Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Summer I Got A Tan

It was 1987. I remember it clearly because I had been laid off from my job (which I hated and wanted to leave anyway) right after Memorial Day weekend. It was the same summer all three of my sisters were pregnant. 1987. At first I was pissed, but later took comfort in the fact that the pool at my apartment complex opens on Memorial Day weekend. J

Now getting a tan might not sound like much to most people… who’ve never seen me. I have a very fair complexion and do not tan easily. If I go out with no sunscreen for more than 30 minutes, I will get sunburned. Spending a week’s vacation at the beach does not result in me getting a tan because I just get too hot, baking in the sun, so I don’t stay out very long. Except in 1987.

This was, of course, before the internet, which now makes job searching so much easier. No, back in 1987 someone looking for a job had to mull over the ‘want ads’ in the newspaper and then mail a hard copy of their resume to the street address printed in the ad. Sounds archaic now, huh? But that’s what I did. Of course, there were only one or two daily newspapers, and after the first couple days of scouring them for suitable jobs, it didn’t take long to find the one or two I’d actually apply for. My job searching would be done by 10:30 am.

So, after carefully folding my resume, placing it inside the envelope, hand-writing the address on the envelope (this was also before anyone had a computer at home), and putting the stamp on the envelope… I’d go to the pool for a couple hours.

I could go to the pool for a couple of hours because those hours weren’t in succession. I’d go from 11-12, then go back to my apartment and have lunch, throw a load of laundry in the coin-operated washer, then go back to the pool from 1:30-2:30, go back to my apartment for a soda, then toss the laundry into the coin-operated dryer, then go back to the pool from 3-4.

I repeated this routine every day for a couple of weeks, until I got a call about one of the jobs. I was interviewed and then accepted a job at a grocery store. While not my ideal career move, I had no money in savings so I had to take the job in order to keep from getting behind in my rent and bills. But alas – since I was the ‘low man on the totem pole’ at the grocery store, I got the hours that nobody else wanted: shifts like 5-11pm, 6-midnight. These hours were perfect for me, as I could continue my morning job search, followed by middays at the pool.

Finally, near the middle of August, I got a permanent full-time job that was more of a career move for me. But by mid August, I’d had 10 weeks of gradual sun exposure and I had a gorgeous, golden tan. Pair that with the fact that my hair was blonde and I weighed about 50 pounds less than I do now, I was a stunning vision of youth and vitality! (I know those of you who’ve actually seen me in person are having a difficult time envisioning the person I just described… don’t be jealous!)

After 1987 I never really tried to get a good tan. I mean, working full-time during the day just didn’t leave me with the kind of schedule I needed to get a tan. Plus, it seemed every other minute there was something on the radio or TV about people getting skin cancer from tanning, so that kind of put a damper on my desire to once again transform myself into the bronze god I was in 1987.

But then came our beach house, which we bought in Dec of last year. We love going to the beach and just being near the water, even when its not ‘beach season’. We consistently spend weekends at the beach even in the winter; all year round. So when we got the beach house and began writing those checks to pay for it every month, I told Joe that we should really try to spend a lot of time at the beach this summer, and he agreed.

Even though the traffic getting across the Bay Bridge to the beach can be harrowing during the season, we found a way around that, too. We’d leave our house on Friday nights at 8:30 or 9:00. By the time we’d get to the bridge an hour later, there was no back up. We’d sail right on to the beach; taking the same amount of time it would take us off-season. On Sundays we’d do the same. We’d leave at 6:30 or 7:00, after all the majority of the beach exodus had occurred.

Some weekends we’d go by ourselves, and other weekends we’d invite friends to join us. In May we spent 3 out of 4 weekends at the beach. In June we spent 3 out of 4 weekends at the beach. In July we spent 4 out of 5 weekends at the beach, including an entire week of vacation there. In August we spent 2 out of 4 weekends at the beach. In September we only spent 1 weekend at the beach because we were in Las Vegas another weekend and Massachusetts another weekend.

Nearly every one of those weekends at the beach we would spend 2-3 hours (Sat and Sun) enjoying the sun and the water. Then in Las Vegas I spent a couple hours each day at the pool, too. So without really trying, I once again got a really great tan. I kind of surprised myself, but it is really noticeable. Friends and co-workers have noticed and commented about my tan.

Recently if Joe and I get into some kind of a little argument or something, I say “Don’t be jealous of my tan…” as if that were the real reason behind the argument.

So now if I recall ‘The Summer I Got A Tan’, I’ll have to pick between the TWO!

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