Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Make A Memory
At 18, I got a tattoo. After picking the design and location of my choice, I got on to the chair. My friends waited on the other side of the curtain and the whirring of the needle began. I knew that everyone would ask me if it hurt, so as he applied the ink, I created a mental image in my head. One that I would remember forever. One of a sewing machine, with my hand going back and forth underneath its needle.
(Yes, that is what it feels like.)
A few months ago, my big toenail fell off. Well, it didn't really fall off, so much as it peeled away from it's lower layer revealing pink skin beneath. According to the Internet, this sort of thing happens when there is an infection. I thought back and realized that I had recently gotten a pedicure with a friend. The place had always given me pause. They re-use their gloves, there is no sterlizing machine within sight--all bad signs--but my friend had been going there for years without incident, and I, not having seen her in a long time, wanted so badly just to be with her, that I went along. So now, as I watch my toenail slowly grow back in, I imprint this lesson in my mind.
I recently spent some time with my 14 year old niece and told her both stories. The tattoo story didn't faze her (her mom has many of them) but the toenail story had her asking all sorts of questions on how to find a good, clean salon.
But the best part of all, was when I told her the second part of the tattoo story. How after getting the tattoo, I hid it from my parents for years, hiding it under clothing, and constantly having dreams that I had been exposed. When I finally got up the courage and told my Mom, my anti-tattoo, Mom, she had said:
"Oh, that's pretty. I've been thinking it would be nice to get one on my ankle."
So now, I have a new memory. A memory of walking around Capital Lake in Olympia, WA with my 14 year old niece laughing our asses off at the silliness of assuming you know everything about a person.