Hello blog friends! Today we have a special guest joining us. Please welcome Nessa, a friend and fellow writer, who will be talking today about a recent adventure that she had…
There are certain decisions that require a clear head to make. You can get away with ordering your morning coffee when you’re sleep deprived, and it’s likely one of the better decisions you’ll make all day. Major decisions, like body modification, you should probably sleep on.
Which was my mistake.
Let me set this up for you: I work as support staff for a small municipal police force. One of my many duties is to search and supervise female prisoners, so it’s not uncommon to get a phone call in the wee hours of the morning to the tune of “We have a charming lady here, and we’d love for you to meet her!”
On the morning in question, this call came at ten to one in the morning, and I’d been asleep for three hours, give or take a little bit. So fifteen minutes later I’m walking in to work and we have a banshee in the cells: We had a screamer. And it was a cycle: ten minutes of silence followed by five minutes of screaming. For six hours. The noise drives most people crazy, but I really don’t mind it; it gets pretty entertaining when we’re holding someone who’s intoxicated until they sober up. This was one such occasion, and I had a great time making Silence of the Lambs references with the on-duty dispatcher (“It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again!”).
By 8:00 AM, I’m hitting my stride! I have officers telling me that I can go home and get some sleep, but I thought, “Why would I go home? I could have six hours of over time today, and there’s not a lot going on!” Over time and a slack day at the office? What wasn’t to love? So I stayed at work, determined to last the eight-hour shift I was scheduled to work.
This will henceforth be referred to as Mistake Number One.
Mistake Number Two was when I started flipping through page after page of literary tattoos. At first, I was just curious if I would know any of the quotations that people were having permanently placed on their bodies, and I wasn’t terribly surprised when I didn’t know any of the books. It was alright, though. I’m a book nerd. I know what it’s like to have a novel affect me so profoundly that it makes sense to wear part of it every day from here until eternity.
Then I started to recognize quotes.
And then I started to wonder what I would ever get for a quote tattoo.
And then I saw it: Tolkien’s Elvish on someone’s foot.
It was translated below the picture to reveal one of my favorite quotes from the trilogy: “Not all those who wander are lost.” I was nearing the end of Basic Training, and I was seeing Mac in a month; this quote hit home with new force after all of the trials that I had faced and it seemed perfect to have the quote on a foot. I mean, feet allow us to wander, right?
So I took my feet and went wandering to check the mail for the office. It was a short walk, on a cloudy morning, and my brain was buzzing since a coworker had bought me a tea. I don’t normally drink a lot of tea, and usually it’s herbal blends that have no caffeine in them. This was a large tea, and it had lots. I was now at the special stage of sleep deprivation where my mental process ran like “Bingo-bingo-bingo-SQUIRREL! OH MY GOD THAT MAN IS WALKING A CAT!”
It was actually a Chihuahua, so I’m sure there are people who would argue that it counts as a cat. But now you know where my mind was when I decided it was a brilliant idea to have “Not all those who wander are lost” tattooed on my foot. In elvish.
And it was brilliant! I would give my foot written instruction on what to do should I ever go through a period so stressful that it was akin to walking through Hell in bare feet. I could just autopilot. And then I thought, “Walking… Bilbo’s walking song!” Now, that was far too long to have tattooed on a foot; I have itty-bitty feet, so I’d have to use the abridged version. So I was faced with the decision: Which one did I want to get?
Secret Option C: Both.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was Mistake Number Three.
Now, if I had been smart, I would have recognized that I was feeling “special” at the time. The Chihuahua incident was proof positive of it. I should have said “I’m going to go home and sleep on this decision before I commit myself to it.” Did I?
Of course not! What story worth telling ever included the phrase “And so I slept on it”?
I contacted a tattoo artist and set up an appointment. Then I contacted the very good friend who had been a part of previous bad decisions, like “Bring me more Sambuca!” and “I could totally write a thesis on Harry Potter.”
The conversation went like this:
“Ben,” I said. “I’m getting new tattoos! You should come with me!”
“I though you were off tattoos?” he says. “You said the last one was really rough. Where are you getting this one?”
“Two! On my feet!”
“Isn’t that going to hurt?”
“This is probably a very bad idea. Why am I coming?”
“Because I need someone to drive when it’s over. I don’t know how well I’ll be able to walk, let alone drive.”
“Nessa, if you end up on your hands and knees in the middle of the road again, I’m going to be very unhappy.” (This was the culmination of Bad Decision “Bring Me More Sambuca!”)
“It was a parking lot, Ben!”
“No, it was the road! There was on coming traffic!”
“Well. I’ll be damned. So are you coming or not?”
He sighed. “What time are you picking me up?”
By the time I went home that evening, the decision was so firmly entrenched in my mind that there was no going back. I started to count down the days.
This wasn’t my first tattoo, so I knew what I was going to be facing. Or, I thought I knew. When the needle first hit my skin, I realized just how poor a decision I had made, but it was too late now! And my very good friend Ben, who had stood beside me through thick and thin, sat beside me reading a book and shaking as he tried not to laugh.
It took a little over an hour to do both feet. There was another girl there the whole time having a section of a full back piece done. I’m pretty sure she found religion while she was sitting there, because she kept calling out for Jesus and moaning. I prided myself on giving only the occasional explosive “Ho!” or “Argh!” Ben continued to shake. But I made it! My feet were wrapped; I paid the man, and walked out of the shop under my own steam without limping (which by this point I figured was a major accomplishment). We weren’t three feet outside of the door before Ben burst out laughing and declared, “Between you, that other girl and the buzzing tattoo guns it sounded like a lesbian orgy in there! You should make decisions like this more often!”
I could have slapped him.
The tattoos have healed now, and they’re beautiful. For bad decisions, they’re actually pretty awesome, and Mac seemed to like them when he saw them. He just smiled, heard my story, and shook his head. “Only you,” he said, “would think to give your feet written instructions.”
“I’m pretty sure it may have been genius,” I told him. “You’ll see; just sleep on it.”
Bio: When not making crazy decisions, Nessa reads, writes, and actively campaigns to have her official work title changed to “Fount of All Knowledge.” She is marrying Mac as soon as the Air Force lets him sit still long enough.
Check out more of Nessa’s stories at http://airforcewifemisadventures.wordpress.com/