Our world revolved around school rules, rules as mysterious and

arcane as the murkier corners of a papal cabal. Bottom

button of blazer open or not, left hand in pocket

or not, diagonal or straight crossing of the courtyard, running

or walking on the lawn, books in right hand or

left, blue ink or black, cap tipped forward or back.

There was no cribsheet, no list to consult, no house

book embossed Rules. Regulations merely existed, bobbing to the surface

of school life. We took their randomness, their rigidity, their sheer

number, for granted, and we obeyed because they were there.


Paraphrases from the novel What I Was by Meg Rosoff.