What was moving out of your parents’ home like?
It’s been a gradual process of going through things for garbage and donation piles, putting them in boxes, pulling them out and going through them again, putting them back in boxes, and shipping them piecemeal across the Atlantic.
What makes popular kids in high school popular, and how were you like or unlike them?
I never understood this. I conceived of our high school’s popularity model as circular rather than a straight up-and-down pecking order. Though while there was no real apex predator, so to speak, there were definitely lowest-tier untouchables (if I can mix my metaphors a little). Everyone else was mostly in the middle and it seemed that some groups had more visibility than others, but each group had their own likes and dislikes.
Being smart and a dedicated student definitely did not make you unpopular in my school. My schedule was filled with gifted classes (and then later Advanced Placement classes), and my classmates in there were generally well-liked — the same core group that regularly won student body elections, homecoming court, prom king and queen, and those other more or less objective measures of popularity. Being at that bottom rung, at least by high school, seemed to be about weirdness coupled with academic struggles.
Nonetheless, none of the “popular” kids ever traveled in my circles (except when our interests overlapped in extracurriculars) and they never really opened up and let me travel in theirs. I admit to being fat and weird; maybe that was enough to keep me locked out.
When you were in high school, where in the neighborhood did schoolmates hang out?
Presuming a “neighborhood” out in rural areas is a bit much, considering that a drive from one side of the district to the other could easily take forty-five minutes or even an hour, depending on the weather and how well the roads in question were being maintained at that point in time. If we hung out anywhere, it was at each other’s houses.
What was learning to drive like?
Neither the most nor the least stressful thing I’ve ever done.
What were your most difficult and least difficult subjects in high school?
I did well in all of the assorted language and “language arts” classes: English, French, and German. I also enjoyed social studies and most of the sciences, though the teachers were hit and miss. I struggled the most with math, despite being in what would have been called the “honors” classes in another school system, and I absolutely resented physics. That said, I think my struggles reflected my attitude towards my teachers more than my own ability.