The sun and I don't get along. I appreciate it's ability to bring life and warmth to our good planet, Earth, but I'd rather not have much direct exposure personally. I do not photosynthesize.
Rather, I wilt in the sun. I burn, and I swoon. Being out at midday without a hat for even a few minutes makes me dizzy. I swear the sun's radioactive rays slant straight into my brain and cause cascading synaptic fission. One of my childhood memories consists of lying on my bed, skin burning, as my mother lays wet tea bags all over my body. This remedy was supposed to "draw out the heat" after my summer camp counsellor allowed me to be out all afternoon without sunscreen. It didn't work.
Melanoma runs on both sides of my family. In every generation at least one person has been killed by melanoma around or before the age of 40.
I cover up. Sunscreen, long sleeves, hats (I have a collection of them). Being indoors is the simplest solution. And considering that this summer is supposed to be extra-hot, I am that much more willing to stay inside. Summer becomes a bright, aesthetically pleasing version of winter: a case of cabin fever surrounded by blossoms instead of snowflakes.
Yesterday, I spent 2 hours on a sports bar patio in the mid-afternoon. This was done in the name of workplace solidarity. A colleague organized this outing, and I felt that it would be best to make an appearance. Reluctantly, I slathered myself with SPF30 and braved the heat. I sipped ginger ale from a plastic beer-logo cup and held ice cubes from the Coronita bucket against my wrists and the back of my neck.
The patio filled to capacity in short order. The clientele was almost all white with an average age of 26. The girls wore baseball caps and skimpy tops with bra-straps sticking out. The guys wore oversized board shorts and flip-flops. They all talked loudly, lounging in the sun on wooden benches or standing six deep by the bar, waiting for more beer. They all had sweaty hair.
My work group was a nice bunch, but the place was so loud and it was so hot that we couldn't keep up the necessary energy to maintain a workable conversation. The server accidentally kicked over one girl's bottle of beer and didn't bring her a replacement. No one bothered to confront him. After 2 hours I felt I'd done my duty and retreated. Maybe next year we could meet inside, where it's quiet and air-conditioned?