Growing up, the happiest day of the year for me was always the last day of school. Why? Because it was the start of the laziest, most fun season of the year. But what did adulthood do? It went and ruined it! Here are the five most annoying things about summer as an adult.
The sun went from being our friend to our enemy.
Generations ago, a day at the beach meant pouring a bottle of baby oil on your skin and literally frying yourself in the sun. The theory was that an early-season sunburn would peel off and reveal a lovely golden tan that could carry you through Labor Day. We all know how that worked out. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million skin cancers diagnosed every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. And a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.
And so we switched from the baby-oil burn to lathering up with sunscreen 365 days a year, careful to apply it as per the directions. We also began wearing hats and demanding shade umbrellas when we dined al fresco.
Then, lo and behold, what happened? The almighty sunscreen may have slipped a bit off its pedestal. Wearing it may not be a reliable way to prevent skin cancer, scientists in the UK recently warned. In what the Daily Mail called "a groundbreaking study," it was found that long-lasting damage from the sun is not stopped by sunscreen because of how UV radiation attacks the skin. While an SPF cream can stop sunburn and the short-term effects of sunbathing, it allows enough rays through to cause potentially fatal disease in the long term, the paper reported. Instead, it's better to stay covered up, and dare we add: Stay out of the sun.
The FDA also expressed some concern about those aerial sunscreen sprays. People, especially kids, are at risk for inhaling the ingredients. And when the wind blows, the protective spray may miss its mark (you) and land elsewhere.
We don't get enough time off work to do both something and nothing.
One of the hallmarks of childhood summers was being bored. You had so much free time that eventually you exhausted yourself of ideas about how to fill it. The battle cry of "Mom, I'm bored" generally began in early August and by the time school reopened after Labor Day, everyone was looking forward to returning to the homework routine.
As an adult, we get a measly two or three weeks off work a year and in most cases, it can't even be taken all at once. We rush into our pre-packed car or rush to the airport as soon as we clock out on a Friday and try to stretch our travel plans by coming home late the night before we are due back in the office. It sucks, really, and is hardly relaxing.
Staycations are for the delusional or those who haven't tried them. Most staycations degenerate into working around the house and running errands. If you can still check emails, you will.
We long for the pure relaxation of empty days. Boredom is a luxury item that few can afford nowadays.
Bugs remind us that they will one day rule the planet.
Mosquitos, ants, roaches, no-see-ums -- they boldly move into our homes and apartments and spoil our garden parties. Bugs have gotten more ferocious. As kids, we would catch lightning bugs and put them in canning jars with holes punched in the tin tops. We'd feed these delightful insects grass and offer them gifts of water. We treated them well as our captives. Yet the bug world seems to have united and retaliated. Ants now march in thick columns along our kitchen counters like conquering armies, bee-lining for the smallest crumb left in the toaster. Mosquitos attack us in our beds, leaving us with big red welts to show they've been feasting on our exposed ankles and arms while we slept. No-see-ums laugh at our citronella candles.
Summer, it now belongs to the bugs.
There are more houseguests than bugs.
Generations ago, when you visited a city, you stayed in a hotel. Sure you would let your friends and family know of your pending visit and you would certainly schedule time together. But now we are all one big AirBnB. There is no studio apartment too small, no privacy concern too large to escape the inevitable summer onslaught of houseguests.
And what's worse, many of our houseguests expect us to act as their tour guides as well. They want to know where the "locals" eat out and expect you to provide navigational services to tourist destinations for them. Otherwise capable people plop their vacations in your lap and treat you like a concierge. You wind up having to wash extra sheets and towels, feeding them at least breakfast every day, and packing them snacks and bottles of water for their day of exploring. And then you go off to work and hope they don't come back until after dinner.
None of this matters if our guests hail from some place where we can claim reciprocal visitation rights, of course.
We need to shave more.
Hair grows faster in the summer and the task of shaving, which admittedly takes 30 seconds in the shower, assumes humongous and annoying proportions. At least once in the summer, you consider going au natural. This is most likely to occur during the second week of your houseguests' stay. Just sayin'.