It is election day. And I am in Oregon.
Usually, I get to watch American elections in the isolation of my little village. But not this year. I will be in the midst of the melee. Waiting to see if voters are willing to soldier on or to take out the trash.
There will be no choice for me. Taking out the trash is why I am in Oregon.
When I left here almost four years ago, I left one major task unfinished -- when I decided not to sell the Salem house before I headed south.
I had started dividing my possessions into piles: garbage, Salvation Army donations, things south-bound, things to be stored. I stopped in mid-task once I realized I could simply ignore the hard choices -- a bit like our avoidance-prone politicians.
But the time for those choices is here.
The photograph at the top of this post is symbolic of my task. It was a third bedroom I once used as an office -- and turned into a junk room on my trek south.
Almost everyone I know has a room or closet or basement or garage devoted to the memorialization of things that should be gone, but we do not have the moral courage to rid ourselves of.
This morning I will start in the office. I already have a good idea what I am facing. Almost everything is going to head to the dumpster.
Books are going to be the greatest burden. Each book means something to my life. But I seldom look at them these days. And the Mexican coast would not be kind to them. Even if I could get them there.
So far, I am not certain where a good home for them will be.
You will notice the lack of one category in my decision tree. There will be no estate sale. No lawn sale. No garage sale. No eBay account.
Even though I have a lot of items that have a respectable value (such as Roadway programs signed by stars), I do not have time to be an entrepreneur of collectibles. I will leave that to the Salvation Army.
So, early this morning, I will start sorting and tossing.
And the voters? They will make their own decisions.