Spent this past weekend visiting my sister’s family in NC, sleeping in a bunk bed and sharing a bathroom with my 13-year-old nephew. Because I forgot to bring my own soap and basic shower products, I was forced to use my nephew’s stuff. Which means I’ve spent the last four days smelling like a 13-year-old’s idea of what a man should smell like. And I’ve attempted to square his desperate desire for facial hair (as attested to by his tenuous mustache) with the lazy ambivalence I have toward my completely unchecked and unruly growth. I want to have a clean-shaven face because having all this hair is annoying to some extent, but I don’t always want to put in the work to maintain a clean-shaven face. Also, it acts as a marker of the artificial power I hold over him as one of his “elders,” a power I cling to in case he realizes the “I’ll tell your mother” threat is as empty as our pursuit for meaning in this existence.
These are the unexpected dramas in one’s life when confronted with the generation that will replace your own.