A Wrinkle In Time

It was a beautiful, sunny, summer Sunday. I was up at sunrise and enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee as I looked out at the lake. For a while I sat at the keyboard working on my novel without distractions of any kind. I had the day all to myself. The solitary time ahead of me felt almost infinite. It was a good feeling. There is nothing more relaxing than having a day without pressures or obligations of any kind. If I wanted to work around the house and do some cleaning or mow the lawn I could, but I didn’t have to. “This is going to be the best day I’ve had in a long time,” I thought to myself. As I sat there reveling in the possibilities of such a glorious day, I could not have imagined that 16 hours in the future this beautiful day would end in horror for me.

I was at the lake, and few things in the world help me unwind more than listening to the waves, watching the boats go by, or when I’m in the mood, to be out on the water myself. I decided to start the day by taking my kayak out.

As so often happens, the sun rose in the East on this day, and since I couldn’t find my sunglasses I decided to paddle with the sun to my back. This, of course, was a brilliant strategy for half of the trip. Being a fair-skinned lad of Irish descent I smartly applied a generous layer of sunscreen, knowing that it was not only the sunshine I had to worry about, but the sun reflected upward from the water as well. The first half of my trip was, as I said, westward, towards Canada in fact. The lake was not too choppy, but the wind and waves were against me, making it enjoyably challenging. The feeling of battling the elements. Man against nature. On this day man won the battle as I reached my goal, turned and headed homeward. The wind and waves, now defeated, were now on my side and helped me make quick work of the trip back. I was tired and invigorated at the same time. The hot sun, now higher in the sky, was beaming down as I pulled my kayak ashore and headed inside to shower the sweat off.

After a quick shower and brunch I felt refreshed again. I decided to tackle the overgrown lawn which had been taunting me all weekend. Again I applied sunscreen, especially thoroughly to my face, before going out. Believe me, I need to do this. If anyone is the textbook candidate for skin cancer it’s me. As a child I once missed an entire week of school due to sunburn. I’m not sure why anyone didn’t call Child Protective Services over the fact that my parents let me get that burned. I think that due to countless childhood sunburns my skin is so sensitive to the sun now that if I were to get in a tanning bed there would probably be a quick, bright flash of flame and just a pile of ashes would be all that was left of me.

Some of you may have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s the mental illness where some people’s body chemistry, their brain, is so acutely sensitive to sunlight that they become overwhelmingly depressed during the short, dark days of winter. By contrast, some people become energized by the sunshine, almost manic perhaps. I remember an episode of the show Northern Exposure where the main character, Joel, who was relatively new to living in Alaska, became uncontrollably hyperactive during the summer solstice when there is nearly 24 hours straight of sunshine. I think I’m like that. On a beautiful, sunny, summer day I can’t stop myself from just going non-stop. I took care of the yard and went on to finish some other outdoor chores I had been putting off. All in all, it was a very productive day.

Finally the sun did set and the warm, summer night arrived. It was the end of a long, perfect day, but as I said earlier, I had no idea of the catastrophic horror that was about to alter my life. I was exhausted, but in that good way where you know you’ve worked yourself hard all day and your muscles are feeling heavy and relaxed. Despite my best efforts with the sunscreen I had gotten quite tan and I could feel the warmth radiating off my body. As I prepared for bed I brushed my teeth. When I was about to spit I glanced at myself in the mirror. “Wait, what was that?” I thought. I did a double take. I spit out my toothpaste and looked up again, afraid of what I would see. Was it a trick of the light, or am I really seeing what I think I’m seeing?

I looked up at the light and then back to the mirror again. I leaned in closer, closer still. It was still there. I reached up and touched the corner of my eye tentatively, still not sure it could be real. It was real alright.

At the corner of my left eye, plain as day, was a thin, white line extending about an inch outward towards my temple. A wrinkle! Oh the horror. Apparently spending the day outdoors in bright sunshine had caused me to spend a lot of time squinting and when you squint your skin wrinkles up and the sun doesn’t get into the little cracks where your skin bunches up against itself. I swear to God that if that wrinkle isn’t gone when my tan fades I’m getting botox.

69 responses to “A Wrinkle In Time

  1. Oh the horror…the horror.You “tan people” piss me off. I’m a pale redhead. That kind of exposure in the sun would have turned me into a blistering messor a pile of ash!Have a great weekend!

  2. lhmhemGreat story Phil :o)As you can imagine, my skin is not exactly white living in the tropics. I am so glad i don’t smoke because i would end up with all of those lines!

  3. I’m a pale skinned redhead also. I highly dislike tanners 😛Good story though. 🙂

  4. I’m not a tanner! How many times did I say I had put on sunscreen? I wear SPF 45 that I put on twice a day and I still get color, if not a burn!

  5. red head freckle face and hate the sun here, Phil! I hear ya. If it isn’t SPF 1000, I burn.I’m sending you good quality eye cream to beat that wrinkle into oblivion.Cheers (it’s Friday)!

  6. lmao! love this, and guess what? a little line around the eyes is sexy…means you have laughed and often! And as I read, I was thinking you had an allergic reaction to the sunscreen…I have burned so many times as a child and young adult, I sometimes think the minute the sun hits my skin I become one giant freckle….

  7. Oh stop it, you sound like a woman! 🙂 Great story btw.

  8. oh my word Phil, gimme a break…hahaha, welcome to my world, I am 42 and have had to accept that the wrinkles are on their way.My son has tried to tell me I have a grey hair also but has yet to prove it to me.I have also been told I have “eye flaps” yes apparently my eyelids have eyelids according to my son and I look quite weird. I don’t see it really. If you are worried about a wrinkle just wait until your hair starts to thin out and you seem shorter and your get those liver spots on your hands.I am not a fan of growing old but it is better than the alternative….being dead…..Oh and next time you should paddle your kayak all the way to canada and come see me we can get some poutine and beaver tails!!!Have a good day phil ya nut!!!hahahaha

  9. LOL!!! Wrinkles…you’re old

  10. Hi Phil,Welcome to the joys of aging! Unfortunately, it happens to all of us sooner or later. Some people just take a little longer to start developing those small creases and wrinkles you’ve begun to notice on your face. If it really bothers you to the point of distraction, you could consider getting an “eye job”, but after a few of those your face begins to take on a whole new look until you may not even recognize yourself in the mirror anymore.I’ve got a great idea; quit studying your face so intently after you’ve spent all day in the sun. Maybe that’ll help!

  11. you metrosexual.come on, let’s go get a mani/pedi and then drink white wine spritzers!…and i’ll invite you to my next botox party 😉

  12. Well, Phil, pretty soon your eyesight will start to go as well, and you won’t be able to see your wrinkles anymore… hah.

  13. wow..you and i should get together and write a book together….i’ll be finishing my story in a couple of days..it’s worth the wait..you’ll see….

  14. Thoreau meets the realities of middle age — Oh, the horror, as g-man suggests. I tell myself, of course, that it only adds character to my face. Who wants to be a barefoot boy, smooth of cheek?May you have an outdoorsy weekend.

  15. We all plunk down the $120 for a teensy pot of eye cream eventually, Phil.Lucky for me I’m still on the kiddie version that costs $14 in the Body Shop.

  16. “As so often happens, the sun rose in the East on this day….”I so glad that often happens.And as for the wrinkles? Yeah, they happen too!

  17. Hehehe..too funny..! ps…Go for a 60 next time. (shrugs)btw Phil..I can’t sing 😉

  18. Phil…whatever you’re doing..keep it up. Your following is growing by leaps and bounds. At least I still have the pride in knowing that I was here before you got famous. :o)

  19. I dont know what type of good carma you got boy..but these people luv yah….keep up the good work..

  20. Tip of the day: To avoid squint induced wrinkles, wear sun glasses!

  21. Sherbears- Thanks for they eye cream. Even though the line is gone now that I’ve faded, I think it’s time I start watching out for Father Time.Sunny- Thanks for the compliment. I’d still rather laugh and then have the lines disappear when I’m done.Cinthia- You complimented me and insulted me in the same sentence. I’m not sure if I should say thanks.Quinn- I agree that aging is better than dead. I hate dead. What is poutine?

  22. Princess- I may be old, but you’re Canadian.Hi Miss Litzi- Maybe you’re right, I should remove all the mirrors in my house.McKay- LMAO! No offense to everyone else, but your comment is the funniest so far. Josie- Thanks alot for that. If my eyesight goes I can just get lasik eye surgery. With modern technology I’ll never have to grow old HA HA HA (maniacal laughter)

  23. Fancy Face- What would our book be about? Ian- They say the chicks dig a man with some gray hair and character in his face. Is it true?Jmai- $14 at The Body Shop? Thanks. On my way!Tai- Thank you for appreciating my favorite line in that whole thing. I was hoping someone would enjoy that too.Heidi- Do they have an SPF 60? Maybe I should just go outside with a blanket over my head.Linny- I have no idea what happened over the last few weeks, but it’s fun. I swear that the comments are more fun to read than anything I write. Fancy Face- If it’s karma I hope I don’t run out.Dzeni- I keep losing my sunglasses! I need more than one pair I guess.

  24. Great story Phil.I don’t have wrinkles, I have laugh lines !! I’m fortunate in that I have olive skin, and tan easy. That being said, I don’t sunbake, and wear sunscreen. Wrinkles only show that you are experienced, not old (experienced in what … that’s your tale to tell !)Have a great weekend.Take care, Meow

  25. Thanks Meow. I just wish my “experience” wouldn’t show until I’m much older, like 80.

  26. Tee-hee … have a great day, don’t get too much experience !!

  27. <>Phil<>Middle aged women LOVE “character” lines yes. Silver hair, “laugh lines” aaaaaahhhhhhhhh, my heart melts!! LOL. Glad to know you use lots of sunscreen. I grew up in the era of Baby Oil and basking in the sun for hourrrrrrrrsssssss. Not a good thing. All the smart ones are the ones with that beautiful porcelain skin now. So yes, “solar keratinitis” (I need to re-look up the spelling) is real and alive. Age spots that swell in the sun and all those years of bad burns are against me now….you still have time….keep the sunscreen on, but ENJOY the outdoors….there is a good balance there. The aging process is quite unique. I was more afraid of the cellulite than the wrinkles…(what a shock-a-roo that first little *blip* of cellulite was…..) Have a great weekend! Sunscreen and all!! 🙂Peg

  28. LOL…great story. I have two summer colors…burned and white. I have always wanted a nice brown tan…not to be, however.

  29. scrappy, you must try a spray tan…not that i have. i live in OC & they’re illegal here (not really).phil, thanks for stopping by. i’m so glad i vacuumed. but my lancome age defying cream is missing…ahem.

  30. VERY GREAT POST!! :o)

  31. *The sun is not my friend, the sun is not my friend*….keep saying this until you believe it.btw, wrinkles add character to your face. stay away from the botox, ya hear!

  32. HI phil…..fresh cut french fries, with fresh squeeky cheese curds and covered in real fresh gravey….bad for the arteries amazingly awesome treat!most americans do not know what it is but once they have tasted it are very surprised by how yummy it is..I had friends from the states get over how it sounded and just try it they said it should be its own food group they loved it.and beaver tails are a sweet pastry in the shape of a beavers tail..and big like it too..

  33. I may be canadian, but you’re a yank…and the only thing worse than a yank, is a french canadian….

  34. Hey princess where in canada are you at??? Ontario here

  35. oops watch out girlie-girl, princess has a character and something about real french canadians like me…sorry princess but when it comes to voting between a yankee and a french canadian…wellllllll..anyways your tasty treat quinn really is good i eat it every once in a while, it’s called ” poutine”french-fries, cheese curds, and either bbq sauce or spaghetti sauce..i prefere spaghetti sauce…

  36. I am totally opposed to that. I get really active in the winter. I hate the summer and I’d rather be indoors withe the AC in full blast, the fans on max, a pitcher full of freezing iced tea and a pile of good movies and books.-N

  37. Glad you got your blog going.I suffer acutely fron this disorder, but I prefer to call it sunworship.

  38. Fancy – face – LOL!!! That was a joke about french canadians that I made to phil a long time ago…I hope no one took that personally…Uhhh..haha…

  39. Look at it this way… two of your most prized possessions are full of wrinkles, namely: your brain n your balls… so cheer up mate there’s a lot of fun to be had with them wrinkles 😀

  40. hey Phil, did yoy know that for each line on our face..they each have their own story…thats what my nana use to tell me. for each line theirs a story to be told of our lives….

  41. Fancy – I TOTALLY Agree with it…having lines around your eyes, means that you’ve smiled and laughed a lot…

  42. Pennys- Thanks for dropping in. I guess I should think of it as laugh lines then. I do spend a lot of time laughing. Mostly at the comments I get here.Scrappy Rose- It sounds like your summer colors are the same as mine, but I love being out in the sun. I’m doomed to get skin cancer some day I fear.Jon Cox- Welcome to The Phil Factor and thanks for the compliment!Kylie- The sun is my friend. I love the sun, but unfortunately it’s like everything else in the world that feels good, it ends up being bad for you.

  43. I would say that story really had a wrinkle in it. 🙂

  44. Yes, it is true. Sometimes you just have to remember what it is you’re supposed to do with what.

  45. i totally thought of you tonight was i was walking the dog and the last mile was directly into the setting sun. i bet we match now.

  46. oh yeah, and phil? just one more thing. that guy i had dinner with last night (the one i had given up on)? he’s 33 and i noticed when he smiled that he had the laugh lines too. and you know what? they made him even cuter.

  47. lines…I love it when I look at a man and see a bit ov’ those lines…makes him look sexier…like…sexy with character…like…he knows something…got something to say…a man without lines would look like a boy….

  48. Haha. I’m sorry you had to go through this horrifying discovery. Of course at 42, my face is completely wrinkle free and I am yet to go through this ordeal. I can imagine how hard it was for you.

  49. This reminds me that I had a dream where I had the wrinkles of my grandmother. And though she was a beautiful 93 when she died, I’m not really ready for that kind of nonsense. Though the idea of paralyzing bacterium injected into my face is pretty much horrifying.

  50. Hi Phil,
    I thought this was going to be about A WRINKLE IN TIME. The film just came out. I heard disappointing which disappoints me since it was my favorite book as a child. You wrote this in 2006 so maybe it was about the book and not the film.
    Congratulations on your nomination for the funniest blog at the Bloggers Bash Awards. You deserve it, man. Off to share.

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