I’m a fair-skinned redhead: I cannot tan. But I LOVE the water. When I was six years old, my parents sent me away to a deaf kid’s summer camp for a whole week. My mom was very firm with the camp about me being sunscreened frequently, and reminded me to wear the stuff every hour and try to stay out of sun. I dont know what she was thinking.
I spent the first two days horseback riding and swimming in the pools. On the third day, the camp took us all to Raging Waters, a water park somewhere in the mountians of Utah. We piled into the buses at dawn and arrived early morning, when the sun was still kissing the treetops. My counselor slathered that slimy bananna-smelling goop all over me and guided me to the kiddie pond. I stayed there all day. I taught myself how to swim by floating face down in the shallow waters for hours on end (yes, I came up to breathe every so often!). The counselors fished me out around noon for lunch and a recoat of Banana Boat. Then the sent me back into the water. We left the park shortly before dusk. That’s the last I remember, as I took sun sick shortly after. I spent the rest of the week in the infirmary with a fever and vomiting. They never called my mom. When she picked me up at the end of the week, I had barely healed 2nd degree sun blisters all over my back and shoulders. She said I screamed when she hugged me.
That was then. Today, despite my age and wisdom, I still like to hang out in waterparks. Every single time, without fail, I get burnt. I DO use sunscreen. Just not as frequently as I should (which is, every 30 minutes). Yesterday, Brian and I spent all afternoon with his daughter at the local waterpark. I gave myself a single coat of sunscreen, and promptly forgot to take the bottle with me. I came home with bright red shoulders and thighs. Today, we went again, this time with Jen’s brood, also all afternoon. Today, however I used LOTS and LOTS of sunscreen and applied it to my skin every hour (or so). My shoulders, unfortunately bore the brunt of the summer sun and are now burning hot slabs of hell. I know I will have blisters and peeling skin in a couple days. The rest of me is doing okay–no worse.
If my mother were here, she’d yell at me for an hour.