Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Frienemy, Summer

I have written before about how much I hate winter and cold weather and snow.  Chicago is not a happy place four or five months out of the year, and every time autumn rolls around I start questioning my sanity in living here.  However, summer in Chicago is just about perfect.  It's gorgeous outside, there is lots to do and I don't have to trudge through six inches of dirty snow in order to walk my dog three or four times a day.  I wake up in the summer feeling happy and ready to go, a stark contrast from winter where I wake up and immediately check my countdown to spring.  Summer truly is my favorite time of year.  Well, for the most part.

My problem with summer is that although I love it with all my heart, it is my natural enemy.

For one thing, I have Vitiligo.  A few years ago, some of my preschool students pointed out that my eyelashes were turning white.  I chalked it up to some weird spoke in the aging process and ignored it.  Then I noticed splotchy white marks on my stomach and arms and immediately consulted my personal physician, Dr. Google.  I diagnosed myself and called my mom.

ME:  "Mom, I think I have that Michael Jackson disease."
MOM:  (Long pause) "... You're a pedophile?"

No, no I am not.  I went into the doctor and was diagnosed with Vitiligo.  Let me tell you, if you have to have an autoimmune disorder, Vitiligo is the one to get.  There are no symptoms other than white splotches and white eyelashes, plus it's kind of cool to watch it slowly spread across your body.  It's kind of like having a tattoo you can't control.  I know, I'm weird.  I also like to put Chicken Fried Rice in the blender and blog about it, what can I tell you?

Anyway, in the summer, I have to be really careful in the sun because my spots have no pigment and burn easily.  This has lead to my mom buying me honest to goodness safari clothing for me to wear in the urban jungle of Chicago.  She also suggested a sun umbrella.  I am not dainty or cute enough to pull that off, so I turn to my old friend, sunscreen.

Aside from my sun issues, I also am deathly allergic to bees.  Those little buggers can kill me in one sting, which lead to  interesting childhood memories of being rushed to the ER by my friend's mother, who was not wearing any shoes.  I think if I am ever a parent, I will bar my children from befriending kids with life-threatening issues.  It's just too much to worry about.  Anyway, I carry this little number around with me constantly as soon as the temperatures around here hit fifty or so:

Once, in college, I was flying a kite on the quad (because I am a grown up) and I had the shot in my pocket.  I sat down and accidentally injected myself in the hip with epinephrine.  I went to the ER and had a heartbeat of over 220 beats a minute.  Since then, I carry a purse and am a little more careful with a fully loaded syringe filled with adrenaline.  It only took one ER visit, which I'd say is an improvement on collateral damage from my normal embrace of life's lessons.  

So anyway, I love summer but it hates me.  I am willing to forgive it, though, in exchange for long sunny days, outdoor concerts, the smell of grass, sitting on the beach (in an iron lung, don't flip out, Mom) and sleeping with the windows open.  It may be an abusive relationship, but I wouldn't trade it for anything, and every year I mourn it with great gusto when it leaves me.


  1. You would have made quite the fashion statement in safari wear,probably would have started a new fashion wave. Just remember... mother knows best!

  2. Okay, coffee came out of my nose here:

    ME: "Mom, I think I have that Michael Jackson disease."
    MOM: (Long pause) "... You're a pedophile?"

  3. Oh, lord. Shooting yourself up with the epi by accident. The campus EMTs were probably yukking it up about that one for a while.

    I mean, not at all. Completely understandable.

    On a more serious (!serious!) note, I think you handle having vitiligo with grace. Really.