When my dad decides to buy something, he walks into a store and looks. For a very long time. He walks out without buying. He goes back later - maybe the same store, maybe a different one. He looks some more. He does this until he's satisfied, before he finally buys something. For some reason I always found that annoying (tch tch). So, it is rather amusing that I've been to the tattoo parlour thrice in the last week and half - actually, two of them - and met different guys each time, stared at each one of their drawings on the walls every time.
The first time I walked in, I was clueless and obviously lost. I flipped through their books and picked a couple of tattoos, which Ivan said would cost me $200 at a minimum. I was convinced that he was ripping me off. My budget was about 50 - 80 bucks. I left saying I would do some research and come back with my own drawing. I went to the other place on Elizabeth Street, where a group of burly guys in black, tattooed all over their body, worked. The place had no name, just ads indicating tattoos and body piercing. I looked at some more drawings and spoke with a Rob (I think) who was ready to give me one for $160. I did not need to book in and I could do it that weekend. He definitely seemed less like he was trying to cheat me.
I went into City Body Art the second time and met Ivan again, to show him my drawings. He took me to an artist who said that two of my drawings would cost me $300 and one of them was $400. I was flabbergasted! There was no way I could buy that. And here was I, thinking I was going to get all 3 tattoos. After haggling for a bit (not sure if that was the Indian in me or the girl in me), he agreed to do 2 of them for 400 bucks if I did them in one sitting or $250 each. The 3rd one, he insisted, was no less than $400. With a sigh, I booked in for the 2 in one sitting deal.
I spent the weekend, mentally preparing myself for the pain. I visualized them poking needles into me and then me walking out with gauze bandages, looking like I had just been out of a car wreck. I imagined the pain I had to go through, in the first few days while it healed, and winced. I could almost feel the pain, even though I was not sure where. By the morning of the D-day, I began to question why I wanted a tattoo. Was it worth spending $400 to get myself pricked? Could I not spend it in a better way? Maybe I could do the more expensive one of The Bridge Climbs in Sydney. Maybe I should stick with streaking my hair.
I did not run to work, took the train instead and tried to keep myself occupied with Shane Schofield, my new best friend from Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow series. By the time I reached office that morning, I had freaked myself out completely. I stood in the elevator, fidgeting and waiting to run out when it opened. Incidentally, I did not have to swipe myself in, for somebody else was heading to the same office. So, when I got out on my floor, a colleague I did not know stopped me and insisted on checking my id. Even after she stared at it for 2 full minutes, she did not seem overly convinced that I was not a thief or terrorist. I ignored her and went in anyway. Only much later, when I was at the desk of a fellow-colleague discussing work, did I realize what a nutter she was. She seemed to have convinced herself that I was plotting to steal secrets from her office and got herself all worked up. Anyway, I digress...
So, I spent the morning like a bomb on timer, ticking down to 12 'o' clock, when the action would begin.
As I sat at the parlour, waiting for my tattoo artist to show up, I began to feel dizzy. I tried to look at the art on the walls but my eyes were hazy. I could still turn and go back. I did not have to do this. I have not paid for it. I do not really need a tattoo. I do not have the dough to pay for this. Suddenly, there were two of me... one refusing to chicken out but quivering in the seat, the other who could not believe I intended to go through with this! What the fuck was I thinking? I stood up. Guess which one of me won the argument that day!