Waste your time

Ten underrated summer activities
By JAMES PARKER  |  June 12, 2007


Summer is fleeting. Days are so rare. Precious perfumed breezes. Gentle warmth. We’re told to “take advantage” of the good weather. Spend these golden days wisely.

That’s too much pressure. Go for the small pleasures. They’re just as good.

Watch the planes go overhead at Pleasure Bay
Situated in almost erotic proximity to Logan Airport, the beaches of south Boston are a plane-spotter’s dream: incoming international flights pass so closely overhead you feel you can reach up and tickle their fuselages. Geologists will be additionally stimulated by the mineral deposits in the local sand, which is also rich in cigarette-butts and used surgical gauze.

Walk around Providence, pretending to be HP Lovecraft
By “pretend” we do not, of course, mean that you should attempt a literal impersonation. What we suggest is more of a freewheeling summertime mind-meld with the Providence native who has been called “the Copernicus of the horror story.” So get that Lovecraft vibe going; lurk paranoiacally in used bookstores, cower in tea-shops, go to the harbor and get squeamish in front of some fresh fish.

Sit in a sports bar and ask questions
Any sports bar will do, as long as it has plenty of screens displaying a variety of events from across the globe, and a couple of well-disposed regulars on hand to explain the rules. Never be shy about asking questions — the louder the better. And if you find you need to ask the same question over and over again, do that, too. New Englanders are famous for their patience with the sportistically disadvantaged.

Promenade down Moody Street, Waltham
Restaurants, bars, bookstores, and the wild kingdom of haberdashery that is Global Thrift (322 Moody Street) — on a warm evening, who can beat it? Be sure to take with you a photograph of yourself, so that when the excitement slackens you can visit the wonderful Personalizers (379 Moody Street) and, for a small fee, have your face embossed on a coffee cup. Simple pleasures are the best.

Drink sangria at Taberna de Haro
The rumble of the T as it toils upward from the darkness of Kenmore Square, the alluring musk of used books wafting across the street from the Boston Book Annexe . . . How many jugs of this beautiful liquid will it take before you start feeling Spanish? Place your order at 999 Beacon Street, Brookline.

Attend a matinee
When the afternoon is hot — blazingly, barkingly hot — true aesthetes seek the shielding darkness of the movie house. If the only thing showing is a small foreign film in which you have no interest, or a sluggish blockbuster that you already saw twice, so much the better. In the hush and coolness of the almost-empty theater, it is time to be somebody else for a couple of hours.

Sit across the street from the Palladium in Worcester and read the T-shirts
When the heavy-metal bands are in town, and the kids are out to pay homage, you will see some fascinating slogans and declarations emblazoned across their chests. I WAS BORN TO CRUSH YOU; NO USE FOR A LIFE; PEOPLE = SHIT. Now look at the harmless, excited faces of these teenage concertgoers. Isn’t life strange?

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