With all this nice weather here on the East Coast, it's beginning to feel a lot like summer. Yeah, yeah, it's only the middle of April and we're probably getting ahead of ourselves, but still: There are some important things you can do right now to start getting ready for America's greatest season. Here is our list of ten ways to get an early jump on making Summahtime 2012 the best one ever.
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Stare at Your Legs
Stare at your legs, in the harsh beams of daylight. Stare at your pale, pale legs, wonder what could have possibly happened to make them get that way, and let them immerse you, let this be the shade that you feel most at home in, let it be blinding in the way of an epiphany, a message from Jesus, or heaven, or from whomever you'd like a message (that cute next door neighbor, perhaps?). Remind yourself that there is no sense in working to get a tan, a tan that will only peel off and set the fear of melanoma in your heart. Stare at your legs. They look nice, no? Tans are for fools. Of all things, steel yourself against self-tanner and its strange, orange manifestations and uneven application process in the best of times. Read fashion magazines that tell you how pale is all the rage. When a strange man comments on your skin tone, tell him it's not like he's the beauty of our time. Shade your eyes with your sunglasses (Always Have Sunglasses) and run.
Make a Bunch of Half-Assed Travel Plans
This is the summer, man! This is it. This is when you finally get up off your sweaty duff and go out to Montauk or Rehoboth Beach or that nice little town by the lake for a weekend. It's only an hour or two away and you keep saying you will every year, so now that you're safely a good month and a half from Memorial Day, this is the time to swear up and down, to make pacts with friends, that this is gonna be the year. The city is so miserable in the summer, you just need to get out. It's so easy you can picture it! Getting on the commuter train and then, who knows, just relaxing for a couple days. That's as far as your imagination takes it, but seriously. Seriously guys. This is the summer. (This is not the summer.)
Promise to Never Wear Flipflops Again
Speaking of the city being gross in the summer, you know how black and horrible your feet get when you wear flipflops while walking around town? Well, no more. Nope. Right now, with this first early blush of warm weather, this is the time to declare to friends, family, whoever will listen that your feet shall turn grimy and horrifying no longer! No more flipflops. Yes they are the most comfortable things ever and so easy to put on and who can bother with socks in hot weather, but really. It's just too gross. So, declare yourself flipflop free from now on and then the minute it's above 85 promptly slap on a pair and head off because what are feet, really?
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Peruse Your Wardrobe
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Consider, especially, shoes, shoes of the non flippity-floppity variety, and sleeveless items of clothing, particularly if you are of the female persuasion. Shoes are your enemy from here on out, look at them warily. You are about to enter into a daily alliance in which only one of you will win, and it will most likely be your shoes, which means that every so often you will traipse home from a bar barefoot because your shoes have murdered your feet in their daily Survivor face-off. You will the next day shod your blackened soles in a different pair, and it will be better for a while, and then it will be worse again—each pair has the strange power to cut you in anew! At the end of the season there may be one or two trusty shoes that you consider actual, genuine friends, and it will break your heart because you'll have to throw them away, so disgusting are they by summer's end. Invest in Band-Aids and carry them with you at all times. Also, buy tank tops. They never last more than one season without getting those unsightly armpit stains, and you cannot have that.
Consider Summer Savings
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One of the perils of summer is that it ends a long winter hibernation that has not involved going out and spending money. Sure there was Christmas, but mostly you just stayed indoors and hid under a blanket instead of traipsing all over town in the blistering cold or waiting for your car to warm up in vain. But now the weather is nice and everyone's feeling free and funky and it's time to go out again and oh god it's going to be expensive. Those outdoor drinks you're going to spend half your summer gleefully guzzling down? They add up. So just plan accordingly. Maybe switch to the half-ply toilet paper for a while or invest in some off-brand cup o' noodles or something, just to fatten your wallet. The summer is wonderful and social! But it's also financially brutal.
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Make Ice Coffee
Pull out the pitcher from the back of the cupboard and begin to siphon your remaining hot coffee into it, each morning. This is your ice coffee stash, and while you may never drink it, it is a strange comfort in times of trouble, just knowing it is there, the glass pitcher in the back of the refrigerator, sweating the way it sweats, sitting quietly and proud. At the end of the summer you'll dump it all down the drain and amaze yourself by how mildew has the power to grow in coffee. This is called a science project, and counts as extra credit in life. Also, make ice. Lots of ice. It never goes bad.
Track Down a Summer Reading List
Remember school? Remember when school would be over for the year and it was so exciting but then, wtf, it wasn't really over because they gave you a freaking reading list to complete over the break? It was awful. But what was once a childhood horror now sounds, out here in the hurried world of adulthood, actually kind of great. Wouldn't it be nice to have a list that helpfully tells you what good books to read? Y'know, a little external guidance and pressure? You never seem to find time to open a book these days but maybe if there was a list, something clear and easy to follow, maybe you would. So spend the next month or so looking on blogs or asking friends and find a list of good summer books and try your best to stick to it. Obviously you will only barely get through one and a half by the time Labor Day rolls around, just like in middle school, but at least you will have tried.
Take Stock of Your Air Conditioning Situation
Yes, air conditioning. Do you have it? If not, buy it. If you've stored it for the winter, return to the dank confines of the storage unit to which it has been designated, and re-install it in your window, carefully, judiciously. Have someone strong help you, if necessary. Do not allow it to drop from the window and topple upon someone's head, for that is a surefire way to kick off a wretched summer full of lawyer fees and regret. Install your A.C. now, before the first heat of the season occurs. Oops -- too late.
Promise Yourself You'll Make That Move
Summer can be a romantic time. Everyone's outdoors all the time and nobody's wearing much clothing and there are the crickets and the wind chimes and fireflies and all that stuff. So why not, just to psych yourself up, make a commitment to yourself today that this summer, this will be the time: You'll finally ask Deborah on that date. It'll be sometime in early June, maybe. You'll be out with friends, sitting by the water somewhere and the sun will be setting and a warm wind will be blowing (start picturing this exact, impossibly lovely scenario in your head right now), and you'll just casually ask her out and she'll say yes and, boom, summer romance. Or plan on playing a jokey/flirty game of touch football with the gang some night after work, the park all pretty in the twilight, and after enough touchy-touchy, Greg will figure it out, he'll know what's up, and you'll spend the rest of the warm months holding hands and looking at lighthouses, or whatever summer flingers do. Definitely start working up the courage to do this right now. That way the crushing defeat you feel when Deb or Greg bring a date to Lulu's 4th of July party will feel even sweeter. Nothing like summertime melancholy!
Practice sweating. Rush to the subway in a jacket that you don't need and allow the drips of perspiration to wash down your face and think, this is what it will be like for the next 4 months. Feel a strange joy in that, this months-long trial that comes only once a year, this trial by heat. Think of that rush of cold air that will hit your damp skin as you board the train on the way into the city; think of the way the subway platform feels like a flaming hole in hell, or what you imagine flaming hell-holes feel like; think of the smells, the torrid, passionate smells; think of how you'll move thorough the streets, in August, like a delirious person or zombie caught in an miasma of air molasses, desperate for brains, if only you had an appetite. Think about gazpacho. Hydrate, sweat again. You're burning calories! Go out and day drink rosé, before the sweating (and margarita season) really gets started.
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