Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Winter Scene

Last week the Midwest experienced sub- sub- sub-freezing temperatures and raging Arctic winds. Because I am morally opposed to being exposed to any temperature colder than that of a pinot gris, I spent most of my days last week curled up fetal in my home and crying.

By the end of the week I had a full-blown case of what experts call "Seasonal Affective Disorder," or what I call "It's So Flipping Cold I Want To Hurt Myself.”

My doctor, likely tired of hearing his wife (me) whine to him about the weather, recommended - no, demanded - that I seek medical help to replenish the serotonin my body had lost at the cruel hands of Mother Nature. So I made an appointment with a specialist. In sun therapy. At Tropic Thunder Tan and Tango.

Now, I had not been to a tanning salon since the week before my senior prom, but I was desperate for warmth and light.

I made it to the salon (four miles in blistering winds, uphill both ways), where a well-bronzed young girl showed me how to work the tanning bed. She told me I could wear as much or as little as I wanted under the lights and that the piped-in Jimmy Buffett and sun-like rays of the UV bulbs toasting my body would soon have me feeling, for my eight allotted minutes, that I was one salt-rimmed glass away from Margaritaville.

Hoping to add some color to my midsection (darker shades are more slenderizing) and even out my faded tan lines up top, I opted for bikini-bottoms-only. Because the salon’s front doors opened directly to the parking lot, the tanning rooms were all about 59 degrees, I stripped down and donned my goggles, flipped on the switch and hopped right into that giant Panini press for my eight minutes of tropical dreamland in record time, ready to take my medicine.

It was like lying naked on a sheet of ice.

“$#!t” I yelped under my breath – which, by the way, you could see. I instinctively balanced my whole body on my heels, bikini-clad buttocks, and the back of my head. I checked the monitor. Power was on, timer had started, lights were glowing, but I was shivering.

Who DOES this? I thought, resorting to Lamaze breathing and trying to figure out what to do next. I tried to let my right shoulder blade touch the bed. MOTHER OF MERCY! I picked it back up.

I was stuck in an Arctic sandwich-maker, and needed a diversion.

I closed my eyes and imagined myself on a warm beach, trying to turn the hum of the cancer bed into the sounds of the ocean. But all I could feel was a cramp in both hamstrings.

I looked at the timer. Six and a half minutes left.

Think about the homeless. Think about the mailman. Think about all the people forced into the cold all day long, I said to myself.


“Is everything okay in there?” I heard the attendant ask.

“Um, I think so,” I replied, wondering how she had overheard the conversation in my head, “it’s just a little colder in here than I thought it would be.”

“Oh, yeah, I guess you’re the first person on that bed today. I probably should have let it warm up,” she said. She was a genius.

Just then, the bed started heating up. I slowly dropped my shoulders, then my back, and finally my legs. It almost felt toasty. I relaxed a bit. I’m pretty sure I even smiled a little and began soaking in the warmth, pretending that, on the other side of my bug-like goggles, was the radiant sun wrapping its loving kindness around me and holding me close to the warmth of its---


The timer was up, the machine turned off, and a burst of polar air swept across me, standing every hair on end and instantly turning my lips blue.

I opened my icy coffin, got dressed with the speed of a firefighter being called to a burning Playboy Mansion and was back home under a pile of blankets before you could say “Bahamamama.”

I still have 42 minutes left on my “Winter Blues” tanning package, which I plan to save for the next Arctic blast. But I’ve been doing some thinking, and I believe next time, I will leave the bikini bottoms at home and fake-bake in my Snuggie.

God bless America, and her Snuggie, too.


Bella@That damn expat said...

Tanning beds. Yuck.

I tanned before my wedding and it was a nightmare. I won't even get into it.

Sassy Britches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sassy Britches said...

I laughed so hard at this post! I totally admire your persistence in the face of adversity and am comPLETely on board with tanning in the Snuggie. Genius!

la_vie_en_shoes said...

"...a firefighter being called to a burning Playboy Mansion..."

Jules, you rock my world! Would you consider rocking it more than once a week?

Julie said...

I have to say that was one of the funniest things I've read in a while. Maybe they should post this on each tanning door as a "fair warning" to all. It is soooo true! Been there, done that!

Jenny said...

That is hilarious! Just think how cold that Mystic Tan spray must be this time of year! Yikes!

Morgan the Muse said...

I tanned for several (I mean several) months before my junior prom, and a couple weeks before, I was told that nobody could tell. :/

Tova Darling said...

Oh dear. Why do they keep it so cold in there???

I want to go tanning again... so, so much. Unfortunately, Hubs recently had a dermatology rotation where he spent a month removing cancerous moles, so now it's frowned upon in the Darling house. I'm totally faking seasonal affective disorder so I can go.