Sunday, June 12, 2011

The sunlight! It burns!

Despite all my whining and protests, the weather has gotten warmer. All around my little town, people are gleefully donning shorts and tanks and cute little skirts that really aren't appropriate for the amount of wind we get here.

I am not one of these people. I'm the one trudging quickly down the sidewalk, my eyes behind dark shades, my head covered with a hat, and every inch of my arms and legs covered by clothing. I'm even wearing socks. Is this because I don't get hot? Why, no, it's not. It's related to why you should never, ever confuse me with...

Annette Funicello

Not even in Ski Party, though I love that movie because it demonstrates a truth I hold dear to my heart: the only difference between a beach bum and a ski bum is the temperature at which we prefer our water.

But, anyway... Don't confuse me with darling Annette. I'm flattered if you're tempted to, seeing as she was and still is absolutely adorable and a lot a fun. I love the ocean. Surfing's always looked like a blast. And who doesn't love a good concert at a bonfire? But all that laying around on the sand in just a bikini and a smile? That ain't me.

It's not that I find anything wrong with prancing about scantily clad. It's not that I have a hard time sitting still that long. It's just that I have PMLE.

Have you heard of it? If you haven't, don't worry. I've talked to people who graduated med school who blinked at me dimly when I said those letters. (Okay, if you're one of those people, go ahead and feel foolish. It's rare, but not _that_ rare.)

PMLE's full name is Polymorphous Light Eruption. It's defined by by a painful, itchy, rash of welts that break out when the subject is exposed to sunlight. To how much? It varies by individual, but for me it only takes a few minutes. Once when I was just figuring out what was going on, it was too warm too early in spring and I had to unload groceries. I yanked off my shirt and tossed on a camisole. By the time I was done with one trunk full of groceries (three, maybe four trips between the house and the car), the skin of my back was prickling. Within an hour, I couldn't sit back in a chair without pain.

I also have other symptoms that were around for a couple of years before the eruptions started and someone diagnosed me. Nausea. Headache. General misery.

So, yeah... I don't like summer much. (And you see why I want to retire in _Western_ Washington and not in Central, yes?)

I also eat my steaks rare. And need lots of extra protein when I've been out in the sun. So, I feel I should also tell you not to confuse me with...

a vampire!

Cause I'm not. Really! I'm just allergic to the sun, usually dress in black, and enjoy the taste of blood... And I have a cat who looks a heck of a lot like the ones in that picture...

(Note: The picture above is by Victoria Frances, one of my favorite artists, and a copy of it hangs in my bedroom. A vampire wouldn't have pictures of vampires on her walls, would she?)

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