What to do when there’s nothing to do
The dog days of summer are upon us. In our modern lexicon, that popular term has dual meanings: 1) the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer occurs in the Northern Hemisphere; 2) a period of stagnation or inactivity.
In 2020, the dog days of summer were mauled by the pandemic, which continues to force people around the globe to endure lengthy periods of inactivity. But just because travel dreams were dashed this year doesn’t mean you can’t take your mind to new places. Here are some quick suggestions about ways to fill the long days ahead.
Get Lost in a Good Book
Because your brain can’t take any. more. Netflix. And you can’t take any more…well, anything. As the Book of Disquiet author Fernando Pessoa wrote, “Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”
Not much of a reader? No problem. Trevor Noah, Jamie Lee Curtis, Mariah Carey, Kevin Bacon, Alicia Silverstone, James McAvoy, and so many other leading performers can do the reading. All you’ve got to do is listen, which you can do while going about your day. Or while not going anywhere: your call.
A 2018 University College London study showed that listening to audiobooks is more emotionally engaging than watching TV and movies—findings consistent across all demographics regardless of the genre.
Audible is your go-to source for premium offerings available on demand. If you haven’t already done the Audible free trial, what better time than now to take advantage of the deal: 60-day free trial plus two free audiobooks, then $14.95 for one credit per month, good for any book regardless of price, and you can cancel anytime.
Got a library card? Download the Libby app, which allows you to borrow and read ebooks and audiobooks from your local public library for free. Don’t have a library card? Well now you have something else to do right now when there’s not a whole lot to do.
Make Bad Art
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City may be temporarily closed (as of press time), but its website, moma.org, invites you to experience the world through its artistic lens. Take in the Virtual Views by exploring NYC architecture online. Listen to hours of art-inspired music on summer playlists curated by MoMa staffers.
From artists’ musical inspirations to cinema soundtracks to the “alien” sounds of the avant-garde, the museum’s Spotify playlists include one dedicated to the music of Miró; The “Rosanne Cash, the River, and the Thread” includes some thoughts the singer-songwriter shared about weaving, making art, and writing music—and made a playlist to accompany the exhibition. The set featuring songs about and inspired by works of art sets the perfect soundtrack to an afternoon spent engrossed in any of the museum’s free online courses, including “Fashion as Design” and “Postwar Abstract Painting,” taught through online portal Coursera.