Apparently, when you turn fifty something inexplicable happens to your brain. Decisions are made based on what would be fun, or what could transform a little life into something exciting. Looking down the tunnel towards old age, it gets necessary to move in a more forward thinking direction. What have I not done in my life that I really should do? Like, now. Do now. Take a plunge. Leap. Dance. Get a tattoo.
A tattoo? Yes. With Daughter. She asked me and in an instant I said ‘yes’. I didn’t even hesitate or flinch. I just jumped in. No debating, no weighing the options, just jumped. It’s only a little ink, right?
Let’s do it. She was so excited. I was too…until we walked into the tattoo studio for our consultation and then I realized it was actually happening. A permanent drawing on my body. Ready? Hmm….
Oh, sure there was a lot of checking with me to see if I was on board. Was I sure? Daughter and I looked over literally hundreds of designs. What size? Did we want colour? How about the image itself? There were many I nixed based on size. There were more she declined based on simplicity. I was going for simple. At my age, simple was imperative. A few weeks later and we had our first appointment.
We made our way down to the studio. A little red door on a downtown street. Colourful art and sketches cover the wall of an old walk-up; aged wooden floorboards creaked beneath our feet; plaster ceilings and vintage crown moldings. There was a park bench and an old tattoo chair adorning a tiny living room complete with sofa and coffee table. Directly across from the green micro-fibre sofa hung precariously from an old nail, a shrunken pirate head with ginger beard and eye patch. Perfect.
We sat down with the artist in that room to go over our ideas for our tattoos. She was a young woman, grey haired and sweet. I saw no visible tattoos, however, just peeking out from under the hiked-up sleeve of her sweater I could see a black swirl like the wispy end of a tail. Ah, there it is.
She asked questions. Allayed our fears. Calmed me down a bit. We went through our ideas and she took the time to get to know exactly what we had in mind.
We chose daisies and asked the artist to do a sketch and send it to us just so we could imagine what it would look like permanently inked on our skin.
The day of the appointment arrived and Daughter picked me up. She was so excited, how could I not be? She went first. Watching the tattoo artist was like watching somebody paint a picture while doing a bit of surgery at the same time. There’s the whir of the instrument, the chatter of voices and the wincing of Daughter’s face. She was so determined not to move, she made herself shake. I asked Daughter what it felt like and she said it was like somebody scratching at your skin. Nothing painful. Huh. That wincing face, though.
She was done in thirty minutes. A quick change up for the room to be disinfected and cleaned up and it was my turn. Ugh. My brain started going into overdrive. Was it too big, really? Maybe she can scale it down to one daisy…then mine would be different than Daughter’s and that would defeat the purpose. I was back in the room with the shrunken pirate head. I think I heard him sneer at me, “Oh, whaddya ascared of a little tattoo?! Pfft…sure if I had arms, I’d show ya all mine! Dey were good’uns, they were. All done by a sailor with a hook for a hand and a needle dipped in black ink. Hehehe…good ol’ days, dey were. A’course I may ‘ave been a wee bit over da limit wit da rum, if ya catch me drift….” ‘Oh, my Gawd will ya shut it, pirate! Can’t ya see I’m panicking here?!’ “Jasus, girl it’s only a bit o’ink. Nuttin’ to git yer panties in a knot o’er. An daisies at dat! Pffft…wuss. Well, if ye were on ma boat-“ ‘YOU DON’T HAVE A BODY LET ALONE A BOAT! TOO BAD YOU STILL HAVE A MOUTH! KEEP TALKIN’ CAPTAIN JACK AND I’LL PITCH YOU OUT INTO THE HARBOUR! ’ “Take it easy, Missy! Where’s me rum…” ‘ NOW, you’re talkin’…..’
She came out to get me and we were off.
She attached the design to my lower leg first to make sure the placement was accurate and straight. Then I hopped up on the table and she set to work. I was on my side, so I was able to have a lovely view of the harbour while she worked. I think she did that intentionally. Smart girl. Captain Jack was laughing it up out in the living room, I’m sure of it. I asked her intelligent questions like “Has anyone passed out from this before? Ever been accidently kicked or swatted while tattooing? What’s the biggest tattoo you’ve ever done and how long did it take you? Anybody ever vomit on your table?”
She answered my questions with a degree of concern making sure I wasn’t going to do any of those things to her. Nope. All good. Except for that annoying scratching. “That’s the tattoo.” Oh. Then I’m good.
It went well. The tattoos look great.
I wonder what my next adventure will be…hmmm.
As for Captain Jack, I don’t think we’ll be seeing each other any time soon, although I thought I could hear a verse of ‘Yo Ho Ho and A Bottle of Rum’ as we were walking out the door….