Shady lady

I’m not a big fan of direct sunlight. Last week at work we had an hour-long meeting outside, which most people seemed to like, but there I was squinting in the afternoon sun and wondering if my nose was going to burn.

See, I’m pale. I’m of Anglo-Saxon ethnic heritage. I ought to be living in some damp part of the British Isles where the sun shows up for about a week in July instead of hanging around for months.

I don’t tan. If my skin doesn’t burn in the sun, it’ll turn a pinky kind of colour, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll get some sun-damage wrinkles or moles a few years later.

It can be hard wanting to spend warm summer days indoors in a land where most people seem to be itching to get outside and play beach cricket, so I was glad today to meet someone who shared my anti-sun worship beliefs.

In the taxi on the way home from St Lukes, the taxi driver, a middle-aged Maori woman, saw some teenage girls walking down the road wearing those spaghetti-strap tops. This sparked her off on a rant.

How could they, she wondered, walk down the street like that with their arms and shoulders exposed? Didn’t they know about the ozone hole? Didn’t they know that if they walked around like that, they’d eventually get cancer?

She reckoned that there should be ads on TV that showed an animated ozone layer with a hole in it and arrows showing the killer rays going through it and down to Earth. Then maybe those girls would cover up.

She said that most Maori don’t go to the beach to sunbathe. It’s the Pakeha who take all their clothes off and lie around in the sun for hours. Her grandmother had told her that she should only go to the beach to get food for the table, and if she was to do that, she should wear a hat.

So to this day, whenever she’s out in the sun, she always wears a hat. Sometimes her husband will say, “What are you doing wearing that? You’re the only one with a hat!” But she said she didn’t care and would wear a hat so she didn’t fry her brain.

So this summer, I’ll be looking out for large shady trees.

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