February 1, 2020:

I re-entered the gifted program suddenly without warning after learning toward the end of tenth grade that the kids were almost entirely unsupervised.

It suggested the perfect air cover, and it was. The authorities would assume I was in the library, when in reality I'd be at the beach, or on the UCSD campus amid the turmoil and excitement. Or home getting drunk or high with my neighborhood not-exactly-girlfriend, where some hypnotic all-day not-quite-sex was the icing on top. Perfect.

Re-joining in eleventh grade implied a renewed cultural break from the kids around me. But by then I had no single culture from which to break. I was again the working-class kid in the white-collar program, but I was also the near-runaway spending more time at UCSD than at home, the massive truant with virtually zero relationship to high school, the experienced drug and alcohol abuser, the military historian and wargame expert, and the early-onset teenage depressive. Where each of these identities but the last came with a different circle, which did not overlap, and did not know of each other, and did not suspect. What was my culture? I suppose the shortest definition would be "mistrust".