The sun and I have issues. Sure, the sun ‘s energy is responsible for all of the delicious food I eat, and it can be harvested as a source of renewable energy. But I prefer that it not shine directly on me. Ever. With very fair skin, red hair, and blue eyes, I am just a case of skin cancer WAITING TO HAPPEN. Most everyone I’m related to (those over the age of 50, that is) have had some type of cancerous or precancerous spots removed. Get in line.
I’m vigilant about sun protection, but I dislike sunscreen. Sunscreen feels gross, usually irritates my sensitive skin, and has lots of lovely ingredients that may create other health risks. I use it, but prefer other options, such as sun protective clothing. My arsenal includes three long sleeve, light weight shirts, a very wide-brimmed hat, and a pair of light weight pants. While these articles of clothing are bearable in hot weather, I get much warmer than if I were just wearing shorts and a tank top. Or if I were naked. But there is the sun to consider.
The hat eliminates one of the major ways that heat escapes, so I’ve recently discovered a cooler alternative for hot summer days — the sunbrella*. This is not a special piece of equipment, simply an umbrella that I carry when it is not raining, when it is the opposite of raining. Sunning. I’ve actually seen plenty of people do this before, it just never occurred to me that it was something I could do.
Last Friday I was walking down the street carrying my sunbrella, when one of the two guys I was about to pass on the sidewalk made some comment. I should have just kept walking, but instead I kind of paused. (Note to self: Self, next time, just keep walking.)
“I said, ‘I’ll make shade for you all day.’ ”
Really? Um, no thanks, I think I’ll pass on that offer. Can you say, “Creepy pick-up line?”
*My sunbrella/umbrella is one of these, that we found at our local green general store. I haven’t had it for long, so I can’t comment on long-term durability, but it’s done the job in the rain and sun so far.