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Greetings From My Shameless Summer

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I live for moments when I feel encyclopedic. Yesterday, at a backyard party, people asked who sang the song that was playing and I screamed out “Keyshia Cole” with a little too much enthusiasm. I was right, and I lit up with such delight that I felt stupid.

I always think I’m annoying people, when in reality people aren’t thinking about me at all. Liberating. Anyway, I love being right. It’s fun to be right, and people who act like it’s so Zen and cool and humbling to be wrong are … wrong! Get over yourself! Humility is so 2019; this year is all about shameless bragging.

I want to see your vacation pics. I want to see your degree. I want to see your completed pile of beautiful, fragrant folded laundry. I want to see you win.

Enough misery. Wear the crop top, flaunt the promotion, show me that salad you made and the french fries you ate when the salad wasn’t enough. As for me, I watched every single season of “Summer House” in less than a month. After I typed that sentence, I went to calculate how many minutes of TV that added up to. I closed the calculator within seconds of opening it because some mysteries are best left unsolved.

Trying to be deep is exhausting. I’m definitely getting dumber. Why am I an expert in Mormon swinger TikTok drama? Meanwhile, I don’t know which plants are native to my area. Related to this uptick in Mormon swinger knowledge: I blew through my TikTok limit today (again!). So, once again, it’s time to do my self-care theater of deleting whatever social media app I’m allowing to ruin my life before getting bored again and redownloading it after three hours.

“If you’re bored, you’re boring” — honey, prepare the starboard side, because that ship has sailed! I’m boring! And depressed, and anxious, and exhausted, and unwilling to watch a feature film unless I think it’s going to be bad. Where’s that in the D.S.M.? Don’t tell me.

A friend recently told me that there aren’t any lightning bugs in Seattle. I couldn’t believe it. It was the same betrayal I felt when I found out that the restaurants in my hometown weren’t all mega-popular national chains. It kills me that I won’t get to see everything you love, no matter how hard I try, no matter who you are. I don’t care if you see the same colors I see — the colors aren’t important to me — but I need you to see a bug’s butt turn on and off as the sun slips away behind the trees of my yard back in Ohio.

Maybe my friend was wrong. Maybe she wasn’t paying attention to the bugs all around her all those years. Maybe she was always surrounded by lightning and had no idea. Doubtful.

Now I’m back in New York. I was gone for so long, and now you can use your phone to get on the subway. What the hell? Do we like that, or does it suck? Please don’t tell me; I don’t think I actually care. Is that bad? I just don’t feel like I can care about everything anymore. There were a couple years when I cared about everything, and all it got me was an ulcer.

I never know what button to press at the gas station. I’m pretty sure I chose diesel for the first few months of driving because I was too scared to ask. Oops! Thankfully I totaled that car, so no one will ever know what I did to its internal organs.

Usually, I realize I was in the right place at the right time shortly after I’ve left. The ache creeps in and I want to turn around and go right back to where we just were. I talk myself out of it — everyone’s already on the way home. Too inconvenient. And how humiliating, to be the only one craning my neck toward something that ended. It probably meant more to me than it did to you. But what if you’re looking, too? Is that something that happens only in movies, or should I be on the lookout for longing glances more often?

Sometimes I say I have no goals, and I mean it. Is that pathetic or lovely? A little of both, I think. I believe that I can do everything and nothing. I believe I will disappear as quickly as I came, that I can hate olives one day and love them the next, that I’ll keep finding new things to love about myself and others. I believe that one day I’ll turn around to look behind me and you’ll be looking, too. We’ll meet right back at the middle and sit back down in seats so freshly vacated that they’re still warm. There’s something about a warm chair that’s disgusting, unless the heat comes from someone you know and love. Isn’t that funny? Heat from a butt is still heat from a butt, no matter which butt it came from. I digress.

I hope you get to see lightning bugs at least once in your life. Their light shines on as quickly as it shuts off until, before you know it, the summer is over and the bugs are dead and you and I are still here, watching the world get bigger and smaller and louder and more cluttered. I’ll outlive millions of lightning bugs, but my butt will never be a light source. We’ve all got our special little things that no one else can claim. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine, pulsing gently in tandem as the pink summer sun climbs back up across the horizon.

Episode is a weekly column exploring a moment in a writer’s life. Mitra Jouhari has written for “Big Mouth,” “High Maintenance” and other television shows. She is a co-creator and star of the comedy series “Three Busy Debras.”

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Lifestyle

A favor de las relaciones que se quedan 10 por ciento cortas

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En su departamento, se sentó frente al piano y empezó a tocar. Yo lo miraba desde el sofá, oscilando entre la expectación y el terror.

Las conversaciones del día me habían convencido de nuestra compatibilidad —los dos queríamos una vida de viajes con niños aventureros a nuestros pies—, pero sabía que en cuestión de segundos nuestras fantasías mutuas darían paso a la realidad de la piel y el aliento. Recé para que nuestro primer contacto fuera eléctrico. Yo no necesitaba fuegos artificiales para empezar una relación, pero de pronto temí que él sí.

Al día siguiente, tumbados en la cama con las piernas entrelazadas, me dijo que se sentía ansioso. Después de una primera cita tan perfecta como la nuestra, esperaba sentirse eufórico, pero en cambio percibía una vacilación inexplicable. Necesitaba tiempo para pensar.

El rechazo llegó una semana después, a través de un correo electrónico escrito con ternura. Nuestra relación se sentía 90 por ciento bien, tan bien como para enamorarse, pero tan mal como para no durar. Debíamos ponerle fin antes de que la inevitable ruptura se hiciera más difícil. No es que hubiera incompatibilidades flagrantes, y él nunca había experimentado una conexión intelectual tan poderosa como la nuestra, pero faltaba algo.

Leí el correo electrónico en la cama, agradecida de que no hubiera ningún policía que me viera llorar. Cuando se me secaron las lágrimas, me hundí en la almohada, cerré los ojos y me invadió la convicción de que todo este asunto del sentimiento perdido era una estafa o, en el mejor de los casos, una excusa educada, un modo irreprochable de terminar las cosas.

Hay un cuento sufí que me encanta sobre el sabio tonto, el mulá Nasreddin. Dice así: Había caído la oscuridad y Nasreddin había perdido sus llaves. Se arrodilló junto a una farola, buscando. Un amigo se unió a él y, tras un largo rato, le preguntó: “¿Dónde has perdido exactamente las llaves?”. “En mi casa”, contestó Nasreddin. El amigo dijo: “¿Qué? ¿En tu casa? ¿Por qué estamos buscando aquí?”. A lo que Nasreddin respondió: “Aquí hay más luz”.

Los tres únicos hombres con los que había imaginado un futuro me decían que faltaba algo, y yo había dejado que sus palabras me persiguieran durante años, rebuscando en mis recuerdos de nosotros en busca de defectos. Pero tal vez su búsqueda de un sentimiento ausente era un poco como la búsqueda inútil de Nasreddin: buscaban una relación para llenar un vacío emocional en lugar de buscar dentro de sí mismos.

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Lifestyle

Day 3: Ice Skating in Style

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It started with Kristi Yamaguchi. My parents took me to see her in Stars on Ice when I was 7 and, from the moment her blades hit the ice, I was enchanted. After years of loving figure skating from afar, last winter I signed up for adult beginner classes at one of New York’s many public skating rinks: the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park. I’m still no Tessa Virtue, but I can reliably move both forward and backward now — wobbling, yes, but mostly without falling over. “It can be hard to keep your seen-it-all-before, New York cool while flat on your back(side), of course,” Emily Ludolph writes in this look at skating across the decades. “But it is the indomitable city spirit that gets us back on our feet and ready for more.”

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Lifestyle

Inside Biden’s State Dinner: Hot Dog Talk and a Party That Lasted Until 1 A.M.

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No, this is not relatable to the rest of the country, or even to those who operate just beyond the privileged confines of a crowded white tent on the South Lawn.

But the human impulse to gather — particularly after the worst part of a lengthy pandemic — is universal. Officials who planned the event said the need for Mr. Biden and Mr. Macron to project a united front against the Russian invasion of Ukraine was urgent.

“The magnificence of American soft power was on full display,” Mr. Gifford said. “These personal relationships are such the crux of American foreign policy, and that’s why these matter so much.”

Mr. Gifford watched members of the French delegation closely to make sure they were enjoying themselves — and, crucially, the food, which included a selection of American cheeses and triple-cooked butter potatoes.

“The plates were empty, the glasses were empty,” he reported. In other words, none of the French pointed out that the brut rosé and chardonnay on offer was, after all, “American wine,” as the French ambassador did at the state dinner hosted by the Clintons in 1996.

As America’s old alliance was carefully nursed, flashes of bipartisanship that would perhaps surprise the more tribe-minded supporters of lawmakers appeared. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, approached Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who is attempting to become the next House speaker, to shake hands. That happened more than once.

A senior White House official, who spoke anonymously to describe private conversations, said that conversations with Republicans were kept light — talk of sports took the place of more contentious topics including, say, looming oversight investigations. Guests were discouraged from working the room because of protocol reasons, an attendee said, so it became hard to get a good look at who was doing what.

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