Tanning bed not quite Miami

Experts call it “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” I call it “Winter Sucks, I Want To Hide.”

Tomato, tomahto.

Either way, the cold and clouds had me feeling down. Unable to sneak away to Miami unnoticed, I did the next best (and MUCH cheaper) thing and visited a sun therapist at the local tanning salon.

A well-bronzed specialist in faux solar therapy showed me to my sun bed in a small, private room. She said I could wear whatever I wanted and promised that, for my eight allotted minutes, the piped-in Jimmy Buffett and sunlike rays of the UV bulbs roasting my body would soon have me feeling like I was only one salt-rimmed glass away from Margaritaville.

Hoping to add some color to my winter-white skin, and knowing I was alone in the room with no one to offend, I slipped into my bikini. The room was chilly, so I flipped on the switch and hopped into the giant panini press as quickly as I could, ready to bask in some much-needed heat.

It was like lying on a sheet of ice.

“(Expletive)!” I yelped under my breath — which, by the way, I could see. I balanced my whole body on my heels, bikini-clad bum and back of my head and checked the monitor. Power was on, lights were glowing, but the bed was freezing.

Stuck in an Arctic sandwich-maker for seven more minutes and 50 more seconds, I decided to put mind over matter and imagine a warm beach, trying to turn the hum of the cancer bed into the sounds of the ocean. But all I could feel was a cramp in each hamstring.

“OK, you can do this. Just think about all the people who work in the cold all day long,” I said to myself.

“NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE ARE STUPID ENOUGH TO LOUNGE AROUND IN THE COLD WEARING A BIKINI!” myself said back.

“Is everything OK?” the attendant asked through the door.

“Uh, sure,” I replied, wondering how she had overheard the conversation in my head, “just a bit cold in here.”

“Oh, yeah. We probably should have let it warm up first,” she answered.

I agreed.

But then, just a few frosty minutes later, the bed started heating up. I slowly dropped my shoulders, then my back, and finally my legs. It almost felt toasty. I even relaxed a bit, soaking in the warmth, pretending the radiant sun was wrapping loving kindness around me and holding me close to its —

HOLY SNOWBALLS!

The timer was up. The machine turned off, and a burst of polar air swept across my body.

I flung open the lid of that icy coffin and got dressed faster than a firefighter on a call to Megan Fox’s house.

Forty-two minutes remain on my “Winter Blues” package, but I have a plan. Next time? I’m leaving the bikini at home and fake-baking in my Snuggie.

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