Sunday 14 November 1999


Pic of the day: OK, not your typical high school library. Wait, how would you know? Ever been there? I sure can't remember ours. At all...


A nice and sunny Sunday. The sunshine revealed caches of dust, which I removed before they could become breeding ground for the dust bunnies. Apart from that, I did little or nothing useful. It sure feels good.

The day is quite short now, and the sunshine but a fleeting guest. And there is yet more than a month left till the darkest night. A month of rapid descent into darkness, if memory serves. Yet then it will be over for this time, and the day will begin to grow. Not to mention that it will be Christmas. Not to mention that my best friend will be back in Norway again. Not to mention that I'll have a few days of vacation again. Not to mention ... no, I guess it's best not to mention that. :)


While getting my daily fix of Nova Notes, I read the entry about his High School memories. I can certainly see why he would not want to attend a high scool reunion! And of course, it made me think back to my old high school days, or its equivalent in our school system. That would be what was then called "gymnas" (but was rarely sports related, actually) and which is now called VGS. The year I was 15, I moved from my home on the west coast of Norway to the south coast to attend this school in Eigersund.

It is strange to most people that I felt no loss or homesickness, even though I insist that my parents were (and are) among the nicest people I have ever met. My brothers were a more mixed bunch, but we were all friends at the time I left and have been ever since, to the best of my knowledge. And yet, there was only the most fleeting amount of sadness as I turned at the gate and looked back at our farm for the last time in ten months. The song "Seasons in the sun" came unbidden to my mind. Then I turned and we left, my brother and I. He was to serve in the military, if I remember correctly. I was to attend high school.

In the beginning, it was not so different. But at this time, a lot of thing were changing in my mind. I had somehow always counted myself as a christian, but around this time it started to get personal. Though it took some months before I understood what effects that could have on my life and behavior. I turned inward, and in there something ignited, an Awakening of my human spirit, an irreversible change. For better or for worse, free will was mine; freedom like I had never dreamt of, scaring in its repercussions on my life and those around me. I learned not only the delight of freedom, but the existensial fear that it brings ... to be responsible, with no one else to blame, for every little choice. It still scares me, though I would not be without it.

Another thing that changed was that nobody knew me. They did not know that I used to be small and weak and sick and stupid. I got a new beginning, and I started to grow. In fact, I started to grow physically. I was small for my age when I arrived, but I was among the highest in my class when I graduated. I was childish with a slightly feminine slant when I arrived, but I grew into a man during those three years. And along with my body grew my mind. My grades climbed steadily until I was one of the best.

I was also lucky in that this was a right-wing district, where mental prowess was valued over the physical. After a while I was readily accepted almost everywhere I went. In politics, I was fairly conservative myself. I did take part in school politics, though in all honesty the students' representatives were almost powerless. It was mostly symbolic. For the first time, I found out that I was a talented speaker. I have struggled against that ever since. It might be that I overestimate myself (again), but at least my class brought a sharp change in the political climate at school. And I do remember exposing some of the dirty tricks of the communists who had been "in power" (such as it was). They liked to arrange things so that all who were against their policy had to vote against. Publicly. I would insist that people were alloved to vote blank, and that important votes be secret and in writing. Obvious in any civilization, but high school is hardly a civilized place by default.

Even the religious people accepted me, even though I was pretty radical at the time. I was not nearly as humble as I am today, either. It seems sometimes that my entire life as a grown-up has been mostly to teach me humility. But I guess people like kids with fire in their spirit. It was a good time.

I was always alone. I understand that this is hard on some people, but to me, it was life. I have always needed space. I had very little contact with the other students after school. I did not go to their parties and did not join their clubs. And I did not fall in love. I tried, really, but then as later it was just acting. I guess Aylin is right, that you cannot really fall in love unless you are lonesome. And I was alone, alone to the bone, but not lonesome. In fact there was a French song which we for some reason heard (probably as part of our French class) and it went like this: "Je ne suis jamais seul, avec ma solitude". I am never alone, with my loneliness. I tried to catch that song with all my mind, because I knew I might never hear it again. And I did not. Yet it was probably that day I realized that I was in love with my aloneness. Only a generation too late did I meet someone who could enter into my bubble of aloneness and be there alone with me. I never knew that this was possible, and so I did not miss it. Though I did try.

That's about it. High school (or its equivalent in Norwegian) was not the best time of my life, but it was the fastest improving time of my life.

This entry is NOT part of the Writing in the sand collab.

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