Just what the title says. When did it happen?
I skipped or partially-skipped 63 days of high school, when I was a junior. That's just over a third of the entire academic year... some days I obviously showed up and went home around lunchtime (after doing math and science, because they're hard) but I just ignored Advanced Placement American Literature and Composition, which was 6th period/my final class of the day, for over a third of the year.
That was the year I got the highest score possible on the AP end-of-year exam, thereby earning myself a year's worth of English credit, at the university of my choice. I did, I admit, have to re-take Algebra II and Chemistry; but I passed 'em fine the next year (B's) when I only missed, maybe, a quarter of the year, and had to take Algebra III at the same time.
I read Catch-22 and more or less understood it when I was about 13. I used to get perfect scores on history tests, and earned extra credit through my well-reasoned and beautifully crafted responses to essay questions. In spite of the minor grammatical errors contained within my written-at-2-a.m.-papers, which always prevented me from achieving an A+, my 11th grade English teacher told me I was 1 of her 2 best writers (in the school then, and possibly that she'd ever taught).
I used to spend hours upon hours just thinking about things; some of them were even useful things. When I was a child--a child, child, 8 or 9 maybe--I told my mom with utter certainty that drinking milk would settle my upset stomach, before I ever heard the words 'acidic' and 'alkaline'. I used to listen to grown-ups' conversations and chime in, cutting through their bullshit, to announce the bottom line, amidst half-amused, half-uneasy stares. The word most often used to describe me would have been 'precocious'--if there'd been anyone in the house, other than me, who knew that word.
And I'm not bragging. It's not. I didn't think I was all that bright--I was just myself, you know, and I tried to do the best I could, with what I had--but even I had to agree, yes, I put a lot of work in (sometimes) but my results were pretty consistently excellent, occasionally even spectacular. I wasn't as bright as I seemed, as a child... but I'm reasonably confident that my intelligence was above average, at least.
So why. Why is it, now, that a girl who read a 1,000 page easy-reading novel at the age of 10, and a 1,000 page classic literature novel at the age of 17, is suddenly incapable of reading a 1,000 page serious novel, at 27? Surely I should have made some progress between now and then, in terms of reading ability/comprehension... but no. I look at my serious, highly-recommended, 1,000 page work of literature, and I just want to go to the bookshelf, and grab the latest Jodi Picoult, Marian Keyes, Tony Parsons novel, etc etc etc.
When did I become stupid?