In fact, Paul is not like us. His parents both came from Christian Science backgrounds and didn’t take any pain relievers as kids. By the 80s his grandparents had become regular boring Protestant yuppies so they weren’t as afraid to use modern medical conveniences. He moved here from an immigrant neighborhood in the city because his mother got a job at the local bank. Also, his parents felt like getting away from the city and into a larger house in the suburbs. Since his old neighborhood has a lot of immigrants, he had lots of friends that were more like him instead of us. It does explain why Paul has all the answers in Spanish class; it turns out he is fluent after using the language so often with his friends from his home town. But coming to a town with a limited number of kids like him, including nobody in our grade, is hard on him.
Now that I think about it, I wonder why there aren’t many immigrants in our town. There have been many successful ones since the standards were relaxed over a dozen years ago, so I don’t think money is the problem. But I guess people want to stay with others like them, which I can understand considering the treatment Paul is getting from people here. It’s the same with whole towns that are entirely made up of people like him and carry on with a lifestyle that seems odd compared to the rest of the country. Their schools have no safe rooms, the students have to sit in lectures the entire period, and there’s an emphasis on group projects, presentations, and busy work. It sounds like a nightmare. There’s also a complete lack of public transportation if it isn’t an urban area and some people constantly throw parties that prevent their neighbors from sleeping or working. But that’s the way they used to do things, and even here we sometimes have to deal with the old methods.
Unfortunately for Paul, he’s going to have to do a lot of adjusting coming to our town. He’s already begun to speak up less in classes that aren’t Spanish, he shares less when our history teacher still asks us what we did during the weekend, and other kids aren’t complaining that he’s annoying them with greeting them in the hallway all the time. He says that in his old town kids were always chatting in the hallways on their way to class, and sometimes couldn’t make it to class even when given five minutes. I’ve very rarely seen anyone late for class here even though we have four minutes. I thought it might be because our school was smaller, but he said they’re about the same size. I guess when we’re told that we have four minutes to get to class; it means to us that we have four minutes to go to class and nothing else. It’s just another small difference that Paul has to get used to.