Living here, in the refrigerated section of the country, you start jonesin’ for sunshine and thawed toes along about January. By April, you’re nutty as a fruitcake with spring fever, a disease that bedevils folks north of the Mason-Dixon.
How can you distinguish between spring fever loony and personality disorder loony? Good question. Speaking for myself, I check the calendar. There’s definitely an uptick in weirdness in March, so I give most folks the benefit of the doubt. And a nice wide berth, in case I’m wrong.
Maybe because winter’s so grim and sunless or maybe because I was born under a fire sign (Leo) or possibly because of the clothes, I have an outsized love of summer. I love everything about it. I love the longer days and the open windows and the chirp of crickets; I like going barefoot and sitting on porches and clothes drying on the line. But most of all, I love the sun — the sweet, sweet sun.
In my little world, life begins on Memorial Day and sputters to a close on Labor Day. That’s pool season, if you’re wondering. An all-too-brief, but delightful, time of sharks and minnows and Marco Polo. A season of pruney skin and zinc oxide-coated noses, sun-bleached eyebrows and chlorine-scented skin. Of high dives and sun-warmed concrete and running where the signs say don’t.
Then you turn into a teenager. And the rules change.
The pool goes from being a playground to being a showcase — the place to see and be seen. Swimwear morphs from a sensible one-piece Speedo to the de rigueur (and very dicey) two-piece bikini. An easy transition it isn’t.
When you jump in the pool, the top flies up. When you dive in, the bottoms plunge to your knees. It’s a conundrum. A dainty slide into the pool is the only practical solution, but, alas, dainty I’m not. So I spent most of every summer furtively tugging my swimsuit this way and that.
The rest of the time I sashayed and lolled around like an oil spill. That’s what you do when you’re marinated in Bain de Soleil, you shimmer and glisten and ooze. Your skin’s as slick and slippy as a hard-boiled egg. You’re a greased pig at the county fair.
Good times, right? The best. SPFs and UVAs and UVBs were unheard of; they hadn’t even been invented yet. What did we know? We were young and vain and invincible and very, very suntanned. And now, tada, I look like a drawstring bag.
I miss the ozone layer.
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