I spent a couple of days over the last week doing something I've never done in my life: lying in the sun on the beach.
You heard me - never.
I am one of those kids who grew up being told by Mum and Dad, "If you go out in the sun, ever, you will die." So I never did. I've probably developed a mutation allowing me to generate vitamin D through the consumption of beer. Or is that Vitamin B? Suffice to say I never need to wear a fluro-reflective safety vest - my day-glo white cancer-free skin is visible as a small point of light from as far away as Neptune.
A few weeks a go I did the Coogee to Bondi walk and I loved it. Here
's on of the best pics I could find on the web, from fabulousredhead.com
So I returned to Coogee a couple of times over the past week and discovered the joy of lying in the sun - just a little bit. I did feel a little bit guilty in a vague non-specific way - I guess I know how Christians feel now - but overall, it was so relaxing I never would have guessed.
Of course the usual precautions were taken; I was swimming in sun cream and it was four in the afternoon. However, the sun was still hot, the crowd was well-behaved, heavily tanned and half naked. In fact, after getting a few stares at my prominent untanned gut, I started apologising randomly to anyone who walked passed my beached-whale-chic not quite matching their porn-star-bronze. My first view of the overcrowded beach gave me a distinct impression that a plane load of half naked humans had simply been dropped from 30,000 feet and lay where they landed. Droves of bored, mindless sun-worshippers slowly ploughing the sand in their slow animalistic way, watched over by a shepherd in the form of a yellow-and-red surf life saver with the name of the suburb emblazoned cheekily across ther back of his speedos.
The best part of the day was the life guard's broadcast announcement that with the high tide there were a few bluebottles coming in and everyone near the water's edge should take it easy and, uh, yeah, everyone, uh, um... yeah. Just... er, take it easy. So we took it easy. It wasn't particularly, uh, hard.
A couple of days later, of course, I was lying next to my friend's pool on a particularly overcast day without dousing myself in a litre of sun cream and I got a bit burned. Maybe I just haven't got the hang of the whole relaxing thing yet. I'll keep trying.