Tattooed with a Nude

OnlyJudyCanJudgeMeSo I’m on the airplane yesterday, the last leg of one of the more irritating months of my flying career. This family’s in the last row, bottle-blonde mom, kid in a car seat, chunky, hunky husband in a t-shirt and shorts. He gets up out of his seat to get who-knows-what out of the overhead bin and I clock the naked-lady tattoo on his calf with an inward eye-roll. How classy, I groan, if only to myself. She must be very proud. What kind of woman, after all, runs around with the kind of jackass that parades around town with porn on his body? He was pretty cute, mind you, and they’d both been above-average friendly, but my knee-jerk impulse was not just to judge them, but harshly. They were airplane passengers, after all — they must have been doing something wrong.

I mean, it only took about five seconds — which can seem like a long time when you’re right in the middle of it — but the other shoe did eventually drop. My husband has a tattoo of a naked guy. A big one. Oh wait — have a tattoo of a naked guy. On my calf. And it drives me crazy when people react to it like it’s porn. “You have a penis on your leg!” No I don’t; it’s Michelangelo’s David, for Heaven’s sake. It’s not a penis, it’s Art! Heed the Bible verse referenced by another of my tattoos: Don’t judge me! (“Luke 6:37,” as my left ankle will tell you.) Oy, the irony…

Naturally, as someone who has one, I don’t really have a problem with naked tattoos. I was even moved to write Jared’s (color and shading to come) a little backstory. And because it’s in my favorite little 100-word format, I’m sharing it here. I’m sure this guy’s topless Waikiki wahine has her own story, too. I didn’t ask to hear it, but if its moral is “Give people a break,” she should consider her message received.

J's PHX Tat2Rising from the ashes is one thing, but exploding in flames hurt, dammit, and this had been a tough recovery.  His strength trickled back so slowly when he mourned a mortal lover, and he languished being earthbound.  His wings took forever to regenerate, and waiting, he was a prisoner of his muscle-heavy body, clumsier every day as gravity mocked his lavishly furled tail feathers.  Finally today, the anxious rustling of impatient wings had woken him.  He stayed for an extra minute to savor the lust for freedom — suddenly delicious, its quenching imminent — and then took to the sky.

 

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Writing Exercise/City Code Snapshot: SNA

greetings-from-orange-county-californiaHey gang!  So today we’re going to try something a little different, and use (slightly more than a thousand) words instead of a picture to offer a snapshot of the Orange County layover.  Partly, yes, because I neglected to take a picture while I was there yesterday, but also because I used my one Orange County Outing as a writing prompt, the results of which I am moved to foist upon an unsuspecting public share.

The sun-soaked oceanfront county of Orange is home to 3 million people.  It encompasses such scenic byways as Laguna Beach, San Juan Capistrano, and Tomorrowland, and boasts a glamorous mall and a very manageable airport named after the man who shot Liberty Valance.  It is, in other words, as depicted on this-here postcard, probably delightful as a vacation hot spot; at the very least, judging by all of the dernier-cri sportsters zooming along the 12-lane surface streets, it is a great place to get rich selling really expensive cars.  And, as is often the case in this post-fun day and age of flying, we see none of that.  No Laguna art galleries or Capistrano swallows for these crews; rather, we lay over in an airport-adjacent business park close to a fountain, a few drastically trimmed shrubs, and bugger all else.  If you are firm in your resolve to get coffee, however — and you know how in this arena my resolve does not waver — you can walk 3/4 of a mile, take your life in your hands crossing the hugest intersection in Southern California, and get you a Starbucks.

Which is of course what I did yesterday.  Having collapsed onto my bed at something of an early hour the night before, I was up and at them, and rolled up at the Starbucks at like a quarter to nine.  A stone’s throw from the Southern California headquarters of every company in America that has a Southern California headquarters, this particular Starbucks was jammed.  Men in suits, women in heels, everyone on their way to work or getting a jump on the first meeting of the day, everyone talking, either into their phones or at each other.  The baristas were rushed off their feet, friendly and loud.  And over here along the wall, as is apparently required by some bylaw in company policy at every Starbucks location, sat the Guy Working on His Laptop.  I was like, Really?  This is where you’re going to come to try and get some work done?  I myself have a crippling fear of being perceived as a posturing Look At Me! douche anytime I so much as refer to my laptop in public, and so naturally I judge others harshly against this standard that I hate having applied to my own self, you know how we do.  But then I caught myself doing it — which is much less rewarding than just blithely judging people and getting on with your day, as you know — and reminded myself, You don’t know this dude’s story at all.  And, because I prefer to think of myself as someone who Knows It All, I remedied that by sitting — on a lovely patio chaise, but still — at the very same Starbucks amidst the very same distracting crowd, and writing (it hurts from the irony, I know), and deciding that his story is this: Continue reading