I’m at one of those points in my life where it feels like every song lyric is aimed at me. The words twist and twirl themselves like smoke down my aural passages and flit around in my head. You know those times, don’t you? All those lyrics swirling about, arguing, sulking, pushing and pulling at all the other thoughts flapping around darkly in my head.
I decided I needed some white noise, to try and drown all that flitting about, out. So, last Thursday, having a beer with Nini, we made a plan to do something we’d been talking about for years… get our third tattoos.
And so it came to be that the lyrics in my head were joined by the buzzing of a tattoo needle. As they do on a Saturday afternoon in a winter sun-drenched Long Street in the city.
It’s a sound that becomes vaguely comforting, that buzzing tool of pain. The first prick of the needle, the intake of air as you feel the blood pumping into your head, and you remember how bloody sore it is, kind of blocks out the sound. In its place, an anxious desire to say “No, stop, I’ll just have that tiny leaf! Forget the tree. Leave the writing out!”
Instead I sucked on my cheek, turned my face to the bookshelf filled with art books and files of font. There are about a gazillion fonts you can choose from if you desire a textual tattoo. Who’d have thought? Certainly not me, having a needle push itself in and out of me, buzzing busily, making my nerves scream. Luckily the dude doing it had a firm grip on my arm. One doesn’t want to be moving ones’ arm mid-tattoo, does one?
It was distracting though. The pain. The noise. The process of ink sinking into skin.
Sixteen hours Forty five minutes later, my extreme bravery (humility gets left at the door of the tattoo parlour) was rewarded with a beautifully delicate tree. With leaves. And writing.
Stepping out into late afternoon Saturday Long Street, hipsters skateboarded down the street, with their skinny-jeaned little legs, their baby beards trying hard to blow in the wind, I felt a chill.
All those thoughts were out there, waiting patiently in that icy winter wind blowing those hipster skateboard dudes down the road. With my beautifully ink-stained arm wrapped most attractively in a white dressing with ink spots seeping through it, like small spots of (black) blood, they trailed after me.
The thoughts. Not the hipsters.