I can easily remember those carefree days of my childhood, running around the neighborhood for hours on end. During the summer, especially, from sunup to sundown, I was usually outside, riding my bike, chasing my brother, walking the dog. All the while, I’d be turning a nice, healthy golden brown, and I’d thank my half-Asian roots for the blissful ability to tan without effort. Even now, every year, my right arm turns a nice, deep, and sunkissed tan from driving down the road, tapping the beat of my music on the roof of the car. Some years, the disparity between my left arm and my right arm was almost comical.
I’m not a sunner by nature, I don’t intentionally set out to get a tan, because, well, I never need to. But this year, long commuting (5 hours a day!) cuts my daylight exposure to near-nonexistence, and so my legs have remained a woeful, and almost blinding, shade of white. So I grabbed my Discman, cleaned off the patio lounger, and spent a few hours basking in the clear, balmy warmth of this beautiful first day of summer. The sun occasionally retreated behind the clouds, and I’d go inside, get something to drink, eat lunch, check the SDMB, and return outside for some more well earned relaxation.
Finally, after a few hours of a really perfect afternoon, I came in for the day, feeling amazingly relaxed and refreshed. I sat down on the couch and practiced the guitar for a while. I surfed the net for a bit, played a few of the online games I am involved in, and decided to take a nap. A perfect way to end a perfect afternoon. I slept blissfully until 6:00, and woke up feeling damn good.
I went to the kitchen to see about dinner, and was standing in front of the stove, looking in the cabinet overhead, when I realized that there was heat coming off the oven. Odd, I’m the only one home. Why would the oven be warm? I opened the oven, and it was cold as could be. With dawning dread, I looked down at my legs.
You could use my legs to entice a bull. Stop traffic. Send Homeland Security into a frenzy. Make a cooked lobster jealous. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I’ve never had more than a faint touch of sunburn, generally on the tip of my nose, or on some part of me that never sees the sun, like my shoulders. But always just a very faint pink, and never painful. I’m not worried that I have any serious degree of sunburn, but it’s sunburn alright, and it does NOT feel good. I feel like I’m wearing an electric blanket on my legs. They’re actually giving off heat, which is something new to me. My arms are nicely tanned now, and face has gotten a decent amount of color, but my legs… My legs are really rather red, and man do they hurt.
I drew myself a cool bath, applied some lotion (which was painful before it was soothing) and searched for some Tylenol. Nothing. Not a damn granule of Tylenol in the house. The pain isn’t at all unbearable, but if I can avoid it, I’d like to. I’m about to give up the search when it occurs to me that Midol has acetaminophen in it as well. I check the ingredients: acetaminophen, caffeine and a diuretic. Works for me.
The pain has pretty much subsided into a dull heat, nothing I can’t stand for the next two days until the skin heals. No blisters, no sign of any serious burn. But I’ve never been this shade of red before, and I’m wondering if I have shoes to match it…