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Friday, May 26, 2017

The Lazy Millennial Guide to Summer

Brace yourself: summer is coming.

You’re going along, living your life, buried under blankets in your winter nest, until suddenly you realize: summer is coming. Like, next week.

So you settle into your blankets and pull up the internet for inspiration.

Pinterest is full of warm colors, sunshine, and looks-effortless-but-definitely-took-half-an-hour hairstyles. Facebook is highlighting ads for 4th of July cocktails and videos about how to have an original summer that’s definitely different than the last time you tried – and failed – to have an original summer.

Brace yourself: summer is coming.Aggregate websites like Amazon and Fancy have pool party products on the front page: campfire fishing rod for roasting marshmallows? You need that in your life. Giant pizza float for 10 people at once? Absolutely. Hot tub boat? Need.

And just like that, your mental state switches from chestnuts roasting on an open fire to marshmallows toasting in the embers under the stars (and then catching on fire). You are ready to prepare for summer.

The Foundation

There is a process, almost a ritual, to getting ready for summer. You pull out your summer clothes from the back of your closet and replace them with your winter sweaters. Thanks to your strategic time on the internet, you have a sense of what’s still in style from last year and what seems to be coming into fashion this year.

Maybe you care about that kind of thing, maybe you don’t. Luckily for you, modern fashion has moved beyond what it was a century ago, when everyone was expected to wear the same thing, with little deviance. Now we’re more about embracing ~self-expression~ so you can more or less wear whatever you want. So if you still love your wardrobe from last year (and the year before that…and the year before that…), you’re good to go. Even last year’s huge trend, flash tattoos, are still in, so you can wear your extras to the pool without looking like a throwback.

The Preparation

Sunglasses are one of the first and easiest ways to get yourself ready for pool season. From $5 to $500, you have approximately half a million style, color, and fit options to choose from, because capitalism. Unfortunately, this means you have approximately half a million sunglasses to try on, only to find that they all make your face look kinda weird, except for the second pair you tried on. First world problems.

Finally finding sunglasses makes you realize you should probably prepare for the sun with sunscreen and aloe, so you head over to that section of the store…just to find an entire aisle dedicated to those two products. Sunscreen and aloe are apparently not “just sunscreen and aloe” anymore; there will soon be as many kinds of sunscreen and aloe as there are sunglasses.

Swimsuit shopping is one of the worst shopping experiences invented – nothing like the threat of the beach to make you realize you ate a ton of cookies on the couch all winter with all your fluffy blankets on top of you to hide the evidence – but it’s necessary preparation for the poolside social events coming up. Your final pick is probably either from Target or Pinterest. Or both.

On your way home from the store, you see an advertisement declaring seasonal drinks to be back in stock: lemonade is everywhere, people are drinking iced tea without getting weird looks, cold brew coffee is back, and Starbucks has their s’more frappe again (yaaasss). So you swing through a drive-thru – thank you, consumer-based market – and get one to reward yourself for all the trouble you voluntarily put yourself through to find sunglasses. As you drive away, you tell yourself you already worked off the calories you’re drinking by walking around the store. That swimsuit you just bought will still fit.

The Final Touches

If you’re as pale as I am, you have likely decided you should try to get a bit of a tan before your first pool party, as a public service. It’s not considered polite to blind your friends with the sunlight reflecting off your body. (If you are not as pale as I am, you were born ready for this.)

Whether you’re as pale as a vampire or not, it just feels good to lay out in the sun. Thanks to market competition, you were hopefully able to find an apartment with a pool, so you can walk down your sidewalk and arrive at your private waterside tanning ledge in matter of minutes.

The problem with tanning, of course, is that it gets hot after a while. But you’ve thought ahead and bought a fun-shaped pool float so you can cool off without being totally submerged. You could’ve bought one of those boring, Real Adult floats, but you only have so much time left to sit in a doughnut- or floral swan-shaped float without looking awkwardly old. You need to use this time while you can! You’ll get a boring one later.

The Reward

That evening, you’re not burned to a crisp thanks to your sunscreen, and you’re feeling pretty social, so you invite a few friends over for a movie and drinks on your market-supplied apartment balcony. You’ve decorated it with things you would never have access to without globalism: a rug made in Indonesia, little string lights from IKEA in Europe, one chair from Japan, another from Canada. At World Market you found barware made in India, and at TJ Maxx you found outdoor break-proof dinnerware made in China. Even your drinks are globally inspired: margaritas from Mexico, piña coladas from Puerto Rico, caipirinhas from Brazil, iced coffee from Vietnam.

One of your friends is ahead of you in the race to summer and already ordered the newest thing, which they’ve brought along tonight: alcoholic popsicles. You could make them yourself, sure, but that would require time and effort and probably more money than you’d spend on a box of six anyway. Plus the wrappers look cute, and how are you supposed to beat that?

As your Netflix plays on the foreign-made table in front of you, an early summer breeze trips along your string lights and makes the pool glitter across the street. You look around at your friends, excitedly trading ideas for epic summer adventures, and you think, “If only AI was as advanced as the movies said it would be by now” as you get up to make your own drink like a peasant.