It occurred to me recently, as the daylight began lingering noticeably longer and my sinus cavities began producing excessive amounts of snot for which I am now required to consume an overabundance of allergy medication making me alternate between bitchiness and sleepiness, that shorts/skirt/swimsuit season is just around the corner.
And I am pasty white.
I am determined to break into this season with a little color to my skin. I don't want to look like I am ethnically confused or anything, I just need a little glow. Not glow in the dark.
I clocked out for my lunch break and drove down the street to "Juicy Tan".
I perused the flier placed in a crisp sheet protector by the front desk and did my best to block out the valley girl chatter from the leathery brown girl at the front desk. "Like, if you totally sign up for like a 12 month contract, you get the best deals. Omg. It's like not even funny how good the deals you get are. You like get free lotion and stuff."
Without looking up, I pulled my best talk to the hand gesture with hopes that I would exude a demeanor of deep thought. Inside the Juicy Tan. Where deep thinking and checkbook reflection are clearly prohibited, because she didn't shut-up.
"But I guess if you just wanted to like get an unlimited package or something, those are kinda good deals, too. Our beds are like the best in town!"
So I cut my eyes at her and spoke in order to appease her. "I don't like to burn. And I'm not a fan of melanoma."
"Well, we like have the Mystic Tan. That's a spray."
"I know what Mystic Tan is."
"Do you want to sign up?"
Images of a confused Ross Gellar flash through my mind, and I emphatically shake my head no. It would be my luck to do a 360 degree turn instead of a 180 and forever be dubbed the half-orange, half-ghost mutant everyone is freaked out by and afraid to piss off, because there's just no telling when she'll go into a rage and blow up to the size of the Marshmallow Man and become a giant Peep menace to society. Which could totally work to my advantage, but I'm too vain to risk it.
"We like have this really neat bed called the Magic Bed, and you won't burn in it. It's only 16 minutes and it has this like massage mattress and it beeps halfway through so you know when to turn over and it's like really neat and stuff."
What I heard: "You won't burn..."
"I'll take an unlimited package of that... and some of that cheap lotion."
I strip, lather myself in tanning lotion which reeks of coconuts, and strategically place a cute little dolphin sticker rather close to my hoo-hoo in order to track my tanning progress before making myself comfortable on the massage mattress and pulling the top shut. I fiddled with the massage mattress settings and considered leaving the heavenly thing on when it was time to flip over on my stomach. I decided it would not be a good idea since I probably wasn't the only person who had considered this.
About 30 seconds later, the Magic Bed flickers on and I'm blinded by blue lights even though my eyes are shut and I'm wearing special goggles.
My first realization inside the Magic Bed was I forgot to turn on the fan.
My second was that Miss Valley Girl had sold me a month of unlimited tanning inside Dante's Inferno.
After 6 minutes I began to panic. My pulse was elevated, I was sweating in places I didn't know could produce sweat, I was pretty sure the Magic Bed was cooking my liver, and the top was so heavy I thought I was trapped.
I sang 99 bottles of beer on the wall, cried, and pounded on the lid in agony. "I'm MELTING! Oh God, get me the hell OUT of here!" I wailed, knowing my cries would be lost inside the excessively loud humming of the demon tanning bed.
Sixteen minutes later, I was finally set free. Panting, I crawled on my elbows to the fan I had failed to turn on and switched the setting to "High" while draping myself across the top.
My mascara had run down my face from the heat and the birthmark I hadn't seen since childhood was glaring at me like a pissed off boyfriend whose calls I had been ignoring.
But as I peeled the dolphin sticker away I saw a tan line and smiled.
As I walked out, I waved to valley girl and said, "See you tomorrow!"