By: Ann Brown
I have health insurance, thanks to God and the IBEW, but I don’t have a health plan, per se; you know, an actual plan for maintaining my health. Suntanning season upon us, I devote a great deal of time in the sun these days, worrying about melanoma. It’s funny, in a fucked up way, that something I love doing so much, something to which I am officially addicted, gives me very little pleasure. I bet I get more pleasure out of doing shit I don’t love, like laundry, because at least I know I am getting the laundry done.
Uh-oh. This train of thought has mindfuck written all over it.
Let me think this through: I spend ten months out of the year waiting for the sun. When the sun comes out, I hie myself to the backyard and commence sunbathing (I love that word, sunbathing). The first ten minutes outside are devoted to setting up and adjusting, arranging my iced tea and my cell phone (not that I am going to answer it; just so I can see what time it is), pushing my fat back up through the vinyl strips of the chaise lounge, making sure I am one hundred percent facing the sun absolutely head-on, etc. By this time, I am often out of breath. Not having fun yet.
Adjustment period over, the next twenty to thirty minutes run the SPF debate going on in my head.
Me: You need to use SPF 45, at least.
Me: Yes, you do. That one-digit SPF crap you have is useless. You may as well just rub chicken fat on your skin and stretch out in the cast iron frying pan.
Me: That’s clever. I should remember that for the blog.
Me: Don’t change the subject. You are going to get skin cancer.
Me: Anyone want lunch?
Soon, the heat of the sun starts to bother me. I think the sun is hotter than it used to be when I was a young teenage sunbather because I used to be able to hold a prone position at the beach or pool for, like four or five hours at a time. Of course, I was distracted from the heat by listening to the Beatles on the radio and fantasizing that George and I were married. Nowadays, after fifteen minutes or so in the sun I get all squirrelly and shit. I have to wiggle my legs or gnash my teeth to the rhythm of a song or run my hands over the stray hairs on my legs or make pretend braille out of the raised moles on my arms or something. I cannot stay still anymore. Which is ironic, really, because I also have no energy.
Plus, my fantasies are mostly about food and my house being clean. And that’s just not racy enough to keep me engaged for hours. Although, I once spent almost 45 minutes in the sun, mentally going through the shit in my closet and organizing it according to fabric. Pretty lame, I know. But I did have an orgasm.
This afternoon, however, the minutes flew by while I baked in the sun because I had a lot on my mind. Catching a glimpse of myself in the window, I had to come to grips with the fact that even though a tanned body might make one appear a bit slimmer, in order for me to look okay in my bathing suit, I’d have to spend, approximately, one thousand hours on the direct surface of the sun. In a hat made of mirrors.
I was utterly chastised by my reflection and vowed right there on the spot to stop looking at myself in windows when I am in a bathing suit.
Repositioning myself on the chaise, I once again mulled over the SPF issue, which carried me through to the end of my sunbathing hour.
You know, what the fuck. Heart disease will surely get me before the melanoma does.
Excellent. A health plan.
[Photo Credit: Flickr Member NCReedplayer]