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Really, the last place on earth I would expect to find myself would be in a tanning bed. I am very paranoid about skin cancer, to the point where I insist Jaime checks my back for new moles, and I go to the dermatologist about once a year to check my skin for any signs of moles. I never skimp on sunscreen, lathering on Face Cotz’s SPF 40+, and when I go to the beach, I wear sunglasses and sit under an umbrella. My pale gold complexion is a topic of great amusement to my much darker mother and sister, who joke that it’s impossible for anyone to tell I am from Hawaii.

So, how the hell did I end up crawling into a tanning bed today? Plain and simple, it was free, I was curious, and my friend reassured me that it would only last 13 minutes, not enough time to burn me. My brain concluded that it was probably no more harmful than a day at the beach in Hawaii. So I stripped to my undies, put on a pair of goggles, and crawled in.

I have to say, were it not for the skin cancer risk, tanning beds would be the most autism-friendly invention ever. It’s very soothing inside of the tanning bed, with the top and bottom sheltering you. It reminded me of being in a tiny “pod” at a spa once in Colorado, breathing in oxygen mixed with orange essence. I just lay there for my 13 minutes, allowing my mind to relax and unwind in the comfort of the confined space. The warmth of the UV lamps is very soothing as well. I’m a creature of warmth and actively seek out toasty places with soothing, repetitive noises. I used to crawl behind the refrigerator when I was a child, since the fridge’s motor was warm and hummed.

However, now that it’s been several hours, and I’m noticing a slight pink tint to my shoulders, chest and legs, I have to say, I won’t be trying it again. Maybe someone can put a heater inside of an iron lung to replicate it without the sunburn.

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