They are calling it a "voluntary involuntary transfer" in a nod to their administrative predecessor Josef Stalin.
I am saying goodbye to my classroom of the last eight years, the classroom where all three of my sons were born at the hospital, where I gained ten pounds each semester, where my ketchup collection is housed, where Granmuttie sat dusty and where Gweenbrick was born one spring day when I had nothing in my pockets but a dream and a Rolo.
It would be so easy to say fie on you to them all, with their proactive penetrative futures and five year plans of intesseract Power Pointage. If I could make all those smug administrators say that previous sentence five times really fast, by God I would, and then laugh and laugh and cruelly laugh at the infantile blubbering of their vestibular contortions. Because that is how dark I am at my center: I want important people to say "choo-choo" aloud and I want hateful glee at the comical ooing of their lips to overwhelm me.
They are moving me to a classroom run by an electrocuted hummingbird who believes all management is best done at the microcosmic level. She hovers, flits, speaks in great whirly sunbursts with her hands. She presses a large pile of papers at me that I am to use for charting the minute to minute breakthroughs of each student as they defy all expectations and have red poo in lieu of brown.
I should be honest and tell her I am not going to do it, or that if she insists, I will only end up fabricating all of it a moment before the deadline arrives; thereby skewing the curve, the careful spread sheets and pretty graphs she will assemble by years end and pass reverently into the hands of parents, where they will give the novel a wary glance and think how fortuitous since their home has just that morning come up short for toilet paper.
I should be really honest and tell her my prime years in Special Education slipped past me and it would be best for all of us if I was allowed to sit in a corner quietly, sip from a vat of coffee, and doodle buttocks.
But this new classroom, this freshman prison, does not even have the luxury of a coffee pot.
"Coffee maker? Like in the room?" Their eyes bug and sweat at my question. "No no no, we can't have anything like that in this classroom. There was an incident."
Like when? Like last week? A month?
"It was like, what, four-five years ago? Before I was here, I know that. Somebody did something and that was the end of all of that."
MY GOD , THE END OF ALL OF WHAT??? ALL OF THAT COFFEE STUFF?!? I want to scream at these fresh new faces, air my laundry: I have no vices anymore, none! I surrendered what addictions I had, I gave them up for the good of society, and the one blip of hope I brought back with me is that caffeinated bean, that godkissed carbuncle of roasted flavor and late morning jitters, and because some autistic roamer perhaps flailed his galumpy arms too spiritedly and upended a scalding pot, you had the sheriff dismantle the entire still?
I mean, when Bikram, my beloved Bikram, sprinted into the kitchen and, giggling maniacally, shattered a full pot on the back of his head, then laid flat in the glass shards while singing "Aye Aye Aye-ye-aye aye, aye ye aye ye aye what's going on???" in a lunatic falsetto, did we toss our bags of beans, shutter our filters, and drink no more forever? Not even! I procured a second pot from the supply cupboard and we had freshness all brewed up by the time his father had arrived to take him to the mental hospital.
The cream I believe was C.F. Burger and the mug declared "Teaching is a Work of Heart" in great capitals along it's side, a bright red heart expertly stenciled there for emphasis, in case one puzzled at its meaning.
There is not an encouraging or supportive mug to be found in this new classroom, however; not a snack cupboard brimming with cereal, not a jar of loose chocolates. I opened the refrigerator and could only gape at it's white sterility, the sole disruption of its emptiness a pocket sized box of Arm and Hammer.
For why? Why fight odors when there are no delicious piles of food to stink up the place?
It's then I learn that in this wild new room, teaching assistants are not allowed a lunch.
No lunch break. Almost the entirety of Gweenbrick was composed on lunch breaks. This jargon huffing harpy of a teacher has pried one claw off her white board long enough to snuff out any hope I have of ever blogging again. Readers, whoever is left of you, this move has killed us.
She approaches my new desk, which is nothing more than a glorified port-a-potty turned on its side and islanded at the periphery of student tables. It's like I am a student too, with my own special spot I can go to when I get too wiggly, the rounded corners and soft hollow plastic of my desk preventing me from doing any real harm.
Her mind is brimming with assignments: I did some shredding, I cut paper into quarters to be used for scrap, I duct taped down a line of cords. I counted seconds. I counted the clicks of her thinking tongue. When no one was looking, I mimed a pistol in my hand and took my own life.
I remembered a moment, long ago, when my boxing coach and occasional mentor, a gruff, jowly Englishman, tried to put a positive face on the desolations of my teenaged heart.
He was on his third pitcher of Coors, trying in vain to inscribe the Chinese character for 'change' in a puddle on the table.
"Anyways, it's the same as the one for 'opportunity'", he muttered, giving up.
I stared down at the jumble of wet napkin and smudged finger dirt. I wanted to give his calligraphic efforts the benefit of the doubt, but from any angle I could manage, it was just smears; hopeless and nonsensical.