The podcasts I'll be relaxing to this summer

Summer is here. This year, for me, the warm months are about finding time, regaining mindfulness, returning to what really matters. I want to spend my weeks outside, the sun on my skin and the world in my ears. Specifically, I want to spend the summer relaxing with the forty-seven podcasts I've fallen behind on so far this year.

I usually spend the summers swimming, eating sausages and stargazing. But that was the old me. The New Me is about kicking back and catching up on shows like “Top of the News: Your Daily Download of Everything You Need to Know Before We Know It” and “The Thaw: Cold Cases from a Remote Town Near Cleveland.” Do I want a summer where I do nothing? No. Do I want to be busy all summer? something? God no. I want voices that sound like the voices of every Ritalin-addicted history student I went to Yale with and who now works at the Park Slope Food Co-op, and I want them deep in my ears at all times.

June: I spend my Saturdays testing the waves, by which I mean wading around while listening to “Hot Pod: How Successful Things Got That Way” and “CastBack: An Old Pundit in a New Medium,” the episodes of which are just three episodes are minutes long, not including breaks to advertise mail-order underwear. Back on shore, my afternoon will consist of Coppertone, Shandy and 'Mindf*cked: One Researcher's Moving Journey Through Dementia'. A surfer babe in a wetsuit might come by and ask about the novel I pretend to be reading. I dig a capsule out of my ear hole and say, 'What?” – and just like that, summer is here. Let's face it: I don't go to the gym every second Thursday with “Tingle: The Science Behind Feeling Your Feelings” not have a beach body.

Summer Sundays are meant for outdoor shopping: squeezing melons at the farmer's market while working through “Barbecue Road Trip: A Gluten-Free New Yorker Discovers the South,” hand-washing my delicacies with the hose to “Tenor of the Conversation: An Opera Cast.” Then I head to the pool with a spy novel to “read” while listening to “Raising Bees: A Media Professional Who Needs Money Uncovers the World of Agriculture.” In the evening I watch Netflix and chill while listening to 'Sports Chatter: Incredibly Much Talk'. This is not to be confused with “The Capitol Convo: Frenzied Crosstalk from Five Beltway Journalists in Their Early Thirties,” the podcast I listen to while having sex.

I'm going on holiday to London in July. On the plane, instead of dozing off to “The Avengers 7” – or some other movie I missed because I was deep into the final episodes of “Why Do We Hiccup?: The Body's Greatest Mystery and Its Unexpected Window Onto Religion ” – me' I'm listening to 'The Man Inside the IRS: Crime, Punishment, and the Unbelievable Untold Story of the Accountant Who Built America's Favorite Tax Exemption'. The only thing better than Shakespeare at the National is Shakespeare at the National, overdubbed by “Blond on Blond: Movie Stars Interview Other Movie Stars with Barely Concealed Discomfort and Exhaustion.” My friend Drake and I meet for a pint at his local restaurant, the Tremendous Cock, before I catch the Eurostar to Paris. Listening on the Train: 'How Everything Works – on the Moon' and 'The Denim-Shopper Podcast', which I swear is much more fascinating than it sounds.

Paris, oh, Paris. The Bateaux Mouches, the unpasteurized cheese. When a waiter finally arrives at a café to take my order…'Sir, you have made a choice?” – I'm going to pull my butt out and answer, “Did you know that William Taft, our fattest president, was amazingly and delightfully one of the key architects of modern judicial autonomy?” This is what cultural exchange is about. On the flight home, I hit snooze and flipped through “Scooters, Inc.: Scientific Evidence That Your Parental Concerns Are Completely Justified” and “Hinterland: A New York Reporter Interviews People Living in Nebraska.”

Halfway through August, I feel a slight panic when I realize that I am still twenty-seven podcasts behind. Heading to a weekend in the mountains, I'll be working my way through the sleeper hit “Everything You Thought You Knew About Nazi Germany is Wrong” (five episodes). While fishing, I browse “Top Marx: Conversations on How Proletarian Revolution Really Begins Among Ivy League Students”; the marching rhythm for my walks will be: 'From Lucky to Happy: Daily Affirmations'. The drive home will focus on 'Death Metal: Our Future with Robots', and I'll break for a roadside lunch and the latest episode of 'UnGREATful: A Struggling Arts and Culture Writer Puts Her Mother in a Nursing Home and Wins In view.”

If I'm doing it right, I'm finishing up the latest podcast, “Tomorrow and Today: Millennials Explore Their Financial Futures While Searching Their Instagram Feeds,” as I head into the studio to record my own podcast. And if I don't make it, there's always next summer. ♦

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