I’m returning to NYC tonight…looking like a lobster. My entire body is sunburned, and the patches of bright red skin bring me back to my childhood days of sunburns and summer adventures gone awry.
The other day, I took my nephews to the beach. It was only 70 degrees outside, but because I’d failed to apply sunblock to myself (I’d been too busy smearing their faces with sunscreen, much to their chagrin), I got roasted. By the end of the day, I was in so much pain, I had to order a glass of water at the bar just to soothe my arms with ice cubes. Something similar happened after a Boardwalk trip during the summer of 1999. When my parents picked me up, I was licking my hand like a cat because the red hot burn was so intense. I slept in wet towels that night, but luckily I didn’t need to resort to that on this trip. My days of dangerous sunburns are mostly over…now I simply wait and see whether I’m doomed health-wise.
The truth is, I don’t get sun burned on the east coast. The skies are so polluted and the air is so humid that I can never feel the sun, even in 90 degree weather, so I embrace it as much as possible when I go to dry climates like Tucson, Arizona and Santa Cruz, California. Unfortunately, the feeling just isn’t mutual, and the sun will sooner destroy me than improve my life. I will say, however, I’d rather be covered in sunburns and feel the warmth of the strong, most brilliant star in the sky than live in a cold, dark place for the rest of my life. I owe my sanity and happiness to sunlight, and though I have a 90 percent chance of acquiring skin cancer because of the countless disastrous burns I’ve gotten throughout my life as a pale, freckled, sadsack redhead, the sun means the world to me, and I wouldn’t trade my youth in perpetual sunshine for anything.
That said, I’m not looking forward to the jokes people will make after seeing my red back and face. Oh well. I’m a ginger, so clearly I can take the heat. I’ve been doing it my whole life.
Yesterday was particularly relaxing, and those of you who know me are aware that I don’t really understand what it’s like to let go and just breathe. I was able to do this at Burke Williams spa, where I got a pedicure and hung out in a hot tub (which stung my burns, ow!). At the end of my pedicure, the lady tried to lead me back into the spa waiting room, but I just kind of wandered aimlessly and picked up another cup of lemonade, leading her to say I was finally fully relaxed and at peace. She’s worked with me a few times before, so she knows my anxious tendencies all too well. She gave me back my tube of lavender Essie nail polish, but I was so calm that I left it in my bathrobe. I didn’t even think to check my cell phone until my mom and I got back on Santana Row, and usually I look at it the second we leave the spa. I finally got out of my head yesterday, and it felt awesome and freeing. Can I please make this a regular thing? Everyone would be happier if I just chilled out. Like, everyone.
As much as I’m going to miss having gelato everyday, sitting by the beach, eating on the water with my mom, and devouring the best burritos in northern California, I’ll admit I’m excited to return to my routine in Manhattan and start hitting the gym again. I’ve neglected that recently and feel gross and flabby (even though I know it’s impossible for me to ever get fat). I have a lot to look forward to this summer, including a possible Vegas trip in late August. I have this rule that I must go every single year, so here’s to hoping I can make that happen before fall rolls around and I start bitching about New York’s disgusting weather problem. Take me back to Vegas!
I’ll leave you with this: the west coast remains the best coast, but New York is my home…for now.