Student Arthur Ahmadine is one of many at UC Berkeley hailing from the nether regions of California: Los Angeles. Ahmadine, a third-year business student, enjoys spending time with friends, reading a good book and, of course, enjoying peppermint treats during the holidays. He won’t, however, be spending the upcoming Thanksgiving break with his family.
“I know they only live about an hour plane ride away,” he conceded. “But I’m an adult now. In three months time, I’ll be a legal patron of every bar in Berkeley that ends with an apostrophe ‘s.’ That’s a lot of responsibility.”
Ahmadine related his appreciation for the support he received from his family during the semester. His decision to remain in Berkeley, he claimed, had nothing to do with his present relationship with his parents and sister.
“Yeah I think my younger sister sometimes makes me want to dunk my head in a trash bin. But that isn’t why I’m not coming home. And as for mom and dad, I appreciate them more the farther away I’m from them. It’s like taking a step back from a blurry canvas so that everything comes into focus. Distance breeds both appreciation and affection.”
Ahmadine’s philosophical musings were not enough to convince his friends. One, on a condition of anonymity, related the following:
“He used that stupid painting metaphor didn’t he? What a pretentious ass. I’ve seen him FaceTime his parents before. He usually places the phone facedown on the table so they have to look deep into a black abyss where their son’s countenance should be.”
Ahmadine stated that he was looking forward to speaking to his family, including his aunts and uncles. He plans on calling his family around 3 p.m. PST on Thanksgiving day, just before his extended family begins their midday feast.
“I hope to catch everyone before the feast. And I’m sure mom will have set the table with the napkins and cutlery she reserves for weddings, birthdays and that one time an older sister of hers died. She never liked her.”
As for what he planned on doing instead of eating with his family, Ahmadine expressed ambivalence. Despite knowing in advance he would be remaining in Berkeley, he didn’t bother to make dinner plans or inquire if any friends would be staying in the area. He did, however, purchase a turkey figurine from a local arts and crafts store to decorate his room.
“What’s this? Oh nothing. Just a little turkey I got in order to get into the holiday spirit. I think it makes me seem more human and approachable. I’m a business student after all. We need love too.”
When asked what he was looking forward to most during the break from school, Ahmadine played his cards close to chest.
“I don’t know if there is one thing I’m looking forward to the most. Maybe something will fall through, if not, I’ll just have a Will Ferrell and whiskey night. They go together better than my in-laws.”