P keeps asking me if I notice a difference driving my car with four new tires. And I’m really trying to feel the difference but, as far as I can tell, it’s not something tangible that instantly improves a situation, like say a great pair of wedge heels.
Even as Caroline walked out to the car this morning, she said, “Those tires don’t look any different”.
A whole lot of not different.
But here’s something that’s different. Apparently I turned into an eighty-year-old woman over the winter months.
Over the last six or so years, I have become pretty diligent about keeping sunscreen on my face. Just call it a desperate attempt to make up for an ill spent youth that consisted of days spent getting the perfect tan on my face with no sunscreen.
The 70’s were a kinder, gentler time when people didn’t know words like OZONE or LONG-TERM SUN DAMAGE.
Oh sure, I was on the swim team for much of my childhood and I always wore the requisite zinc oxide smeared across my nose, but that was more for the look. THE COOL SWIMMER LOOK.
I didn’t care if my nose got sunburned and I certainly wasn’t concerned with any reapplication after swimming, I just wanted to look like all the cool older swimmers as we sat and ate our packets of dry Jello gelatin in between races.
Why did we eat Jello gelatin? I can’t remember but I think it involved some theory about providing energy. Or maybe just a sugar high that could fuel a nine-year-old to victory in the 100 meter freestyle. Whatever. ALL THE COOL KIDS DID IT.
Anyway, at some point in my late twenties, it became apparent that my skin had suffered some sun damage. The main thing that concerned me was the fact that it wouldn’t really tan in the sun anymore. It would just turn red and splotchy. HOT LOOK BY THE POOL.
Are you suffering from heat stroke? No, I just fried my skin throughout childhood. This is my consequence.
Then, after Caroline was born almost five years ago, my hormones exploded in the form of melasma, also known as evil mask of pregnancy. The first summer after she was born, in spite of my liberal use of sunscreen, I developed dark, patchy spots in the perfect form of a mustache.
Horror doesn’t begin to describe it.
When I close my eyes, I can still hear my screaming.
Thankfully I managed to micro-dermabrasion and bleach away that bad boy. Otherwise I would currently be wearing a veil over my face for all public outings lest I scare the little children or cause them to think they’re at the circus.
So, these days I wear some heavy-duty sunscreen in addition to various big, floppy hats to provide maximum sun protection. Even though between the hat and the big sunglasses I look like someone’s Aunt Maude having a day at the pool.
I fully expect that Caroline will end up in therapy over the hats her mama wore to the pool throughout her childhood.
While we were in Florida last week I became giddy with all the freedom, threw caution to the wind and played in the ocean for at least an hour without a hat on. My face didn’t burn because I had on my SPF 170, but it did get some sun for the first time in five years.
There are vampires that have seen more daylight than my face.
Anyway, that little moment of indiscretion in the waves came back to haunt me in the form of not one, but TWO age spots. I’d like to say they are freckles, but I’ve never seen a freckle a 1/4 inch in diameter. For that matter, I’ve never seen a freckle that looks like a map of the former Czech Republic.
Needless to say, the micro-dermabrasion has been working overtime since I returned home to the harsh reality of my bathroom mirror with overhead lighting. Also, there has been many a prayer for skincare redemption being lifted to the heavens.
I think at least one of the age spots has faded to the point of looking like it could at least be a distant cousin to a freckle, but I will never make such a grave error again.
So, if you need to find me at the pool just look for Maw-Maw sitting in the shade with a hat that could be mistaken for a satellite dish.