Wet Again

A woman’s body is eminent domain until she hits the age of fifty.  Then all bets are off.
Actually the day started rather nicely, all things considered.  Although getting up at the crack of dawn on my day off has to be considered sacrilegious, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, a light breeze kicked up every now and then to cool the skin, and the full bloom of spring was turning into a high day of summer without the usual oppression of New   Jersey humidity.
Which was why I was hiking down a trail at the ungodly hour of seven o’clock in the morning with a smile on my face and not bemoaning my fate with every step.  Most fundraisers were marches in the park, on nice even paths, with green grass and planted flowerbeds.  Not mine.  Oh, no.  Somehow I got roped into hiking the hills of rural New Jersey with a piece of paper in one hand and bottle of water in the other.
Now anyone who’s ever cracked the rarified air of fifty knows that things tend to slip after this un-welcomed milestone.  And sag.  And, of course, sweat.
So summer notwithstanding, my T-shirt already had stains under the armpits, my shorts had become a second skin, and the lovely tanning cream I used on my legs to hide my varicose veins now had white ribbon trails running through it.
Yes, indeedy.  All bets were off.
But, of course, there has always been my pride.  And, its ever present compatriot–arrogance.  I could never have admitted to myself that perhaps schlepping up and down the hills of New Jersey might not be such a good idea.  And I would never admit that going it alone wasn’t an absolutely superb idea.  And I would never even consider that the question I didn’t ask, the question that was burning through my brain at this very moment, wasn’t the most important thing in my world.
Where am I going to find indoor plumbing?
So paper in one hand, water bottle in the other, and sunglasses constantly slipping down my nose, I trudged on.  Because if there’s an elixir in this rarefied air, it’s total and complete denial.  Of course I can hike five miles.  No problem.  And no, I won’t get lost.  The trail is marked plain as day.  Follow the pink ribbons.  Easy enough.  No, I don’t have a problem hiking by myself.  I’m communing with nature.  I have birds chirping encouragement, I have the bees buzzing me on.
And the flies eating me alive because they love the taste of Neutrogena in the morning for breakfast.
So I dig into the pocket of my shorts to get the one lone tissue I possess out in all its wilted glory so that I can wipe the beads of perspiration from my fettered brow.  And then I realize it’s coming.  And this one’s going to be a doosey.
The burn starts at the tips of my fingers and spreads right down to my toes.  I feel like yelling “FLAME ON” the same way Johnny does in the Fantastic Four comic books.  I know not to go near a tree or a bush or any type of dry grass for fear of starting a forest fire.  And I stare at my one lone tissue wondering why I just didn’t bring my “Sham Wow’s” with me.
The funny part is, it isn’t even eight o’clock yet.

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