). Currently, the only benefit of Sunday in the Delta is that all the cops, sherriffs, and state patrol men are at church from roughly 4am to 7pm, so you can go WHATEVER SPEED YOU WANT and everybody is too busy catchin the Holy Ghost to notice. Farewell and Amen, Sunday.

3. Wal-Mart. Ok, yuppies, I’m going to give you 10 seconds to just yell at me through the internet about how I shouldn’t shop there anyway. Then you can all take your heads out of your butts and think about where the HELL ELSE I WOULD BUY EVERYTHING ELSE I WOULD NEED WHILE I MAKE NO MONEY TRYING TO FIX AMERICA. Ok, thanks. So back to me not missing Wal-Mart. Really, it’s more that I won’t miss several aspects of Wal-Mart. I won’t miss calling in my prescriptions several days ahead of time, arriving to pick them up, and still having to wait 45 minutes. I won’t miss them having 30 check-out aisles, but only 3 open, all operated by one-eyed World War I veterans with hooks that can’t open the change drawer who have to call for the price on every piece of produce because people in Mississippi don’t eat produce. I won’t miss them advertising nail polish, but never never never ever having the colors I want. I won’t miss the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS I SPENT THERE, that I’m sure went directly to fund terrorism and club seals and kill off old part-time employees that the ghost of Sam Walton didn’t want to pay their health care. And I won’t miss the fact that a trip to buy coffee creamer, allergy medicine, and a pack of pencils took THREE HOURS. Good riddance, Wal-Mart. I want a refund.

I could have listed for ages, but I decided to abbreviate my rage and move on to the other stages of grief. Below is a short list of other things I’m hoping I can leave here:

  • those little silver bugs that don’t squish under your feet that are kind of pointy on one end and i really hate them. they look like those bugs that went in your brain in that horror movie with Usher. Yuck. I hate them.
  • turtle mating season (aka: turtle in the road season). Horrible sounds.
  • Racism.
  • My only radio station choices being conservative talk radio, gospel music, or Brad Paisley.
  • Inept people in school leadership. Hmm… that one might be hard to shake.
  • My total inability to work out, save for one year where I had a pseudo-membership to the YMCA of Greenville. That kind of counted, except that I usually went to Taco Bell afterwards.

I’ve now arrived happily at stage 3 (bargaining) of my 5 stages of grief, by saying this:

“Ok life, let’s do this. Let’s take Chicago, where I’m going. Big city, public transit, lots to do, lots of people, lots of options. Probably overwhelming, probably cold, probably expensive. Good food. Now let’s take the Delta, where I’ve been. Tiny towns, long highways, fantastic culture, amazing people (small yet surprisingly intense amounts of racism). Good food. Now let’s find a happy middle ground. And let’s set an end goal.”

I’ve always been one to calendar out my life to help me cope with change.

5 Responses

  1. briana

    Chocolate chip muffins with a slice of American cheese?? *unintentionally gags*

    • megh

      you should see honey buns with american cheese. yummmmy!

  2. Miss Baldwin

    Not sure if you’re from Chicago or not, but I’m currently in school in the suburbs and am going to miss so much about this place when I graduate in 4 short days! You’ll love it here :)

  3. I currently live in Chicago, and am considering teaching in the Delta. Any words of wisdom for me? By the way, you will love it here!!

    [email protected]

  4. Kris

    I know I’m reading this post late, and you already decided to stay in the Delta – but just a note on Chicago since that is where I currently live… if you want to escape racism, I wouldn’t advise going to the most segregated city in America. I love Chicago for all it has to offer, but everyday I am reminded of the blatant racial tensions, segregation, and redlining that occurs in this city.

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