Summer or Bust.
Try as I might, writing isn’t exactly paying the bills here at the casa de groovy. The dreaded day job, despised as it may be, is barely keeping me afloat on the great sea of financial ruin. But as of July 11th, it will be sink or swim–when my employer of nine years decides to either go back to the bargaining table with my union or to go for the lockout and send us to the unemployment line. It aint lookin good.
In all the chaotic back and forth arguments, meetings, pamphlets, automated messages and now the worst feeling in the world–waiting–the arrival of summer is upon me without much fanfare. Hot days, cold drinks. Concerts and parties with friends. Trips to exotic destinations. Ah. Yes…
I can barely make minimum payment on the bills, let alone afford such luxuries as vacation. When the economy takes a nosedive, inevitably so does the concept of a social life. So what am I to do? Count the moths fluttering from my pockets? Chitchat with the creditors? No. I will not sit idly by while the summer slips by without acknowledgment. This I vow right here and now, dear readers. With this thought in mind I have fashioned a summer itinerary of sorts. Forget Cancun. Drop the bar-hop. Everything you need is right here…
Board Games and B-Movies
Regardless of budget, I have been known to have people over on a Friday night for a round of Mall Madness (the original, circa 1980) and b-movie marathons. I’m just that awesome. Give it a try. A friendly game of poker. A frisky game of Twister. No alcohol necessary. Unless you are in absolute need of inebriation to have a good time (in which you have more problems than I thought.) And don’t underestimate the power of a really bad horror movie, one so bad it surpasses expectation and understanding to the point of hilarity. Case in point, Slumber Party Massacre II.
Swap Meet Social
While the term ‘swap meet’ could sometimes strike us as a venue for harried moms trading threadbare school uniforms for slightly irregular socks, I digress. Ladies, bring a bundle of last seasons’ accessories, or some of those bath sets from two Christmases ago that you have yet to use. Guys, you may not stockpile as many unwanted goods but you can still come along. Maybe you have some overplayed video games, DVDs, a couple of Cosby sweaters your mom was convinced you’d love, porn, what have you. Barter nicely or have a balls-to-the-wall-free-for-all. Modeling, posing, wheelin’ and dealin’ are encouraged for photo ops. Any unwanted goods can be dropped at the Goodwill, save for the porn. Let’s keep it clean, folks.
Low Key Costume Party
While dropping off the remnants from your swap meet, seek inspiration for this next event of the summer: the costume party. Thrift everything. The ensemble, the decorations, even the music. Think: dated easy listening compilations and cheesy soundtracks. You could even decide on a theme. A tribute to The Golden Girls? Shoulder pads, blazers, floral prints and faux pearls and you’re ready for tea time. Or maybe keep it gender-neutral with a Ridiculously Retro feel. Polyester is a must. Bonus points for thrifted door prizes. Best dressed wins the hideous lamp.
Pot Luck Picnic
Gather a few friends. Grab the potato salad, the fresh fruit and a few doses of Allegra and hit the great outdoors. Plop your butts on a park bench and scarf it down before the flies beat you to it; then take in some sun and scenery. After the meal go for a brisk walk on the trails. Should the mood strike you, have a sing along. Acoustic guitar optional.
Catch a Ghost
Thanks to the wonderful folks of Weird New Jersey magazine and the subsequent creators of Weird US, Weird Pennsylvania and assortment of other Weird hardback volumes, there are hundreds of documented strange sightings. Ghostly apparitions, unusual townsfolk, quirky roadside attractions and an assortment of total wtf entertainment abound in the pages of these books, just begging to be explored. Research and discover of the many lurid locations or hit the newsreels and look into a local legend on your own. Recommended items for this event: Full tank of gas, area maps and GPS, fully-charged cell phone, camera, flashlights, a spare tire and a copy of The Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide.
Disclaimer: Persons embarking on this journey assume all legal and metaphysical repercussions therein. Nonpretentious.com is not liable for personal injury, mental trauma, criminal trespass or demonic attack.
Flea Market Funding for a Daytrip
If you find yourself short on cash and completely engulfed by an insurmountable pile of stuff you can spare, I have the solution. Turn a quick profit and clean up the junk pile with a garage sale. If your humble abode is in a convenient locale with moderate thru traffic, all you need is a sign and the stuff ready to sell. Otherwise check those free neighborhood weeklies for a community flea market. Sellers’ spaces are typically $20 or less. Bring a friend along to share the cost and to watch your junk if you need to brave the port-o-potty. Recommended items for this event: sunscreen, hand sanitizer, plastic shopping bags, a roll of quarters, a stack of singles, and a good business sense. Don’t bother tagging items; people will always ask anyway in hopes of swindling a deal. When you sense a haggler, start the asking price a dollar or two higher than intended and let them haggle down to what you were expecting to make. Works like a charm.
And there we have it. Six scintillating ideas on how to spend the summer without cashing in grandma’s savings bonds. Feel free to give ‘em a go. If you have your own ideas on how to not have the summer suck the big one, please post your thoughts. Entertain, enlighten and encourage creativity. As for me, it could very well come to company lockouts, picket lines and poverty. But it’s summer or bust. Or as one would assume in this instance, it’s a little bit of both.