Summer Survival Guide

Jerk Ethic – Summer Survival Guide

When you feel moisture form in the folds of your rump, and you notice that you’re getting sleepy while it’s still sunny out, chances are it’s summertime. Either that or you’re at a wicked kegger.

It’s likely that you’re one of those weird people who likes sunshine, warm temperatures, extended daylight, and a natural healthy glow. To which I say, fuck you hippie. This freakishly hot, decidedly smelly time of year is enough to make me fall into a depression so deep, I practically can sign my name Elliott Smith. Seasonal Affective Disorder doesn’t just come after first frost, kids. There are those of us who hate the dog days worse than any other months on the calendar.

So because summer is, hands down, my least favorite season of the year, I’m going to share my tips on how I plan to survive summer in the city. Or, rather, what will keep me from mixing up a little phenobarbital colada and calling it the winter of my life.

Air conditioning

It may seem a bit excessive, but I actually budget for my summer electricity bills all year round. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I would rather skip a meal than go without air conditioning on a day that the mercury hits above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And while this might label me high-maintenance among certain groups of people, air conditioning can be dated back to Ancient Rome, when certain Romans had aqueduct water circulated through the walls of their houses in order to cool them. Medieval Persia also adopted their own version using cisterns and wind towers that cooled them during the hotter months. If people back in ancient times could create air conditioning, then my incessant whining on only staying inside when the summer sun is high isn’t simply a byproduct of modern times. In the 19th century, advances in chemistry led to further development of my thermal cooling cynosure, and in 1902 Willis Haviland Carrier created the first large-scale electrical air conditioner, thereby convincing me that all good children should be nicknamed Willis.

(I created the air conditioner, what did you do today?)

Lula’s

Eating ice cream is a key point the summer, isn’t it? I mean, if do you really crave hot cake in August? This is why you shouldn’t have children in the summer. Have I mentioned that my birthday is in August? Yeah. Thanks, mom and dad.

I’m not going to go on one of those vegan diatribes about how, when I went vegan, I feared that I would never eat ice cream again. I knew that vegans made some damn delicious soft serve, as one of the first fully vegan meals I ever had was at Blossoming Lotus in Portland, Oregon. There my future roommate Wes Hannah* served me mighty fine chocolate soft serve that could have knocked any dairy-based concoction out of the park. It’s easy to recreate ice cream for some reason. It’s the steak tartar that vegans seem to have more of a problem with.

That said, sometimes I don’t want to throw frozen bananas in my blender, I want someone else to do it, especially when it’s so hot out that it feels like I’m walking around inside of God’s mouth. In New York we have two vegan ice cream parlors: Stogo and Lula’s Sweet Apothecary.

Stogo is great, they have a ton of flavors that are hemp based, coconut based, soy based, and nut based. They also have baked goods and the option to make your own chipwich with two cookies. I like Stogo, their chocolate sorbet is my tongue’s version of a Swedish massage, but for some reason Lula’s is more dear to my heart. Maybe it’s because it’s located a block away from a notoriously amazing tattoo parlor. Maybe it’s because it tries to recreate the ice cream parlors of yore, with sundae glasses and metal straws for shakes. (Not to mention their thoroughly modern, totally biodegradable cups and spoons for to-go orders.) Blythe Boyd and Derek Hackett have been serving up scoops of vegan goodness since October 2008, though they recently remodeled to make the checkered-floored space more accommodating to the throngs that seem to perpetually be on line for a cold one. I do believe that their Death By Chocolate might be the fuel that gets me through this summer unscathed, if slightly larger.

*Wes is up for Vegan Iron Chef. As one lady in the comments section noted, he should be up for Vegan Iron Boyfriend. Boy is easy on the eyes, and he can cook.

Ditch Plains (the town, not the restaurant)

I’m lucky enough to have friends and family who camp out here during the warmer months. On the best of years, I get out to Ditch three or four times, and those weekends are the highlight of my summer. A sleepy surf town where you’re invited to a barbecue even if you didn’t know it, this place is the most peaceful retreat from Manhattan that an unfancy, anti-Hamptonite can find. Bonus points if you bring a board, but even if you’re a sun-shunning goth like myself, you’re bound to get some r&r, and some sand in your shoes.

Traveler’s tip: there are rad bonfires down by the beach at night.

Sweat

Ever since I’ve started running again, I’ve learned to love the feeling of my own juices sliding off of me in sheets. Though that sounds dirty, it’s actually quite healthy and invigorating. Sweating regulates the body’s temperature, mineral content, and it removes toxins. The average person has 2.6 million sweat glands in their skin, so I figure I should put mine to good use. Well, maybe not that good of a use. I refuse to run or exercise outside until September. Unless I’m at Ditch. (See above.)

For the record, if you move to a hot climate, like Marble Bar, Australia, your ability to produce sweat will increase to roughly two to three liters per hour within six weeks. Apparently that’s the most sweat the human body can produce. If you’re not acclimated to hot weather, the most sweat you can make is about one liter per hour. On the treadmill, I feel like I sweat roughly that much per minute. Just ask the poor (soaked) souls on either side of me.

Iced tea

A cup of the iced mint or iced green from Grey Dog is the perfect compliment to a lazy afternoon spent reading or staring at hipster boys doing track stands.

In the United States, where Snapple is sold side-by-side with Coke and Pepsi, iced tea makes up nearly 85% of all tea consumed, with some of the earliest printed recipes dating back to 1870. All I’d really like to know is why there’s a big fucking Z in the center of AriZona Iced Tea. Is it like the trippy ‘Q’ of NyQuil?

Rompers

I’ll start with the negative up front: you have to get naked to pee.

But the romper, aka the infant bodysuit, is ideal if you want something light, breezy, and makes your absence of breasts less of an issue. Although they were created in the early 1900s as a means of keeping kids clothed as they played, rompers had their first surge in popularity in the 1950s when women started wearing them at the beach. Nowadays, they’re sold at stores that have a high ratio of employees who prefer cocaine to food, and, I swear, they’re the best thing to happen to my wardrobe since feetie pajamas. Anytime that I can wear a single article of clothing that doesn’t emphasize my lack of womanly curves, I’m happy. Hooray for rompers, my perspiration-friendly pull-on outfit.

(He got this at American Apparel for $29.)

Baseball

Let’s be honest, I’m really excited when the NFL starts on August 8th, because it means that summer is almost over. In the meantime, I love the boys of the season, as both of my New York teams are doing well.

Because I’m a sucker for trivia, I found a few facts that add to my enjoyment of this fancy stickball game:

The odds of a fan being hit by a baseball during a game are 300,000 to 1, which makes your ex-girlfriend’s excuse for not going with you to the stadium complete bullshit.

Each baseball game has 12,386,344 possible plays, which is why it seems absolutely ridiculous to me that they won’t overturn one so that a pitcher can get the perfect game that undoubtably would have been the highlight of his career.

Babe Ruth put a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep himself cool during games, and would change it for a new one every two innings.

Was I the only person who was mortified for Kendry Morales? Poor dude. For those of you who scoff at sports, Mr. Morales hit a grand slam, ran to home plate, leapt into the air to celebrate with his teammates, and broke his leg upon landing.

Kombucha

Looks like pond scum, tastes like amazing. A bottle of GT’s magic potion is bound to make you feel like you can punch through a brick wall or seduce the skinny jeans off of a barista. And while I don’t think the FDA would get behind my claims that this elixir makes my skin glow and my digestive system work like a well-oiled cuckoo clock, I swear that it’s worth every penny.

Nudity

Granted, I sleep naked all year long, but summer is the time to flaunt your skin suit. Unless you’re a guest at one of the over 270 naturist resorts or clubs in the United States, these are the only months where you get to see this much public nudity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bikini-rockin’ badass or just a sweaty little troll like myself, stripping down is one of the boons of baking in the sun. (Use SPF! For real. Melanoma killed my grandpa, that shit is no joke.) I’d also like to express my joy in witnessing other people’s nakedness. Sure, not everybody looks like a supermodel, and I see my fair share of oiled men in hot pants on rollerblades in my area, but I love the way that everyone seems to revel in their exposure. Girls who previously covered up are now in off-the-shoulder miu-mius, men who usually are in suits and ties don khaki shorts and tank tops. There are tattoos, tans, and freckles galore. It’s the most sensual of the seasons, and the one that makes me feel the most animalistic…or human. So take it off, with your sunscreen on of course, and go out and enjoy the solstice.