Sunday, February 28, 2010

It Must Be my Mediterranean Skin

It was a slow day at Jacques Penney. That’s what I called JC Penney when I worked there when I was a teenager. I said it with a heavy faux French accent. We were all standing around, me and a few women I worked with who were also bored. These were older women. They had husbands and kids. They worked for Jacques on nights and weekends for extra money.

“Ugh, my skin is peeling from this sunburn,” one of them women scratched her shoulder blades against a display. I joked about taking one of the hands off a mannequin so scratching would be easier.

She looked me up and down. It was summer. I was 17 and tan. “You don’t burn, do you?”

“Nope,” I smiled back at her. “I think about the sun and I get tan.” Then I paused, looked up and to the right, as if deep in thought. Then I showed her my arm, “See, it’s already more tan.”

“Well, you’re Polish. You have that Mediterranean skin,” she replied, thoughtfully.

I conjured a map of Europe in my head. The summer before I had vacationed in Germany, Poland and Italy with my family. It took a long time to drive to Rome from Krakow, Poland.

Pop quiz, Internet! Do you know why it took a long time to drive from Krakow to Poland?

It’s because Poland is nowhere damn near the Mediterranean Sea, my friends.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Taoist said...

It's that Baltic skin, you know.

Wait til I tell my Viking-blooded wife all about how easily she should be tanning...

March 1, 2010 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Beej said...

I know, right? I should have rosacea and a perpetual burn!

It's weird, my Mom burned all the time, but Dad tans. Yet, their villages in Poland are about 15 min apart.

I think I take after my Dad. Except for the time his bald spot got burned when they went to St Thomas.

March 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Ruby said...

You know, Mr. Ruby tans very easily, too. I've never seens him burn. He is 25% Sweedish, 25% Polish, and 50% German. It makes no sense. I think there must be Roma in his blood.

March 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger Beej said...

Ruby, I swear I am adopted. But I am Polish through and through. I say and do a lot of dumb things--it's gotta be the Polishness.

But the thing is I look exactly like my sister, and I've been hearing more and more that I look exactly like my Mom.

March 1, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

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