My old man waited until he was 55 to get a tattoo. It is of a green alien ripping out of his forearm. This is fitting because he believes we are all half-alien.
Before I left for my trip, I knew I would get a tattoo at the end. I thought I would like a sprocket on my calf. At some point, I decided that a link in the chain would better represent my philosophy and that I wanted it somewhere I could see it. Some days, I pretty much feel like a loser. I wanted a tattoo that would remind me that, at least once in my life, I set a big goal and accomplished it. That once I was fearless and fierce.
I was not sure how to find a good tattoo parlor in Budapest. I just happened across the Shanghai Tattoo Parlor on one of my walks looking for baths. No one speaks English in the Shanghai. I spoke loudly and clearly, but had no luck conveying what I want, so I faked a look at the sample book. Here’s the deal on picking a tattoo parlor: the tattoo artist is the hottest guy I have ever seen. The Shanghai is for me!
After swimming that afternoon, I return to the Shangai with a bit of chain I was able to get out of nearby bike shop. Gyori is surprised (pleasantly?) to see me so soon. I am eager and show him physically what I want with this bit of chain, just one link, not a chain around the wrist, like he suggests. We set an appointment with a bit of jangled pointing at the calendar. (As an aside, the chain bit was Shimano, while I bike Campy.)
When I return promptly and filled with anxiety on Thursday, a very tough beefy fellow is daubing the blood from his dinner-plate chest on which there is now a giant double-headed eagle. There is a dragon snaking down the length of his back. I feel apprehensive and a bit nauseous. A small bit of vellum holds the sketch of a chain link. This is gelled to my wrist to transfer the drawing. We move it a couple times. Gyori mixes the inks, poses for a picture, and the needle starts its work. Some teenage girls come in and I grimace in pain. This seems to impress them. The pain is not as bad as I thought it might be, though slowly builds as he works on the shading, but before I can faint or yell NEM!, I have a new tattoo.
Obviously, there’s no more swimming in Budapest for me, but I wonder if I’ll be able to get one more swim in Amsterdam? Using a bit of hand gesturing and sketching, I get the care instructions from Gyori: “No swimming for a week!” Standing there dry swimming across the parlor with a bloody wrist elicits wide-eyed wonder from the entire shop. I am nothing if not a wonderful hand gesturing communicator.The other night I was lying in bed whining to my boyfriend about my pathetic life in Boston. No job, no friends, no money. He lifted up my wrist and showed me my tattoo.
I am a bike genius!