Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Overheard on Hornby Part 1 – The Sunburn

It’s is now day 3 on Hornby and if you haven’t heard, it’s frakin hot out. Thermometer says 34 degrees and that’s in the shade. We have resorted to sitting in the shade with as much cold San Pellegrino as possible at hand, doing as little as possible. We didn’t even make it to the beach today. Yesterday was also sweltering although we at least went to the beach for a couple of hours. Which brings me to the day before that (Sunday) which we also spent at the beach with Mark and Sylvia and their two: Mateo and Claudia; Leanne & Darren, Grace and Matty, and our crew which includes myself, Zoe, Heather and Sofia, Donny, Lisa and Isabella. We spent an enjoyable few hours swimming and playing in the sand, and waiting for Kent, Jacob, Jordan and Jivko to make it round to the bay in our boat.

It was very hot out and so I dutifully put on sunscreen. In fact, I carried it around with me and sprayed it on what seemed like about every three seconds. The afternoon wore on, the men showed up in the boat, sandcastles were built, jellyfish located and captured, and I applied more and more sunscreen. Apparently that was not enough as after about 2 hours, I started to feel a bit burnt. I suspect now, looking back on it, that perhaps the amount of sunscreen accumulated to the point where it formed some sort of a compound that actually concentrated the sun’s rays in much the same way that a magnifying glass will. Or perhaps a layer of baby oil (not that I ever did that when I was a teenager. Nope.) Anyway, at the beginning of the day I was told I was so white that I was like yogurt, and lets just say that at the end of the day I was no longer white. I was not even pink. I wasn’t even red. I was beyond red and into a realm of the spectrum that we do not have a name for quite yet. I think if we could see infra red then perhaps that may come close. This may explain why dogs where looking at me funny. I can just imagine what they were thinking:

Dog # 1: “Hey look at that lady over there. Holy is she ever burnt”

Dog #2: “Wow. She’s hit the infra-red spectrum.”

Dog #1: “What is it Humans say? Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”

Dog #2: “She must be English.”

Dog # 1: “Only the English have skin that white.”

Dog #2: “and red”

Dog #1: “Wanna go sniff some other dogs’ asses?”

Dog #2: “Sure. Let’s go.”

And there’s also the contrast factor – how the burnt skin is offset by the white skin that was safely hidden under the bathing suit or t-shirt is surely one of Mother Nature’s wonders. I remember a science experiment in grade 9 involving Magnesium and some other chemical. The resulting white was spectacularly bright. I was instantly reminded of this experiment when I checked out the damage in the mirror. It was outrageous. A brilliant strip of white stood out against the clown nose-red skin that was my sunburn. Under other circumstances I would have admired the candy-cane effect but here I just felt shame. How had I failed? Where had I gone wrong? I checked in with my friends. They had seen me put sunscreen on, right?  Yes, every few minutes. “You were carrying it around like a baby” said one friend.

I can only assume that I am actually much whiter to start with than I thought I was. Yogurt white. Or maybe even Liquid paper white. Apparently I need to put a thick layer of zinc oxide all over my body, all the time while in the sun. So much for a tan. I guess it’s back to white for me.


Until next time…

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