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The Bathrooms Of America, And Other Vacation Delights

Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Being on vacation doesn’t automatically make it easier to relax. I am currently “on island time,” on a peninsula, so I am decently far away from my normal life and the bracketing set of external pressures and anxieties and obligations that I think of as the things that keep me myself. But in listening to this week’s vacation mini-episode of the podcast, I found that I sound and seem very much myself. It may take more than a couple weeks of market-price lobster rolls, out-of-character hikes, and roadside blackberry-picking missions to get me far enough out of my head for it to show up on a podcast. This is great news for those listeners who were worried that I’d stop saying “like” every six words simply because I was no longer at home.

Drew and I are both in Maine at this moment, and both pretty firmly ensconced in our personal happy places as a result, surrounded as we are by extremely cold water, copious wild berries, grouchy natives, and members of our family. But this is kind of an ominous moment, and so while we began with a familiar overture—Maine stuff, large sandwiches we have enjoyed in the past, some florid symptoms of early-onset curmudgeonhood—it was inevitable that we would have to get out of that mode. There’s no way to do a podcast with Drew Magary, at a moment when the Minnesota Vikings’ starting quarterback is saying shit like this, and not wind up at least a little bit wound up.

Honestly, it felt good to get wound up this way, about the sports things that we got wound up about: the first-ever moment in which Football Culture pushed towards the greater good and the irritation of watching the NFL’s biggest dingleberries push back, as well as the recursive and joyless discourse surrounding Simone Biles over the last week, and the invariable and grim washing-out process that happens to new sports in the Olympics. It felt something like normal, which is not remotely the same thing as “good.” But there is something comforting and familiar about it all the same. That was doubly true once we reached the back half of the episode, at which point we availed ourselves of the opportunity to remember Elden Campbell and the brief liminal period when the Lakers were just a bummy normal team, considered how close to being canceled Matt Damon came after disclosing his heartwarming adventures in the slur-using space, and discussed bathrooms that we have visited. We were both away, but in that moment both Drew and I were comfortably at home.

A programming note: We won’t have an episode next week, as Brandon, Drew, and I are all even further and more decisively Out Of Office than we were this week. That means that this week’s episode, our 51st, is the closest we’ll come to a proper first-anniversary episode. There will be more considered emotional goopiness from me and everyone else as we get closer to our actual birthday, as a site and a podcast, and so I won’t waste it here. But it is very much a treat to be able to do this, and we are very grateful to all of you for listening to it.

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