Is it just me or has every day since the groundhog saw his shadow been colder and colder? I personally think Punxutawney Phil wields more power than he should. But, as I’m not currently in the position to usurp his shadowy throne, (it would be the height of hubris to think I could take on the squirrels and the groundhogs at once. Plus, it’s not all groundhogs that are a problem. Just that arrogant Phil. Seriously.....not looking to start anything with the groundhogs.) I will content myself with summer-related memories until the weather warms again.
First things first, I need to admit something: There have been rumors that I might be part vampire. Not due to any bloodlust or anything. (I fainted once, lying down, when I was giving blood at a work blood drive.) My vampiric tendencies lean more towards sun avoidance. You see, I don’t tan. If the sun touches my skin, it does one of two things:
1) Bounces off the SPF – 2 million I have slathered on and blinds innocent passers-by or
2) Turns me a festive fuchsia and draws attention to that fact with weltiness.
Actually, I should say that it does one of three things because sometimes you can get a fun mix of 1 and 2. Once while applying my SPF – 2 million, I apparently tired of the process. I put my hand on the back of my leg, but did not come even close to spreading the suntan lotion evenly. It was hours later that I noticed the welting on my leg, all focused around a very white handprint. For weeks, it looked as though I had been slapped from the inside. Which would be an acceptable punishment for being eighteen and unable to apply suntan lotion proficiently.
Taking this into account, I avoid the beach. Tanning has never worked out and there is the extra side effect of the sun making me sleepy. So, I fall asleep under the rays thinking, How lovely to be bathed in this warmth, and wake up thinking, When was I immersed in hell and how did I miss the process? At this point, I generally find that my mother noticed my shiny white skin glistening in the vicious sunlight, got nervous about my fate and cocooned me – head and all – in every towel we brought with us. Or in the case of one afternoon, my friends completely buried my body in the sand and placed a bandanna over my face because “we didn’t want you to get sunburned.” Their concern was touching.
Despite my eternal struggle with the fiery ball above, I do have a perfect beach memory. It, not surprisingly, involves a book. The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks, to be exact. My mom and I read almost all of Banks’ books together. So, The Fairy Rebel and the promise of an umbrella was enough to get me down to the beach. It was just the two of us. We sat there in the shade all day. While others threw nerf footballs, built and destroyed sandcastles, and splashed in the water, we whiled away the hours with Jan, Tiki and Bindi. We took only one short break to get our feet wet and walk up to the boardwalk (where I got one of those tiny gelatinous sharks that get 10x bigger when you put it in water – Score!).
We read the whole book on that beach. I would read a few pages every now and then, but mostly I just listened to my mom telling me the story.
Even now, when I hear the ocean, I picture Tiki in her little jeans. When I smell suntan lotion or treat myself to one of those gelatinous expand-o sharks (still cool), I think about that most perfect day at the beach and the little rebellious fairy.