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The Coffee Run: What your relatives really mean

December 22, 2010

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For many of us, winter break means coming home to old friends, not being able to visit said friends due to lack of a vehicle, begging siblings to drive us everywhere, and finally being rewarded for these trials with material goods. And somewhere in the midst of the flurry of holiday events and meet-up obligations, many of us are tasked with a family reunion – a chance to reconnect with our roots and justify our life decisions to crabby people who think everything kids do these days is stupid.

Every year, I approach Christmas Eve dinner at my Aunt Rita’s a lot like I do for a job interview, which it often resembles aside from the much more elevated risk of being pressured into Wild Turkey shots. I rehearse my mission statement in the car on the way over, as well as a list of things I have accomplished in the last six months and a number of apolitical, inoffensive talking points designed to bore the hell out of whoever is listening until they leave me alone so I can eat more spinach dip.

Unfortunately, no matter how hard I prepare or much good I have done for the world each year, I know of at least two to three aunts and uncles who will look at me like I just sucker-punched a fetus and proceed to rattle off chronicles of all the superhuman achievements they accomplished six decades ago with their bare hands. In the process,I have become pretty good at deciphering how distant relatives manage to politely judge the millennials. Here are a few common statements and questions,followed by my own loose interpretation of their true meaning:

RELATIVE: “Are you enjoying yourself out there in California?'

MEANING: “It must be nice to get high all day at your hippie commune of a workplace, which probably involves state-subsidized surfing expeditions and evaluating mood ring results with your boss.'

RELATIVE: “Are you going to be a lawyer?'

MEANING: “You’re dressed like a pauper.'

RELATIVE: “You should see if the Yahoo! is hiring.'

MEANING: “E-mail is the wave of the future.'

RELATIVE: “I swear, you’re getting to look just like your father.'

MEANING: “Your summer internship search aged you by no less than 28 years.'

RELATIVE: “So, are you almost done with high school?'

MEANING: “It’s been six years since I’ve processed a solitary thought about you or your immediate family. Also, I’m drunk.'

Coffee Run AlexWhich lines of questioning will make YOU uncomfortable this holiday season? Show off the awkwardness below.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

dearexgirlfriend December 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

i just finished grad school…meaning im about to go through the whole “so what are you going to do NOW?'” round of questions for yet another time.


Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

– Do you have a boyfriend now? (I’m not a romantic, and I prefer being independent and having more freedom)
– When are you going to graduate? (I’m a few years behind, and most of my friends are graduating next spring, so I feel horrible being left out)
– What will you do after you graduate? (I know I owe you guys money, thank you for helping me with the tuition, but just GIVE ME SOME TIME AND SPACE TO PAY BACK. Or at least offer me a job or errands for a head start!)

Reply December 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm

dearexgirlfriend – what ARE you going to do now? 🙂 kidding. And Anonymous – hope your holiday questions weren’t too bad!


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