Monday, June 22, 2020

Summer = Sunburns

It's the beginning of summer!  Most people have been looking forward to this time of year, but I dread it.  I inherited my mother's very fair skin, and I can get a sunburn by being out in the sun for as little as five minutes.

When I finished the 9th grade, I traveled to southern Florida to spend the summer with my grandparents.  They were well retired by that point and didn't have a regular schedule.  They mostly sat around and watched TV.  But their apartment complex had a swimming pool.  I was still enamored of having a tan and decided I would spend some time in the sun every day to work on it.  I managed to sunburn the bottoms of my feet (!).  My face was burnt so badly that the skin peeled off like a crispy mask.  And that was with having sunscreen on!

So much for that idea.

That was the last time I deliberately tried to get a tan.  I started avoiding the sun.

But every now and then I would get distracted and . . . forget.

Several years later, after I had graduated college, I was living in a big three-story Victorian house on the edge of East Los Angeles.  My landlord had a daughter from his previous marriage who came to visit during the summer.

One day, my fiance and I invited her to go to the beach with us and hang out.

We were having so much fun, I lost track of how long I had been out.

Big mistake.

If I remember correctly, we were there for about four hours.

When we left, I had just started turning a little pink.  By the next morning, however, my entire body was bright cherry red and hurt like . . . well, you know what.

I couldn't sleep at night.  I tosed and turned, but there was no position I could lie down that didn't hurt.

And then in the morning my skin was horribly dry, and I couldn't bend my knees or elbows.  Every morning, my fiance had to slather lotion on my arms and legs just so I could move.

At least that time I really learned my lesson.  I am vigilant now about how much sun I get and long I get it.

So to all of you sun worshippers out there, enjoy your time of year.  I'll be in my house, enjoying the air conditioning and working on maintaining my pale, ghostly complexion.


  1. I have felt your pain - many times. I learned.
    Have you read “The Body: A Guide for Occupants” by Bill Bryson. Chapter Two discusses skin. It is fascinating.
    Mel S

    1. I have not heard of that book before. Thanks for the suggestion.


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