Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nurse the Hate: The Bird Tattoo

The woman behind the sandwich counter was young, probably early 20s.  She was wearing the knit cap of Hipster Nation over her short cropped masculine hair style.  She had modified her work uniform to push back the starched white sleeves to show the various tattoos placed almost randomly on her petite arms.  The dichotomy of the small pale arms with the old Sailor Jerry styled imagery caught my eye.  There were lots of crude skulls, birds, and nautical themes like she had been in the Navy in 1943.  I wondered if she had tangled with The Japs in Guadalcanal?  On her right bicep was a colorful eye with a long lash that looked almost like plumage.  I recognized the image but couldn’t figure it out.  An old San Francisco hippie show poster from Moby Grape?  Maybe a Robyn Hitchcock album?  Hey, what’s with the eye tattoo?  Where’s that from?  “Oh, it’s from a tattoo shop in San Diego.  I just walked in and said I wanted a tattoo of an eye and they drew that up.”

I was fairly certain she had permanently placed either a hippie band or eccentric English songwriter branding image on her.  It was probably better that she didn’t know.  “You want mustard?”.  I said yes because I did.  She carefully sliced the bread and wrapped the sandwich in deli paper.  On her left arm I saw an old style bluebird flying with a banner etched with a name.  What’s that one?  She held her arm out to display the stereotypical bird with the name “Mel” on the banner.  It was a surprising name to see on a 1943 Navy Man in the guise of a 23-year-old girl.  Who’s Mel?  “Someone I know…”  She frowned.  I had overstepped my bounds by asking. 

Personally I feel like if that much effort was made to display a series of tattoos I should be allowed to ask about them.  If you are going to richly cultivate a WW2 sailor’s vibe on your arms, go to the effort of making sure to display them, I feel like I can inquire.  I am a curious guy.  I want to know dammit.  If I was wearing a necklace with a shrunken head on it, I think I would have to assume people would ask about it.  I mean, I didn’t call her on the fact that the bird sort of looked like a swallow which could only be worn by sailors that had sailed at least 10,000 miles.  If it was a bluebird, that is a nautical symbol of good luck.  She might have lived on Ocean Beach CA for a spell, but I don’t think she spent time on a galley.  You sir are no sailor!  That’s just my guess anyway.  Then again, she had a Robyn Hitchcock LP design on her that she thought was an original piece of art, so why get involved at all?  The kid didn't do her homework.  I walked away without saying anything further.  It was for the best of all parties.  

I sat down in the small dining area.  I looked at the New York Times.  The news was filled with more ominous updates.  Executive orders to re-open “black sites” used for “enhanced interrogations”.  Ban on Muslim immigration begins.  An estimated $14 billion dollar wall to be built along the Mexican border.  Senior officials intone “ultimately Mexico will pay for the wall”.  Hmmm...  Having been to Mexico, I can assure you they don’t have an extra $14 billion inside the couch cushions.  You know who is paying for that wall?  You are, that’s who.  Meanwhile a smokescreen about “voter fraud” in the election meant to turn attention away from everything else in this new Legion of Doom.  The dictator playbook of "multiple outrages so confused citizens can’t mobilize against any particular one".  Welcome to the New Haiti.

I ate my sandwich and thought about The Sailor.   


At February 3, 2017 at 11:11:00 AM EST , Blogger AZ said...

I loved seeing a girl who had the state of Ohio a a Pepperoni Pizza . . . also at sandwich shop for some reason.

My whole thing about if I would ever get a, or any, tattoos is what would I get that I strongly like and and believe lets everyone know not only why I got it, but what it means about me. I guess not knowing that the belief I have has nothing to do with it is why I have never done it.

I mean, after all there is only one Leo P. Love that can get away with it and make it work, but there is only 1 in 7 billion.


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