Adventures in badassery


My friend M is currently doing her version of the Ironman. She’s getting a beautiful half-sleeve tattoo from an amazing artist down in Portland. It’s a design that involves three to four different visits, so we’re taking turns keeping her company. Visit number one was a few weeks ago and was J’s turn. I was pleased to go along for visit number two, it’s been a while since we’ve had a good old-fashioned girl’s road trip. My primary function was going to be to entertain M for the hours she had to sit in the chair, so there was much joking that we shouldn’t talk on the drive down lest we used up all of our conversational topics, but naturally that didn’t happen…

The appointment was on a Saturday evening, so we planned to stay the night and then drive home in the morning. M had booked a room at the Kennedy School, which was the perfect low-key place to stay in Portland and I’d always wanted to stay there but had never had occasion. We got into town a few hours before her appointment, so we dropped our bags off at the room and rested for a little while. We were in the “Crooked Room” which featured the nursery rhyme about “the crooked man who ran a crooked mile, etc.) It was the perfect room for some Hipstamatic action:


The tattoo shop was in my old SE Portland neighborhood, so we headed over to grab some food and peruse a few stores. We picked up some fish-shaped sandwiches at No Fish Go Fish (who should really consider a Seattle location, just sayin’… ) Then it was time for the big dance. M was getting nervous because her last session hadn’t hurt nearly as much as expected and maybe this one was the one that was going to. The tattoo shop was amazingly rad:

There was interesting artwork and little collections of objects grouped together on the walls. There were even wood-burned designs on the side of the entry-way’s counter:

It was a very interesting, creative space. Clae, that tattoo artist was very different than I’d expected. He was very laid-back and calm (both excellent qualities in a tattoo artist) but M & J had described him as quiet and focused on the job at hand. Maybe it was the heady combo of M and I, but he was very chatty and playful. It was amazing to watch him work. I couldn’t draw/shade half as well on a flat piece of paper with a pencil, let alone with flowing ink on someone’s arm!

Here’s M pretending to be terrified, while we waited for Clae to get set-up:

Clae at work:

And contrary to her fears, this session hurt even less than the last, so M is either the world’s biggest bad-ass or Clae is just that talented. (Probably both.) Tattooing is an art-form I hadn’t given much thought about, so it was amazing to get to watch the process. I still don’t want one, but I was glad to be part of the journey for M.

Afterward, we grabbed some dinner nearby and then crashed back at the hotel. The next morning, I had to capture a few more shots of the Kennedy School, especially the empty hallway outside the movie theatre:

There was a mason jar in our room that we could have filled with beer for a reasonable fee, so we thought it would be nice to bring the boys back some McMenamins beer. Unfortunately, we didn’t count on the world’s slowest waitress helping us, so the jar ended up taking twenty minutes to get filled. (We dubbed it “the World’s Greatest Beer” and vowed that the boys would love and appreciate every sip.) It made this sign over the bar particularly appropriate:

Though both M & I have zero tolerance for idiots, somehow when we encounter them together it becomes hilarious more than infuriating. Had either of us been there with a husband, we’d probably be raving all the way to the car about throwing the mason jar across the bar, but instead we were laughing about the idiocy of the situation and calculating the cost of the beer based on our hourly rates. It’s sort of like two negatives making a positive (look at me, using a mathematical analogy. It must be the effects of sleeping in a former elementary school… ) And just like that, it was time to hit the road home to Seattle.


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