BLAH Magazine: The Summer Issue

by Katherine Carlson

kate can't even

Beach Blanket Blah

How will you spend the summer? A reader poll:

• Standing in front of an open grocery freezer, staring at a box of two-stick popsicles and wondering aloud about who will be my Popsicle twin — 16 %

• The seasons changed? I didn’t realize — 23 %

• Sitting in front of the air conditioner with a blanket and hot tea — 18 %

• Thinking about getting highlights and then not getting them because we’re all going to die anyway — 29 %

• In denial — 14 %

Getting in Shape for Summer

With the days getting hotter, you might be forced to confront the fact that you are a corporeal being, not some misty apparition that floats from one encounter to the next. Or perhaps you already prefer to float high above your body, a one-woman Greek chorus shouting admonishments as the body bungles its way through the day (“People of Office Max, look on this Blah girl. See what black sea of terror surrounds her as she approaches the flatbed scanner”).

Potential solutions: dissociate completely OR buy an ab roller off Craigslist.

So You’ve Got Hair

Loath though we are to admit it, the “beach hair” trend is actually a boon for Blah manes. Amp up your naturally vagrant texture by going to bed at 8:30pm. This will give your strands plenty of time to knot together while you toss and turn, replaying all of the day’s regrets in your mind. If you can, sleep with your head under the pillow to enhance the cowlicks and the feeling of absolution.

When you wake up, just pick out any tortilla chips that may still be tied up in there and off you go, to the couch!

so relaxed

A Day at the Beach: The Stuff of Nightmares

We could go on forever about the beach and its atrocities: sunlight, heat, exposure of various body parts that are meant to stay swathed, wind, birds, children.

But wasn’t there a time when you liked the beach? Like when you were young and didn’t care if your bathing suit bottom sagged, and you would spend the whole day bobbing on the waves on your inflatable orca? Or when you were a bit older, but not so old as you are now, and you had, like — abs? Or even a couple years after that, when you and your ex found that secluded cove and you wished you could stay there forever, just the two of you?

Nope. You don’t remember and the beach can eat a dick.

Wedding Season

That eternal love thing’s going to work out great.

Oh Right You Don’t Have a Country House

Here are some fun weekend diversions when everyone you know is away doing something better:

we mustn't tire ourselves out now

Neighbor Schadenfreude: If you stand next to the oven you can almost hear every word your neighbors are saying. Are they breaking up? She never listens, he has rage issues — ooh, did someone just storm out? Stay awake a few more hours and you can hear them have make-up sex. He likes to be called “Captain.”

Don’t Talk to Me: Run all weekend errands without speaking to anyone. With the Internet and a credit card this is surprisingly easy. Ultimately, no one likes talking.

Mind-Body Wellness Staycation: Wake early for a brisk jog followed by a bowl of quinoa and almond milk at the local organic café. Take a stroll in the park, pausing by the playground to make faces at a few babies, then it’s on to the community garden to work on your raised vegetable bed for the afternoon. End the day by jotting down your reflections in the form of a quick villanelle and stabbing yourself through the temple because that day was terrible.

A Half-Hearted Attempt at Substance

There’s this smart woman who did stuff. For other women, or maybe for kids and women. She’s good-looking but not intimidatingly so. She probably went to a way better college than you did. Which is not your fault; you could’ve handled AP Calculus, but your parents always underestimated you.

Just Say it Already

We can tell you’re thinking it, so stop being so passive-aggressive and spit it out. It actually offends us more when you hold back, like we’re too fragile for the truth or something. Our sister is always doing that and we hate it (we’ll discuss it at Thanksgiving, Meredith). Write or tweet to us and let it out: what makes you feel your most Blah?

See, Meredith? We do think about people other than ourselves.

Katherine Carlson is a writer and teacher in New York.

Art by Maya West.