Why is it so easy to believe we are invincible while we are on vacation? Perhaps this is a problem unique to me but it's one of the reasons Mr. R. goes into cold sweats when I plan a big trip. Another reason is his disdain for the "undressing drama" we must endure for airport security these days--but that's another story.
At the surf school, we watched the demonstration, chose our boards, and lathered up with sunscreen. Now, although I'm not what you would call "sporty", I've danced since I was four years old and I'm also a fair snowboarder. In my heightened sense of adventure, as the moment of riding those waves drew near, I decided I didn't need sunscreen on the backs of my legs. I thought, "I'm fairly coordinated. I can handle a snowboard and I have good balance, so I'll be standing on the board most of the time."
As a college graduate, you'd think I'd remember something about the reflection of UV rays on water, but...no. It also didn't occur to me for a minute that, if I rode the waves back to the shore, I'd have to paddle back out. On my stomach. With the backs of my pasty white legs to the sky.
I got out on those waves and I didn't do too bad. I got up, stayed up, and rode the waves back to shore over and over again. I loved every minute of it. Except for the minute I wiped out, rolled in the water as my instructor told me, and sliced the back of my knee on the vicious coral of Waikiki. Pain? Naaah. I'm on vacation. A little bleeding across the back of my leg? So what? I'm on VACATION!! Get back on that board and paddle out to sea for another wave!! WOOHOO!!
On the way back to the hotel, I remembered something I'd read about coral microbiology and I thought, "I should probably apply Neosporin and a Band-Aid to that wound on the back of my knee." And I did. And Mr. R. and I went to lunch. A big, long, expensive vacation lunch.
Around the time the entrees arrived at the table, I sensed a strange pulsing in my lower legs as though my veins wanted out of my body. "My legs feel hot," I told Mr. R. "I think I may have a sunburn." Then the snapping and popping started and I had to get out of my seat and walk around. "It feels like someone's snapping my skin with rubber bands!"