On the first warm weekend of spring in New York, I spent most of the daylight hours ensconced in the gentle embrace of the best thing I have ever purchased: a zero-gravity lawn chair that should, and likely will be my final resting place.
I have only encountered these specific chairs in the wild at various vacation rentals and in my father’s backyard, the latter sparking my desire. When presented with the seating options at my dad’s house, I chose the chair, mostly because it had a cup-holder attached to the side, but also because it seemed more conducive to reading than the floppy, soft hammock further down in the yard. (Hammocks are deceptive and will dump you on your ass if you’re not careful.) Nestled in the supportive hold of a Gander Mountain-branded zero-gravity chair, with a book in front of my face, I read, suspended as if floating (almost), for hours. The chair was so good. I must have the chair, I thought to myself, and pinned it to my internal vision board for the future.
The trouble with these chairs is that they are not particularly portable, which means I cannot take them to the beach without a car. Now that the beach is likely canceled for the summer and public pools in New York are closed for the season, I’ve turned my attention to the outdoor space of my apartment: a large rooftop that is only accessible through the kitchen window. There are a wooden table and four chairs for dining al fresco if the spirit moves me, but there’s nothing good for hanging out that is comfortable. My previous beach chair broke while I was sitting in it last summer, rudely dumping my butt on the hot tar and forcing me indoors. This summer, I have become determined to make the roof my beach and the first step has been to purchase the chair of my dreams.
My general taste in outdoor furniture prioritizes comfort over aesthetics. I will ooh and ahh at someone else’s very cute and well-curated outdoor patio furniture, but for my own personal use, if I’m going to spend money on something, it better be comfortable. It is not important to me that the outdoor area look like an Apartment Therapy photoshoot, because I simply can’t be fucked to care. The wooden chairs that surround the table are only sort of comfortable and are largely hideous, but when my other outdoor chair options are this fucking bistro chair ass-breaker, I’m going to stick with what works, thanks!
This sentiment about outdoor furniture is shared by former Jezebel editor-in-chief Emma Carmichael, who is also a proud owner of a zero-gravity lounge chair. “Some people think patio furniture should be attractive and modern, and they’re wrong,” she wrote in a text. “It should be hideous but comfortable and make you feel like a floating retiree, which is what this chair does for me. I love my chair.” Delighted to feel so seen by a former colleague and friend, we exchanged pleasantries about the chair. “I’m in it rn,” she texted. “I sent that quote from chair. Pls include.”
Of all the options, though, the chair really is the best. I’m not an Adirondack chair gal. A vinyl chaise lounge of the sort seen in Diane Arbus photographs would be a suitable option, but they lack the support I crave, and will also sear my tender flesh in the summer sun. A beach chair works great on a beach but not on a roof; the goal on the roof is to be up and away from the hot tar as much as possible, and so any chair that sits low to the ground is out. It’s no contest: the zero-gravity chair is the chair for me. I will never leave its side. We are as one.
The chair is superior, in part, because of the attached sunshade, but mostly because of the little side table that attaches to the legs of the thing. She reclines very much like a dentist chair, with gentle under-the-knee support, kindly relieving pressure from my lower back. The sunshade is a godsend; how lovely it is to read without dying from the noonday sun directly in your eyes. When I head to the roof, I pack my dirtbag go-bag, containing two books, some embroidery, my JUUL, noise-cancelling headphones, and my weed pen, and ferry it to the side table in the morning. Sometimes, I drink a beer and listen to almost an entire episode of Howard Stern. As the weather warms, I will drag the cooler bag out to the roof and fill it with beverages and frozen grapes, grazing until the ice melts. If this is what my summer will look like, then it might be okay.