I got a sunburn

One of these years I’ll learn my lesson. But 2021 is not that year.

The pool at my apartment complex typically opens Memorial Day Weekend. However, I live in the bipolar Midwest. Instead of a sunny, warm three days, we got 40 degrees and overcast. Not too surprising or earth-shattering, but it did put a damper on my plans to be poolside.

This past weekend made up for Memorial Day Weekend. Both days were sunny and in the 80s, so my boyfriend and I enjoyed two days of swimming and taking a nap in the sun.

Here’s where I don’t learn my lesson. I love being outside, and I love to enjoy sunshine on the weekends, since I have an office job and get cooped up during the week.

However, I’m fair complected. Sunscreen only helps to a point, as does a hat and sunglasses.

Back in April I went on a run during an unusually sunny day. I wore my sunscreen, and a cap and sunglasses. I figured a t-shirt would be the smarter move to protect my shoulders from getting burnt. However, in all my smart-ness, I didn’t think to put sunscreen on my forearms or the part of my biceps that were exposed.

I got home, got a shower and got ready for date night with Mr. Sam. I put on one of my favorite (okay, the only one that fit, although it is pretty) dresses and we had a great time.

Then I got home that night and saw it: a bright red farmer’s tan.

For those of you who have never seen a farmer’s tan, it’s the marker of every middle aged farmer or blue-collar man who works outside throughout the year. Off of the top of my head, I can’t think of any guys my father’s age who doesn’t have the familiar contrast: liquid paper white chest, torso and shoulders, with a reddish-brown face, neck and mid-bicep down.

This is petty, but I haven’t had a farmer’s tan/sunburn like that since I was a kid, and all of my work clothes are cap sleeves or sleeveless. There is nothing more unfeminine to me than a sleeveless dress, part of a bicep being pale, and the rest of it being lobster red. So I couldn’t wait for the pool to open so I could get some sun on my shoulders and even up the colors on my arms.

Saturday came and it was a beautiful day. We met at the pool for swimming and enjoyed ourselves before Mr. Sam had to leave for a gig. I lotioned up before going to the pool and throughout the time we were there. I thought I was safe.

… And then I got home and discovered my chest, back and belly button were sunburnt. The chest and back aren’t a surprise, but the belly button? Especially when the rest of my midsection isn’t burnt? I’m not sure how I pulled that one off.

Sunday arrived, and it was another beautiful sunny day. The sunburn went down a bit, so I figured that afternoon I’d be good to lotion up and go. I lotioned up my face, neck, chest and back as well as everything else. The cap I wear when I go running came out and I pulled my ponytail through the back. Sam had his mini cooler with drinks and we were ready to go.

Sunday was a better day. We got to catch up with some other residents we see during the summer, and generally relaxed. After the pool we went back to my place for veggie burgers and some TV.

I thought I was going to get out of Sunday unscathed.

This morning determined that was a lie.

I’m not badly burnt, but I’m definitely looking pink. Like Piglet from Winnie the Pooh, but probably less adorable. One of these days so will accept that I don’t get bronzed or “glowy,” at least not without turning pink first. However, today is not that day, and my mom didn’t raise a quitter.

Thankfully I’m not a nudist, so I’m the only one who has to know what I got myself into. And my arms aren’t two starkly different colors anymore. They’re just tan and slightly less tan.

To be honest with you reader-friends, I’m not sure what motivated me to tell you about my sunburn. If you’re looking for a point or a moral to the story, let’s go with this one: always use sun protection. You’re never tougher than the sun.

Yours in writing and running,


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