Summer is a Bummer

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Summer is a Bummer

By Susan Goldfein

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.

The beach in the summer is certainly great, but harder to enjoy as an adult.
The beach in the summer is certainly great, but harder to enjoy as an adult.

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.

Sunblock and summer are two words that certainly pair well, but how exactly should we apply sunscreen?
Sunblock and summer are two words that certainly pair well, but how exactly should we apply sunscreen?

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.

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