I was so confused by humans. In particular, I didn’t understand the structure of a conversation – the sharing of markedly mundane observations and stories. The most celebrated members of my classes were no less mundane, only more confident and occasionally better looking. I unsuccessfully attempted to emulate them. I succeeded only in becoming boring – and mean.

There were two exceptions – my mother and sister. They said clever things, most of which I didn’t begin to understand until I was 12. In a way, I came to believe this was a norm to which one was expected to conform, despite much evidence to the contrary. (I was deeply disappointed that I never learned to tell a story so effectively.)


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