Flashback to the mid-80s, I think it was 1985 and I was a year or two shy of blowing out sixteen candles.
My parents and I traveled out to Cali to visit family the summer before I transitioned from a coed public school to an all girls Catholic high school. The typical teenager, I harassed my parents to let me spend time with my cousin Elizabeth rather than trek the Pacific Northwest in a Winnebago with them and my older cousins. So, while they hiked the Muir woods, marveled at the largest Redwood, watched buffalo and bison graze the fields of Yellowstone and visited the sheep ranch of a distant cousin (all of which sounds utterly irresistible and fascinating to me now, 34 years later) I lived a John Hughes dream of idle teenage life in the sleepy suburb of Castro Valley.
At the time Liz lived with her mom, half brother and sister, and stepfather. We spent most of the time with her brother Michael, a French teacher who lived nearby, his roommates, and Liz's friends Aimee, Matt, Kevin and Patrick. We had a wonderful week of summer fun and save a nickname, "Izzy Bee" (for the character of the same name from Days of Our Lives our summer obsession), I almost made it through unscathed.
That is until one afternoon when we decided that the whole lot of us would visit the local supermarket on a junk food run. In California the legal driving age is 15-1/2, so Liz and her friends already had their licenses, and one of the older boys had a motorcycle license too. I was used to riding as a passenger in a car but as a city girl, riding on a motorcycle was too rebellious not to miss and as it was a novelty, something new I found myself eagerly jumping on the back of Kevin's (or was it Patrick's?) motorcycle excited for the thrill ride.
We were in the freezer section when I sensed something was not quite right, instead of feeling cool and refreshed from the dry summer heat I found myself shivering and feeling faint. Liz noticed the burn (aka crop circle) first, red and grotesque about 2" in diameter on my right calf. The golden rule of motorcycle riding is to wear long pants to protect your legs--advice I neglected to heed before accepting the ride. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone really that I burned my leg, after all I'm a mere mortal with no master powers like X-Men villainess, Frenzy who can maintain and control fire while remaining immune to the flames.