come and warm yourself by the radiant heat of my legs

Having written a post yesterday involving all the ways I’m turning into my mother, I am now taking the liberty to scold myself for some teenage style-stupidity.

I should probably begin this story in the cold, sunless land where long ago, my ancestors surely lived and breathed, probably nocturnally, as their fragile fragile skin surely couldn’t have handled any exposure to ultraviolet radiation.  Over time, this fragile

The view from my seat today.
The view from my seat today.

skin was handed down through the generations, until, through some wonder of biology that this English major can’t understand, it found its way to me.  Through the years, on float trips and beach vacations, this skin has managed to ruin countless fun times by about day two.  It seems that at the very sight of sun, first, my skin thinks, ooh, this feels nice, and shows its enjoyment with cute little freckles, popping up across the bridge of my nose.  Freckles I can live with.  Freckles remind me of Lucy Liu.  Freckles remind me of Sawyer from Lost and his Southern drawl.  If this whole thing could just end with some freckles, my skin and I, we’d be just fine.

But no, after some freckles, my skin begins to realize what’s going on.  WAIT, WE’RE IN THE SUN? I HATE THE SUN! Then it’s suddenly like I’m a naked mole rat, exposed to the light of day for the very first time.  My skin starts to turn a little red, and by then it’s already too late.  The damage is done.  Even if I go inside, within an hour, it feels like every cell on my legs is individually swollen and throbbing.   As a kid, I would get so badly burned that I’d be physically sick.  Has anyone else ever had a sunburn so bad that it made you throw up?  My mom would take pity on me and knock me out with a Benadryl so I could sleep until the worst was over.

Fast forward a few years and now I’m living in a beach town after years of landlocked living.  After two summers with at least one day of every weekend spent at the beach,  slathered in waterproof SPF 55, I even got the first tan of my life.  I thought maybe my skin had adapted.  That can happen right? Maybe my skin can adapt?

Well, it didn’t.  Today was our first beach day of the year, and though sunny, it was a windy, slightly chilly day.  For some boneheaded reason, I only put sunscreen on my face.  I mean, you can’t get a sunburn if it’s not HOT, right? (Yes, even I know how stupid this sounds, as I’ve managed to get sunburned while skiing, too.)  I felt fine when we left, just a little sun on my shoulders, but after being home for an hour, the tell-tale every-cell-swollen-and-throbbing appeared right along with the redness.  At this point, I’m pretty sure I’m glowing in the dark.  If you’re chilly, you could warm yourself by the heat of my shiny red skin.  I guess on the bright side I’ve learned my lesson on the first beach day of the year… it’s all sunsceen all the time for me from here on out.

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