on tanning for a purpose

I had a tough realization this week.

Around this time a few years ago, I went to my neighborhood pool (as you do when you live in a neighborhood with a pool). Now, “Chaco tans” were becoming a weird fad about then, if my memory serves me correctly. Which it does because the fact I just stated is crucial to the story I’m about to tell. Anyway, a Chaco tan: a tan on one’s foot that comes with continued wearing of the shoe brand “Chaco.” This apparently is a signal of outdoorsy-ness, the true testament to one’s granola nature. Crunch, crunch. And it also apparently looks pretty cool. All striped and criss-crossy like it is. Now, this tan is supposed to come from the use of the Chaco for all intents and purposes of the Chaco. I went ahead and took the liberty of doing some research on the Chaco brand. Their slogan is “Fit For Adventure” and their mission statement is as follows.

“Chaco creates premium footwear and accessories for the outdoor-minded. We make simple, versatile products that provide superior comfort and durability. We believe life is enriched through outdoor adventure, travel and community.”

Very adventure-minded, wouldn’t you say? Here’s a screenshot of their lookbook to prove my point.chaco

Climbing things, beaches, rocks–all of things things involve some sort of adventure. Now, would you say it is very adventurous to sit by the pool in a lounge chair with nothing on but a bathing suit and Chacos, presumably for the purpose of achieving that all so coveted Chaco tan? This for sure spoils the point and the nature of the Chaco tan (pun definitely intended here, just to clear the air). Where’s your waterfall, your mountain, or even your trail? Nowhere to be seen, not even within a ten mile radius. This is the girl I saw at my neighborhood pool.

But like I said before, I had a terrible epiphany.

Over spring break, I went on a service trip in the Caribbean. Very warm, very ocean breezy. Here are some pictures.

On these types of trips, I like to bring my digital watch, if you didn’t get the picture (also, very intended). It’s waterproof, durable, and the perfect alarm clock. The alarm is a subtle “Get up, sweetheart,” as opposed to the “GET UP, YOU LAZY EXPLETIVE” of an actual alarm clock. It gets the job done and is quite polite about it.

While on the trip, the watch quite obviously did not leave my wrist. Thus, I developed a nice little watch tan, it being the beginning of March and my arms not having seen the light of day since the past September. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to wear watches. I have a couple of analogs that I like to rotate between. But, after this week in March, I found myself almost-subconsciously wearing a watch in order to maintain this humorous wrist tan I had developed.

My mind wandered this week to the girl with the Chacos. Am I the same as her, this symbol of fad-ism I have for so long resisted and regarded as too conventional and conformist? My mind cannot rest. If I keep wearing a watch, am I wearing it for its purpose of time-telling, or for a selfish purpose of conformity? Or caring too much? Or some other reason that doesn’t match with my persona?

Please, if you know somebody who is dealing with this, give him/her my information. No one goes through this alone alone, not on my watch.



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