052020: A Summer Wasting

a photo of a classic ice cream cup

Do you remember the vast amount of summer holidays we used to have as kids? Six weeks without school, without duties, six weeks of living a completely care-free life. These weeks were heralded with a school report, and our parents would pick us up at around 12 in front of the school; and we’d leave another year of nerve-wracking stress and torments behind. I hated school, but this moment of stepping into a long, empty summer, was always pure bliss.

Last week, I started a self-prescribed summer break. I’ve had some weird years and I’m in-between jobs, so I decided to actively do nothing for a couple of weeks. Not sure if the care-free childhood feeling is replicable as an adult (probably not), but the feeling of not planning very far ahead puts me at ease—at least for a brief moment. Actively deciding to not care for a moment is self-care! I’ll call the dentist sometime soon. I’m sure the whole tax situation will sort itself out. I’m not going to plan any big travels.

This is probably one of my least favorite character traits: I am a really bad traveler. The whole part of organization and the pressure of having to have great experiences just stresses me out. As a child, my parents would usually take us on a real vacation for 10 days during summer break. And while I generally enjoyed that very much (and didn’t even need to plan anything, of course!), it was also work: It somehow meant that the actual summer break was only 4 weeks. I needed that idleness to just let the past months sink in. Painting, drawing, seeing friends—simply not having to have any exciting experiences (but not avoiding them either, of course). Just letting the time pass by.

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Things that caught my attention:

As my friends know, I am big fan of the houses by Inken, Doris and Hinrich Baller. Ex Libris dedicated one of their No News News issues to Baller’s exceptional Berlin architecture.

Remember the hot priest from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s TV show Fleabag? Andrew Scott shares some life lessons (and Irish swear words!) in the podcast How to Fail. If you enjoy this newsletter, you’ll enjoy that episode, I’m very sure.

As a quick break from sitting outside, I can recommend this short animated series about Tinder date stories on arte.

You probably all know about the astonishing power of the blue blood of horseshoe crabs (the 450-million-year-old living fossils!). Radiolab resurfaced their 2018 episode recently, with a little update on the animal’s role in COVID times.

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In other news: Today, on August 15, it would be Roger Willemsen’s 65th birthday. He died in 2016, and since then he is dearly missed as one of Germany’s most-liked intellectuals. In fact, I don’t know anyone who didn’t appreciate him as a moral compass, and I, too, miss his voice in current times. Recently, my friend Eva and I were discussing which prominent people we’d like to ask for advice when making decisions, and Willemsen definitely would be my chairman of the board. Who would be yours?

As my summer break continues, I’ll be spending the nights listening to Belle & Sebastian’s summer vacation soundtrack, which also served as the title for this issue: I spent the summer wasting / The time was passed so easily / But if the summer’s wasted / How come that I could feel so free? Stay cool and safe and enjoy the weather.

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16. August 2020