grubby |ˈgrəbē| (adjective)
- dirty; grimy : the grubby face of a young boy.
- figurative disreputable; sordid : grubby little moneylenders
And that is exactly what the word means. After all, who could argue with the dictionary? However, definitions found in books are usually such abstract things, giving you only a vague mental picture of what that word could mean. Indeed, words like grubby are themselves often shadowy entities, little murky clouds your mind lightly skirts without much deep thought when they pop up in a sentence, hazy fog that barely hints at the shape of its underlying physical reality.
Real definitions of such words are not to be found in dictionaries, those arbiters of linguistic truth. No, they are to be found in the real, physical world, in the tangibility of our daily experiences. Thus, I propose a different definition of the word “grubby,” a definition that that I have compiled quite unconsciously. A definition that the other day I finally realized had developed when I was thinking back over my day working at the school. So, here I give to you the real life definition of grubby, as found in the life of Laura.
-It’s the feel of a little hand in yours all sticky with God knows what after lunch.
-It’s those little fingers that I see diggin’ away at the gold they know they’re bound to find way at the back – no, at the very root – of the nose.
-It’s little eager faces smudged with dirt after playing on the playground.
-It’s shaggy bangs on shaggy little heads that have been plastered to one side by the deluge of sweat pouring from energetic foreheads during a rousing, dusty game of soccer.
-It’s trouser knees covered with dusty gravel after kneeling in the sand over a round of marbles, knees that shed pebbles and particles as their owner jumps up and down in the classroom.
-It’s little hands begrimed with the moist playground sand they were painstakingly gathering into little mountains after it fell off onto the floor during assembly.
-It’s little fingers powdered with chalk after haphazardly erasing a word on the board.
-It’s the food, sweat, dirt, boogers, sand, dust, and chalk you can feel being transferred to you whenever your students reach out to get your attention or affectionately hold your hand.
-It’s my students, precious little grubby things that they are.