Canada Day and a Spontaneous Tattoo


Chinatown and Showdown Tattoos — where the spontaneous tattoo took place.


Meandering through Chinatown.

Since I wrote a Canada Day piece last year I figured that I should do a little write up this year (this one is less formal, of course).

It being my day off I ventured out into the warmth. On my walk to Churchill Square I noticed that the people weren’t as rowdy and there weren’t as many flags.

A homeless man told me that I was beautiful. Normally I would have pursed my lips and quickened my pace, but this time I smiled and said, thank you. Ok, I still quickened my pace. A man also pulled over and asked where City Hall was and if I wanted a ride. He didn’t seem to understand why I wanted to walk – In – The -Sunshine.

I kept walking. I walked by Showdown Tattoos, and decided to get a tattoo. Simple as that. I walked in and a man with kind eyes told me to come back at around three.

On I walked to Churchill and The Works. For about five minutes I was pretty sure that someone was following me. He was close enough that I could hear his whispering. I’m not sure whether I couldn’t make them out or if they have just now slipped my mind.

I escaped into the large crowd that made up the Square. I even turned back only to make awkward eye contact with a woman in a polka doted moo moo. The whispering gentleman probably wasn’t a gentleman, but he probably wasn’t following me either.

I sat on the cascading steps to watch the people and listen to the rambling blues. In a second a man in a yellow shirt sat next to me and said, “and you thought you could get away from me.” It was the man that had offered me a ride.

He made multiple attempts at starting up a conversation. His cousin sat by, awkwardly. The cousin seemed to understand the inappropriateness of the situation. The man, let’s call him Joe, was old enough to be my father.

When a jumpier, more toe tapping number escaped from the musician’s instruments, Joe asked me to dance. I told him no, and he said I was afraid. I wasn’t afraid. Like Joe’s cousin, I knew just how inappropriate that would have looked.

People in the beer garden:

“Oh look, there’s a father and daughter dancing. That’s nice.”

“Ok, but why is he gyrating his hips at her?”

Voice of reason:

“Well guys, Joe wants to sleep with his daughter.”

After I said no, Joe’s cousin seemed to get the hint. He urged Joe to follow him out of the Square to enjoy other festivities. Before they left, Joe had to ask me if he could take me out. I said, “No, I have a boyfriend.” Joe: “But we could just get a drink or something.”

“Or something” is pretty funny. When I say it I usually mean that I expect more. I expect the other person to take the reins. “Or something” means: oh, who knows where this might lead. “Popcorn or something” : popcorn and maybe a chocolate treat?

Again, I said, no. They walked away.

Left in peace, I watched the people walk by. There were many couples. There was an older couple dancing to the Elvis inspired music. There were couples with one, two, three kids. And I was alone. I usually don’t mind going to Churchill alone, but because of the holiday and The Works  everyone seemed unusually happy. Even the couples that looked like they should be fighting, held each other’s hand instead.

I walked back to Chinatown for my appointment. Zack, the man with the kind eyes, was going to do my tattoo. I was worried that the appointment would be reminiscent of getting my hair done. You see, I hate small talk.

“Have you seen any movies lately?”

“Not really, you?”

“Oh, I saw the most recent Wes Anderson flick.”

“I heard that was terrible.”

The thing is, I don’t normally care about a stranger’s opinion. I don’t care if their daughter went on a vacation or if they’re allergic to crab.

The appointment started out like this. He assumed, as I am sure most would, that because I was getting a trumpet I could play. I can’t, so I brought up Beirut. That led us to music. The conversation rattled on with the sound of the tattoo gun. There were comfortable stops and starts.

Because of the way my arm was lying, the tips of my fingers brushed against his chest. Ok, I know what you’re thinking: oh sexy time at the tattoo parlour. Not so. What I am getting at is that the warmth of his skin radiating through his shirt onto my fingers was comforting. As my arm became more and more numb I wanted to flex my fingers (I also had to pee). But I didn’t want him to think that I was doing the old grabaroo (of his chest? I don’t know).

I guess my overriding point is that after being alone in Churchill, I just wanted to feel someone’s warmth. I don’t think I wanted it to be sexual either, because I definitely could have gotten that with Joe.

After reading this post over I’ve realized that we’re all looking for some warmth. Joe was looking for it (yes, even dirty Joe), I was looking for it, and hey, maybe the man with the kind eyes enjoyed the warmth from my fingertips.


This entry was published on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm. It’s filed under Short Non-Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Canada Day and a Spontaneous Tattoo

  1. I’m sorry you were pestered like that. What a waste of an otherwise nice walk eh

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