It was 1992. There was a boy. And a breakup. And a college classmate from Hood River whose name I cannot remember, who lived in a rented room on Clinton Street. We decided to get tattoos together (she had a car, I didn’t) so we took off after Spanish class one day and did it. We ended up at some place in Portland with a nondescript name like Deluxe Tattoo. We both got the popular (still popular) shoulder-blade tatt – her, a sunshine; me, a Chinese symbol for long life and happiness.
I had gone to the library to look up symbols that were Meaningful and Artful, and threw myself into the task in the way only an angsty and heartbroken teenager can do. It was probably the only time in my brief tenure at PSU that I actually entered the library and it was for tattoo research. That pretty much sums me up at 19.
Due to the fact that my lily-white skin rarely sees the light of day, the tattoo has remained in pretty good shape, although I look at people with younger ink and am exceedingly jealous of the brighter colors and crisper lines. I’d like to get another one, but due to my low pain tolerance and my husband’s preference for skin over ink, I never have.
It’s become a tradition for me to half-heartedly request a detour to the tattoo parlor on the way home from every anniversary dinner for the last five years or so. Ironically, we ended up at Tattoo Asylum last year, but it was my husband who was under the, um, needle – not me. (He has a wedding band tattooed on his ring finger and was getting it spruced up.)
I love words so much that I’m pretty sure if I ever do get another tattoo it will be a phrase of some sort. I am often reading something and find a string of words or a turn of phrase and think, “Yes. THIS I need to have tattooed on myself so I can read it every day.” I really do. I’m reading Oscar Wilde right now and it has come up a lot.
- Dream. Believe. Dare. Do. (Walt Disney)
- I hope the leaving is joyful, and I hope never to return. (Frida Kahlo)
- The attention just encourages her. (The Dresden Dolls)
- Loving you is cherry pie. (Lady Gaga)
As you can see, there is no rhyme or reason.