I was topless and barefoot today in Chicago.
The last time I found myself topless and barefoot I was caught — by a troop of Boy Scouts.
It was summertime.
It was hot.
My teenage friends and I hiked down into the canyon of our Idaho hometown to Dierkes Lake.
It was THE place to go in the summer to cool off, get a tan, jump of tall, rocky cliffs into the water below and, of course, being fourteen-year old girls — meet cute boys.
We hiked back behind a cliff of rocks and laid out our towels, prepared our magazines to read and sprayed down our bodies — not with sunscreen – but, with a coconut glaze of dark sunTAN lotion.
We proceeded to take off our bikini tops.
Our rationale: who wants to show up to junior high with those nasty white tan lines all over your shoulders and back?
Just as we entered a sunny, coconut coma we heard a rustle in the sagebrush behind us.
Now, in the desert a rustle like this can mean a few things, including grasshoppers (best-case scenario) all the way up to rattlesnakes (not the best-case scenario).
We jolted straight up, prepared to run from a surprise insect attack. We were not prepared to deal with the troop of prepubescent Boy Scouts on a hike to find frogs and snakes and, well, something they didn’t bargain for … three half-naked teenage girls.
We were caught topless and barefoot.
With nothing left to do except turn over and stifle our giggles as we hid our bare chests into the beach blankets below.
I thought of this moment today during my manicure in Chicago.
I always pick a light, pretty pink for my fingers. I’ve tried red, I’ve played around with other more daring colors too. But, I always come back to my favorite light pink called “Get Me To The Taj On Time’ — except, today, the spa didn’t have my color.
So, I grabbed another light pink off the shelf in a fearless attempt to change it up.
As I watched the little paintbrush line my fingertips with pretty, pretty pink, the nail technician said, “this is one of my favorite colors!”
“Oh, really,” I asked. “What is the name of it?”
Just those words — topless and barefoot — took me right back to being a teenager caught with her top down at Dierkes Lake.
It was mortifying.
And, there must be some Boy Scout somewhere who still remembers the pretty, pretty pink color of that topless and barefoot day.
To you I say — Always. Be. Prepared.