technologically leaving

Click, delete. Yes, I would really like to delete. Goodbye, files, one by one.

I think it’s weird, how I kept all these vitally important files on my computer, months and years after they were created. Yes, occasionally they were useful, but now that I’m leaving, I don’t need “Pizza and Books Press Release Summer 2008” for any reason. I don’t need a spreadsheet that tells me when everyone’s fall schedules are. I don’t need the lyrics to “The Wheels on the Bus” sized out to print on huge-ass paper.

This reminds me of the winter of 2003. I was home for Christmas, my first break after leaving for college, and instead of testing my parent’s control over me or basking in holiday cheer, I decided I wanted to go through the giant Rubbermaids in my basement labelled “Jessica’s School Stuff.” When I moved to Mount Pleasant, mere months ago, I was unflinchingly sentimental. I wanted my room to stay as it was, the things in my closet to remain untouched, even though I knew Caroline would be moving in as soon as I left. I filled these Rubbermaids even fuller than they were before, and refused to throw anything away.

In December, I went out to the garage to get the big trash bags.

This was probably the day when I started to shed my severe pack-rat ways. I flipped through crinkled paper after crinkled paper. Third grade math assignment? Gone. Butterfly made of crinkled tissue paper and glitter? Goodbye. As I held each childhood artifact, instinct took over. I kept a little file of my report cards, for fun, but threw out everything else that was printed from a computer.

The things I kept: storybooks with covers made of wrapping paper and cereal boxes. The 4th grade biography of my friend Colleen – my first A+. The 4th grade marble notebooks where I earned Incomplete after Incomplete every stinking week because I couldn’t turn a dang thing in on time. The art projects that turned out better than I thought they would. The empty folder with an envelope taped to the inside. My best friend put it there, I remember, and gave it to me. She put stickers in the envelope, the 2×2 inch square with 5 different tiny animals.

So I click, delete, click, delete, thinking of those animal stickers, thinking how I will keep anything that defined my time here at the library, or that I have touched – the REAL me has touched. I will toss every J Series Project file (even though I *almost* poured my soul into it), but I will keep a copy of the coolest fliers I made, advertising my best program ideas I had. And I will keep an Excel spreadsheet that lists every book I’ve read since 2006.

I hold each file under my mouse for a moment, remembering two years ago when I worked on the Code of Conduct procedures for the coming school year, which resulted in MUCH improved behavior after school. I find a mostly finished list of Horse Books for J readers and move it to the Staff Drive for someone else to find after I’m gone. I don’t need to keep the Word Document where I listed Sarah Palin’s credentials alongside Barack Obama’s to shove in my father’s face, but it reminds me of how amazing and exciting and nasty last fall was. I print something that might look nice a library portfolio some day.

I have an exit interview. A party. A desk shift. And one last writer’s workshop. 8 more hours. There are zero books left on my library card.

I click, delete, yes I would like to delete.

But to the rest, I will say goodbye.


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