I am not a beach person. I’ve never been a beach person. There’s something about all the beautiful people, delicious breezes, musical waves crashing and warm sunshiny caresses that just don’t do it for me. Maybe it’s because the ocean tried to eat me once in Greece, or maybe it’s the residual result of nightmarish movies like Open Water or horror shows like Baywatch, or just the disappointment that real beaches aren’t more like Saved by the Bell vacation episodes; maybe I just prefer mountains.
Or maybe my inner restlessness can’t be quenched by quietly soaking in vitamin D. My parents have this home video capturing my sister and me attempting to join my mother in the ever popular Saturday summer activity of the 80s and 90s, simply referred to as Laying Out in Your Backyard. We lasted for like 30 seconds tops (15 on our backs, 15 on our stomachs) before sighing in utter boredom and running off to conquer the day. Though I realize we were just being fidgety little kids, I never quite grew out of that fidgetiness.
But the end of July marked the end of my third gig volunteering on a farm. And this time around, I knew enough about the inevitable bodily farm wear and tear to pencil in a mandatory recovery period.
While I was in Ireland, a friend asked me how life on the farm was going. My response was something along the lines of:
Life on the farm is HARD. I have horsefly bites all over my body that I can’t stop itching super aggressively.
For the record, I think I am allergic to them. A bite under my knee gave me an actual second knee (like, on the same leg – I’m aware I originally came with two knees) and one on my arm became the size of a ping-pong ball. Another one on my ankle numbed my leg from my shin to my foot, which of course led me to believe I was dying a slow, poisonous death. These are not normal reactions. And it’s still numb.
Pricker bushes and invisible thorns attack my arms, my neck, my legs, every piece of exposed body, littering it with gouges and bruises. Plants that look fuzzy and nice are really the devil and try to kill me with their stinging powers. I almost fell into a ditch with a power tool, I got kicked in the back by a horse, two more tried to eat my shoes with my feet still in them, and a foal bit my leg, but it was right on an itchy horsefly bite, so it kind of felt good. I’ve had more than one run-in with the electric fence which didn’t end well for me or the fence.
And I totally get why it’s called a farmer’s tan now. My skin has an awkward pattern going on due to odd clothing combinations, including rubber boots and shorts. Always rubber boots. I’d rather sweat through my clothes and slosh around inside my boots than expose my body to the evils of nature, nettles, nasty prickers, and giant horseflies, who will eat you whole if you give them a chance. I’ve taken sadistic pleasure in killing them in action, as well as turning the hedge cutter on prickers and nettles not needing removal, payback for the pain their family inflicted upon me. Other than that, great! Seriously.
As part of my newly instated Farm Recovery Program (I have no idea how actual farmers do it), which also includes running all around the UK, this weekend I am headed to Ibiza, an island full of The Beautiful People, booze and unce-unce-uncing, only one of which I am actually a fan. But under an itchy haze of plant attacks, animal and ginormous insect bites, it seemed insane to turn down Scottish David’s offer to join him and his mates for a few carefree days on the beach (although Scottish David probably remembers it more like me inviting myself on his holiday, which might also be accurate, and yes I have to refer to him as Scottish David because apparently everyone ever is named David, including practically all of his non-Scottish mates on this trip). In any case, 30 seconds of Laying Out in Mother Nature’s Backyard might just be the elixir my tattered body needs. Even if it comes with The Beautiful People and unce-unce-uncing.
I did hear Orlando Bloom punched Justin Bieber in the face last week in Ibiza. But I sort of hope any celebrities leave before we get there. The island really isn’t big enough for the lot of us.