Monday, May 9, 2011

False Start on the Great Tattoo Adventure

Well, the great tattoo adventure didn’t go as planned. Tigger and Pooh have been visiting us for the last week, and the plan was for Pooh and I to go to the tattoo shop on Friday afternoon to get my long anticipated ink. I spent part of my lunch break playing around with MS Paint, tweaking the design and getting more and more psyched about the adventure. I’m not sure why I was getting so into this new thing. Maybe because it was an experience I had never had, and might never have again. Maybe because it was a way to rebel and do something absolutely foolish. Maybe because I’m trying to recapture some youth. At any rate, I was having fun, and as soon as I got done with a presentation to a bunch of supervisor trainees, I raced home and got ready.

The shop was right around the corner for my house, so getting there didn’t take long. When we walked in, the strong odor of cheap incense smacked us full in the face. I don’t mind incense; I medidated at the Tibetan Buddhist temple in Nashville and they used the stuff by the pound. But this was cheap, and my head soon developed a pretty nice headache. We looked around while waiting for the clerk to wait on us. The walls were wood panel, and decorated with random bits of cheap kitsch meant to convey a menacing tone. Ceremonial daggers, skulls, etc. Normally I like the goth stuff, especially in the fall and winter months. But this was haphazard and tacky. And dingy. When I'm thinking of having needles and my skin meet, the last thing I want to worry about is how dirty everything is! Strike two.

Strike three came when the artist came out to meet us. I showed him the design I had chosen months, perhaps even years, ago – a simple enso that I wanted shaded blue and looking like a watercolor painting. The guy apologized and said that he only did black tattoos – line art and lettering only. He hated to do color, he added, and recommended that I come back on Tuesday to meet the color artist. Pooh and I left, and I felt a little dejected. Putting things in a Buddhist context, I was clinging to the idea of getting a tattoo with Pooh, and when this plan went awry, suffering ensued.

So off we went to the other nearby shop I had scoped out online. Btw, for future reference, if you are ever checking tattoo places out, visit in person. Pictures never convey the whole vibe of a place, nor does a picture of a smiling dude holding a needle tell whether or not the guy knows what he’s doing.
Second place had a line and only one tattoo artist. He told us to call Saturday around 3 to see if he could squeeze us in. This wasn’t doable by our schedule, so off we went again.

So now I’m sitting here at work, without the tattoo I had told everyone I was getting. Not the end of the world, but disappointing nonetheless. One Ring suggested I call up a shop in downtown Nashville that is also an art gallery. The tattoos they have on display on their website are absolutely stunning. They don’t open until 1 though, so I’m going to have to wait to call and see if they have openings for this weekend. I imagine that they are in high demand, so I’m not getting my hopes up too much. I’m also still playing with the design, so it’s probably for the best that I didn’t get it done. If there’s one thing I don’t want, it’s regret for the next forty years of my life or an expensive laser removal treatment!

As I look back on this weekend, with the disappointment and irritation brought by derailing of my tattoo adventure, I realize just how far I need to go on this journey of controlling my ego and my desires as well as developing mindfulness. The fact that my mood went sour for the rest of the day, even though I recognized the reasons behind it (cravings, etc.), shows me that I’m not as far along as I want to be. Of course, even that statement shows that I have desires about my spiritual and psychological development, which brings even more suffering. Sheesh.
Oh, well. Life goes on. If there wasn’t progress to be made, and learning and growth to be done, I guess there wouldn’t be much in life that was exciting! I suppose that where I am, tattoo or no, is where I am, and what happens, happens, and it is what it is. Or something like that.

I’ll try to post more later, as developments occur.

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