Whatever happened to the summers of my youth? School’s end, the extended hours of daylight, more time to spend outdoors? While I still enjoy the extended hours of daylight, my appreciation is from behind a screen door. Summers used to be carefree. Now they’re hazardous to your health.
It’s hard to enjoy summer when you’re reminded of risks that come with warm weather. Can I possibly find the same pleasures when I feel I must take out my garbage wearing a hazmat suit?
Blame COVID-19, global warming or thinning of the ozone layer, but daring to walk outside unprotected feels like extreme risk-taking behavior. And the beach? A real downer. My inner child longs to run freely and build elaborate sand castles. But my outer older person threatens with more age spots and a trip to the dermatologist if I don’t remain under the umbrella. Among my beach equipment, I have lately included a tape measure to ensure that I’m six feet away from the nearest blanket. And mask-wearing does result in a weird sun tan.
As to applying sun protection, what’s the proper protocol? Do I dab sun block before or after skin moisturizer? If I apply moisturizer first, will that prevent my sun block from working? But if I apply sun block first, will that prevent my moisturizer from plumping my wrinkles? In any event, there are now two layers of lotion on my face before I add makeup. No wonder I walk around feeling like a stick of butter.
Remember when mosquito bites were simply that? Annoying little itchy bumps that subsided in a couple of days? Now there’s the Zika virus. I’ve been warned to cover up and use insect repellent. Do I spray this on before or after the sun block and skin moisturizer? One expert suggested wearing mosquito netting over our faces. Why not? It’s the perfect accessory for the COVID-19 mask.
In the good old summertime, who ever heard of ticks? Ticks were a sound made by my grandfather’s pocket watch. But I must also cover and spray to prevent Lyme disease. So that’s me, in 90 degree weather, walking my dog, dressed like I’m ready for skiing.
But as I watch my grandchildren from said screened porch thoroughly enjoying their summer, and their mother chasing them with a tube of sun block, another thought occurs. Summer hasn’t changed. I have. Summer always had its perils, but to be concerned about them was the responsibility of adults. I can recall my mother’s hesitance to venture out from under the umbrella. Today, that shade-seeking grown-up is me.