Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Canadian Burn

My Lovely Wife has, on many occasions over the past twenty years, roasted my pasty pale hide in the equatorial sun for her own sick enjoyment.

Vacationing for her means escaping to a steaming, sun-washed tropical location. We've cruised the Caribbean, meandered through Myrtle Beach, adventured around Atlanta, and repeatedly returned to the flamingly fiery funparks of Florida. Our vacations typically require me to squeeze or spray SPF6000 into every last pore of my body until every possibility of ultraviolet rays sneaking their way to my pigment-challenged skin has been entirely eradicated.

And if the difficulty of avoiding sun-poisoining weren't enough, there's the heat. I might live in North Carolina now, and I have acclimated in recent years to my adopted climate, but it doesn't change the fact I'm a Yankee born and bred. If the thermometer tops eighty-five degrees and I move more than one muscle at a time, I'm going to sweat. Profusely. From my scalp.

Yes, I'm a head sweater and it isn't pretty.

So, when work brought me northward during this year's spring break, it seemed a perfect opportunity to bring the family along for a non-traditional vacation in the Great White North. Can you imagine my delight at the prospect of a vacation with no sun screen, no hat head, no fear of dining alfresco, no veering off from the pack to walk in the slim slivers of shade cast by random trees and buildings? I would be at home with my own kind, thanking the heavens for the remaining winterly tilt of the Earth.

When we arrived, it was almost too much of a good thing. Ohio was frigidly, bitingly cold, but we toughed it out for several hours at the zoo and left the next day for Niagara Falls once my work in Columbus was complete. We scanned the weather forecasts that promised temperatures in the fifties and sunny skies for our two days across the Canadian border. Perfect for a pale New England boy.

We began our second day at the Butterfly Conservatory and exited an hour later into lovely spring weather. From our hotel we sauntered sans jackets to the skywheel, then down through Queen Victoria Park, and along Niagara Parkway to catch glimpses of double rainbows at the Horseshoe Falls.

As we walked, the all too familiar signs began to appear. Twice I caught myself trying to adjust the brim of a hat I knew wasn't on my head. At one point I found myself sinking into shadows cast by a wall. The skin on my expansive forehead was beginning to grow taut, and when I pressed my hand to it I could feel the transfer of heat to my cool palm.

Good Lord... Could this really be happening? This was Canada.

Freaking Canada!

I ask you, what kind of genetically mutated cave dweller manages to contract a sunburn in Canada in fifty-degree weather with the chilly mists of Niagara Falls swirling through the air around him?

© 2012 Mark Feggeler


  1. Mark--Ain't it a pain being an albino? I, too, am pasty white. On the rare trips to Florida or the beaches of France, I am the one hiding under the one straggly tree. We are like those cave-dwelling newts that are meant to never see the light of day...

  2. I must say I should be accustomed to it after so many years. Swarthy people don't realize how good they have it.