First experience, lesson learned
| I didn't sleep much the other night. One moment I was sweating the next I couldn't find enough of the bed sheet to cover myself with, to prevent the chills from crawling across my skin.
I'm going to take for granted you are all are familiar we the sheer agony resulting in over exposing your skin to the sun. With that assumption I feel less obligated to dress this story up with overly descriptive words most likely causing me additional pain and discomfort. You see, right now I am doing my best to pretend my skin isn't burning, itching, or pretty much feeling that if I move to much it's going to tear open.
I'm sure your probably wondering where I'm heading with this. How exactly does this fit the criteria of the writing assignment -- is he going to tell us this was his first time experiencing sun burn?
Let's flash back five hours before I went to bed...
Somehow I ended up at Hollywood Tans with my wife. Instead of waiting in the car I decided to go in and, I don't know, check the place out? I listened in to Angela and the tanning receptionist talk tanning. A somewhat cryptic conversation about booth types, duration of exposure, tubes, and pricing packages. Interesting...there was more to tanning than I had initially thought, to include these salons catered to a solid populous of men.
Before I knew it my wife handed me a single serving size of tanning lotion and a white strip of paper with two gold circular stickers on it. I took a seat on a light yellow faux leather couch and watched the receptionist, turned tanning booth sanitizer, disappear in to the back. Moments later she returned and informed us booth numbers 5 and 6 were ready for take-off.
Angela gave me a quick one, two, three, on how to use the booth as well as to how to form the gold stickers in to protective eye shields.
"Yeah," I lied.
Alone and honestly nervous, I found tanning booths to damn small, restrictive to much, if any lateral movement. Inside the anti-chamber I placed my single-serving tanning lotion and set of gold stickers on top of a small black stool, kicked off my sneakers, and struggled with the now not so simple task of getting my socks off inside a narrow tube.
From inside I could clearly hear the booth next to me start up. "Damn." I cringed. "I'm falling behind."
I struggled out of the rest of my clothes and bit open the tanning lotion. Squeezed the coffee colored cream in to my palm and haphazardly applied it to the areas of my body I could physically get to.
"Fan." I recalled Angela telling me to turn it on, so I did. Next I pressed the little blue button set just below a blue digital number showing the tanning duration had been set for 10 minutes.
"Holy mother of God." I turned away from an angry glow of what looked like hundreds of long florescent tubes trapped behind wire fence. I fumbled for the gold stickers, peeled one off, and like a pro formed the concave cup shape required for it to be stuck in place over my eye. Forming the second eye shield wasn't as easy. I dropped it twice, having to peel it off the floor once and even formed the concave shape the wrong way resulting in the sticky part being on the outside. I wasn't going to go down like this, beaten in to panic and frustration by a tanning booth. Finally I succeeded, I had two gold stickers firmly affixed over my eyes.
I stepped in to the tanning portion of the booth and pulled the door closed behind me. I surmised the two straps hanging from the ceiling were meant to be held on to so that's what I did. The thought of a raw chicken on a rotisserie flashed through my mind making me feel down right silly. Despite the strength of the exhaust fan, one I imagined was quit potent, it got real hot in there fast. It didn't take too long for me to feel like I was standing in front, behind, and alongside an oven set on broil.
Now I will be honest in telling you about the next thought that slammed in to my body with more intensity than the tanning lights, was the realization I had stripped off all my clothes.
My hands quickly released themselves from the straps and attended to matters more pressing. I've never had sun burn down there and let me tell you now, this is not what this story is about, and God willing, I will never have the misfortune to write "a first time experience" on.
Pressing matters resolved, I took the remaining minutes to imagine how silly I must look. Praying I locked the door to save me from any such proof through the eyes of another.
The lights died out finally and I stepped back in to the anti-chamber, got dressed, and went outside. Angela looked up from the sofa and smiled at me.
"Not bad," I lied again.
In the fifteen minutes it took us to drive home my skin tone transformed in to the color of a crab. I surveyed the damage in the bathroom mirror sensing those 10 minutes would have been equal to several hours spent in the sun on Maui. I thought about taking a shower, to rinse off the tanning oil, but decided the pain of water hitting my skin wasn't worth it.
Suffice to say, my first ever experience in a tanning salon was painful to say the least.