And so I have entitled my sunburn healing process. Lobsterfest. How many days will it take for my skin to return to a normal tone? No one knows. It’s current shade is somewhere between ripened tomato and firetruck. All over my body. My whole entire surface area is red, thanks to six and a half hours spent floating down an unknown Missouri river. I will say that the six hours were definitely worth it. No one has had as much fun floating down a river (okay, maybe Huck Finn since he basically has a whole book about it) than this girl (okay, maybe also Jordan. He wins the float trip constant enthusiasm award, which is on an entirely different level). It was also worth it because I now have a gnarly Chaco sandal tan to validate myself as a proud Chaco-wearing, outdoorsy, Idahoan. Also I would like the record to show that I applied AND reapplied sunscreen. And not in the way I normally do that attempts to strike a balance between appearing concerned about skin cancer while actually trying to become a golden-brown goddess (I have yet to find the balance). These methods include applying only the smallest dollop of sunscreen, or putting a lot on and then immediately jumping into the pool before it can soak in.
Highlights of the float trip include:
1. Actually managing to organize a float trip for 14 people. 20-year-olds are generally awful at coordination. All kudos go to our friend Annie for making this happen. No one could have done it but her. Seriously. Everyone made it to the raft and it was a complete act of god.
2. Being repeatedly attacked with water guns by a roving family (gang?) of Missourians (hicks?) in canoes. This was varying levels of amusing depending on how much time we had already spent on the river. The first time was kind of like a thrilling river pirate show-down. The third time was more like a lot of annoyed 20-year-olds wondering why they were being tormented by middle-aged adults with water guns.
3. Ending the float and discovering that a single, miraculous bag of pretzels remained dry. Everything else was entirely soaked and had a mildewy river stench.
4. Getting out of the raft and seeing the glory of my new Chacos tan.
5. Having an excuse to eat an extreme amount of snacks. You need energy when you are out in the sun all day doing nothing but sitting on a raft!
6. Peeing in the river. There are no bathroom stops along the way! No one can fault you for this and everyone does it! I’m not saying peeing in places that are not bathrooms is something I really look forward to, it’s just a lot more socially acceptable in the river than at the pool.
7. Being so so so tired from paddling because there was no current at all that you definitely need some froyo from Chill once you get back. And when you get to Chill you realize they have toasted almond flavor AND lime tart (not as good as salted caramel or coconut, but it will do). SCORE.
8. Everyone made it out alive.
Less awesome things that happen two hours later when you realize that no amount of sunscreen could ever have prevented the kind of burn you are currently suffering from:
1. Not being able to sleep, sit, or wear clothes because they all feel like sandpaper on your sunburn. I have never been so aware of my lower back in my whole life. Undeniably the most sunburned portion of my body, I feel it when I try to fall asleep, it touches against my office chair at work, I cannot wear a pencil skirt because it is literally bound to the small of my back and is the most abrasive thing ever.
2. Feeling about three degrees hotter constantly. As if it was not hot enough here already (IT IS).
3. Putting on a lot of lotion to heal the sunburn and then walking to work only to sweat it all off. If you haven’t experienced the lotion-sweats, I envy you. I would say it is three stages worse on the Sweat Severity Scale than when you go for a run at four in the afternoon. Not only does lotion seem to make you sweat a lot more, it generates a really appealing and not-at-all-obvious greasy/sweaty film all over your skin. I arrived at work today looking like a swamp monster.
4. Looking weird. Sunburns aren’t attractive.
Fortunately the list of pros outweigh the cons so we can all rest easy that the float trip was worth it! My hot tips for the coming week: sunscreening liberally, lotioning with moderation, sitting in air-conditioning as much as possible.