Sunday afternoon in the Tattoo Parlor
I just finished getting a new tattoo done in the local tattoo parlor. The design has been bouncing around in my head for the last three years and finally made it onto paper last year when I was in Croatia. The drawing has since been floating around in my computer bag so I finally went ahead and got inked. The tattoo studio is tiny and disheveled, there is a makeshift bed at the back where the owner or his employees sleep during their long shifts. After the first few minutes under the needle I passed out. I came slowly awake looking into the concerned face of my girlfriend who was proffering water for my consumption.
I have had a tendency in recent years to pass out whenever I have to give blood, the first few times it was a shock to come round slouched in my chair in front of a bemused doctor. Since then I simply tell people that if they take blood out of my I am likely to loose consciousness. It is really not something that comes up regularly.
I had not expected the tattoo needle to have the same affect. I went outside and rested for ten minutes, drank water and then jumped back in the chair. I am pleased to say I remained conscious for the rest of the process. During my inking, the studio was visited by an array of young guys who came to see the foreigner getting tattooed. They practiced their one or two sentences of English and found much mirth in my terrible Chinese. After finishing the outline of the design the owner took a break from inking me and handed the gun to his young apprentice, then he preceded to have his friend take photos of the two of us together. I sat there half undressed with the tattoo gun on my arm holding my fingers up in a V, like an Asian tourist in front of a European monument, and smiled for the camera.