Friday, January 20, 2006


I'm re-reading an old, short book I liked as a teenager, because it felt so close to my experience.

It is called "A Very Long Way From Anywhere Else" and it is by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Here is an excerpt from the book that I think captures a bit of what it is like to be a geek in high school, at least for me:
"I think what you mostly do when you find you really are alone is to panic. You rush to the opposite extreme and pack yourself into groups -- clubs, teams, societies, types. You suddenly start dressing exactly like the others. It's a way of being invisible... You have to be with it. That's a peculiar phrase, you know? With it. With what? With them. With the others. All together. Safety in numbers. I'm not me... I'm a popular kid. I'm my friends' friend... You can't see me, all you can see is us. We're safe."

"And if We see You standing alone by yourself, if you're lucky, we'll ignore you. If you're not lucky, we might throw rocks. Because we don't like people standing there ... reminding us that we're each alone and none of us is safe."

"I tried. I really did. I tried so hard it makes me sick to think about it... But none of it worked. I don't know why. Sometimes I wonder if introverts have a peculiar smell, which only extraverts are aware of."

"Some kids really don't have much Me at all. They truly are part of the Group. But a lot of them just act -- pretend -- the way I tried to. Their heart isn't really in the groups, but still they get along, they get by. I wish I could. I honestly wish I could be a good hypocrite. It doesn't hurt anybody, and it sure makes life easier. But I never could fool anybody. They knew I wasn't interested in what interested them, and they despised me for it, and I despised them for despising me."


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