This advice column was originally published April 10, 2014. RIP, David Bowie. -ed.
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Time Of The Season: Redefining Your Vibe For Spring And Summer
This edition of You Are Here is not prompted by a readers query, but rather the turning of Winter into Spring, a dilemma older than language, but unwavering in its difficulty.
Winter is like a big sleep, and to wake from it can be jarring and traumatic because your whole vibe isn’t equipped for the new easy-breezy atmosphere. It is kinda like rocking a car in the snow; we often need a small push this way and that before catching the pendulous momentum to truly move. This “small push” can be a to-do list of arbitrary seeming tasks- but we are going to imbue those tasks with a friend-positive, vibe-positive, and laughter-positive agenda. It is indeed a modest proposal, but everyone needs a place to start.
Put on David Bowie’s album Hunky Dory.
Your vibe begins with your space. The state of your room reflects the state of your mind, and your vibe reflects the state of your room. This is the first and most important push.
Get the shit off your floor: jackets hung up, clothes in a hamper and headed for a wash. Seems like a lot of laundry to do, doesn’t it? That’s why we are making three piles today:
Keepers: The classics, the perfectly functionals, the nostalgics, the heirlooms, the fond-memory stolen shirts.
Buffalo Exchangers: Those new jeans that never fit right, the jacket that was good for one theme party, the brand named things your funky aunt bought you that are like Ralph Lauren khaki shorts or whatever.
Buffalo offers 50% store credit, or 30% cash of the retail value and isn’t too, too snobby about the styles. Clothes must be clean and not damaged so give them a once over.
Trashers: Stop kidding yourself about those jeans with a crotch hole, they aren’t ever getting mended. If that underwear isn’t comfy or sexy, its gotta go.
Next, all loose change goes in a jar, all dishes go to the kitchen, sheets stripped, floor swept, books put away, dresser top organized.
Your Inner Circle
Winter, because of the lazy nesting and inclement weather, shrinks friend groups to whatever is conveniently proximal. Texting is so pervasive and curt that even if we reach out with a quick text it seems insincere, and kind of shallow. It is now time to open up the lines of communication:
Put on Yo La Tengo …and Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.
Make a list of ten beloved friends you have not spoken to in a while, in no particular order.
Call each person, and if they pick up, ask them about:
Their living situation
Their love life
The last time they got wasted
Their plans for spring and summer
Recall a funny memory of hanging out with them.
Good Work! we’ve approximated a phone call from antiquity.
Cue up The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
It is also time to go out into the world. Let us give ourselves some errands:
1. We are going to go out and get each of our roommates a small present. This can be a decadent truffle from a chocolatier, a funny pin from a vintage store, or a tiny plant to brighten up their room. If you don’t have roommates, do this for a favorite person that you see in passing: a crossing guard, a familiar bus driver, a doorman, a co-worker who makes you laugh, or a neighbor.
2. Now we are going to buy a new book of modern short stories– short stories because Spring is light, airy, and all about mingling. You want to mingle with characters for a little while and not be bogged down by a drawn out, exhausting narrative.
Your Coming Out
Celebrating, as a word, has been a bit co-opted by frivolity. True celebration is to mark a milestone and to officiate our own passing into a new era, however small or large. I’d say a seasonal coming out is certainly in order. Pick a day, say Friday, and text some of those people that you called earlier. We are going to be dorky about this, and not give a damn:
1. Tell them Spring is here and you want to see their cute butts on Friday for catching up and ringing in the nice weather and vibe. You can host, if you want, but nothing wrong with the park, or a bar with a roof– anywhere breezy, and lively.
2. Give your day a name: Vibe Day works.
3. Raise a toast, even a small one, to how happy you are to see your pals, and for everyone to have a tight summer. Toasting connotes a moment of contentedness, security, and trust– it is one of the oldest ways for compatriots to acknowledge “Hey, we made it this far.”