Clio Confronts Adulthood


Alice Knowlton, Editor-in-Chief

Ah, Thanksgiving. Thanks Givie. T-Giv. Turkey Death Day. This year I’m skipping my ranting about foul fowl and slimy stuffing and moving straight to the metaphorical pie course. This is also what I will be doing in a very literal sense on the day in question. Now, the tea… and by that I mean the pie… metaphorically… is this: the sacred show of sweaters and Democratic rants that is Thanksgiving with my extended family is going to feature a newcomer this year, and it isn’t one of my Relations From The South. My cousin, a shrimpy young woman, described by eyewitnesses as competent, blondish, and convincingly normal, is bringing her boyfriend to Thanksgiving. Not like, some cringy high school boyfriend. Not like, some edgy college boyfriend. A real adult with whom she is in a real adult relationship, being herself a real… adult. Can you imagine? I can’t. I remember that very same cousin eating a nice crispy snakeskin fresh off the ground on a dare and then crying to our grandparents about it because “Clio made her.” My cousin was rather deficient in honor at the age of ten. Now here we are, and this same snakeskin eating crybaby has her own dentist and her own dishwasher and her own financially and hormonally stable romantic partner. I’d like to think she’s still dishonorable just because it makes me feel better about the immutable passage of time, but that might have been one of the character flaws she fixed during the identity crisis of 2015.

Now, I have met this boyfriend before. I went to my cousin’s apartment a while back to inspect it, and he was just kind of there, much like the immense spider plant she had decided would enhance her design aesthetic. There really isn’t much to roast about the chap. His style? Polo shirts and jeans. His personality? Inoffensive to an almost offensive extreme. His dog? Cute, based on the picture he showed me on his Samsung Galaxy. Ok, I could roast the fact that he uses a Samsung Galaxy, but there’s no challenge in that. Overall, he seems perfectly decent and perfectly ordinary and perfectly functional. I confess myself disappointed. No drama, no conflict, no conclusions easily drawn about his tastes or habits. Seeing him with my own two eyes and engaging in casually awkward conversation with him only left me with more questions. What aspects of this polo shirted man attracted my cousin who had once declared she would marry a pirate and no one else? Did he know she had wanted to marry a pirate? Does he really know her at all? Do I? Furthermore, has she told him anything about me? I haven’t had him vetted yet and that could be a problem.

I suppose it was inevitable that one day amongst my kinsfolk there would come… additions to the clan, but I always figured that eventuality would remain 7-10 years away at all times. Adulthood is defying its restraining order. I could sue. I always have been in support of character development— I myself have improved wonderfully as a person, a life coach, and a ping pong player, amongst other more secret things, over the course of recent years. Still, something hurts when the character development of my significant supporting characters happens off stage where I don’t get to see it. Some small child within all of us gets irritated and throws play dough when it becomes apparent that our loved ones are capable of living their own lives independent from their relationships with us. There are always going to be parts of the lives of my cousin, and my little sister, and Sensei, my mentor and father figure, and even my pig, that I’m not a part of. There’s stuff in my life they don’t know about either, like the stash of kinder eggs and romance novels under my bed or the offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands. I’ll just have to adjust my schema of my cousin – boom, psychology vocab word used in a sentence – to include the information that she’s an adult and has a love life and pays for her own Netflix account. I’ll always have the memories of forcing her to eat bizarre organic matter. Maybe one day I’ll have similar bonding moments with this boyfriend of hers. After all, that’s what family is all about.

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