Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Blacklight Ink and Vague Conversations
"You said you didn't want to hear it."
"What? When did I ever say that?"
I still do not remember ever saying I do not want to hear what Melody was telling me. We both chalked it up to a garbled transmission courtesy of Skype and a horrible internet connection on my end. I hate this being the only way I can speak to my best friend. Especially if she is going to be left with the impression that I do not want to hear what she has to say. What is interesting about her slight accusation is there is the possibility I have, in fact, said the words "I do not want to hear it," but more than likely in passing or in joking. It is just the way people communicate--vague expressions and phrases that mean nothing to the person saying them, but could mean everything to the person hearing them.
While I try not to get caught in this kind of "conversation" (or "non-versation" as my favorite YouTube guy, Alex Day, calls them), I have learned to comprehend the person's intended message through their ramblings. I have a tendency to pick up on the small things people say quicker than others do.
I do not think this is a talent. I just think I listen too closely.
Conversations often are disconnected, lost and left unfinished because of the ways people have for escaping moments of vulnerability, to which deep conversations often lead. I forget sometimes that I have a best friend who does pay attention to the small things I say, which can lead to confusion when I have a tendency to leave a preposition or question hanging in the air, tauntingly over her. One would probably assume I have learned my lesson by now, but not even ten years can prepare me for curve-balls like, "You said you didn't want to hear it."
Melody and I talk about everything. She is the one person I know that will let me say everything until I get whatever burdens me out of my head. She understands that I need conversation. Real conversation. One of the topics we managed to cover the other night was the depressing state a couple of our friends have left us in as of late. It is as if they left their social skills at home and have spent too much time at college on themselves. They act selfishly and put us last. It is a sad place to be, but at least I have her with me.
One of the things that amuses me the most about our friends is the idea they have of the "college life" when they are far less experienced in most of those areas than even I am. I keep most adventures I go on to myself, because I am not the only one doing things, and I feel no need, unless there was a moving significance behind the time spent, to prove to others that I lead an exciting life. I do not like to brag and I try my best to stay humble, to a degree. It keeps me in my place and does not make me miss the moments when my friends truly need me or the moments I could be sharing with them. These days, it seems a couple of our friends are more concerned with how many pictures they can be tagged in on Facebook than how many moments actually become memories.
Last night was one of those nights just worth mentioning; the clichés were through the roof. It would have made for an interesting MTV movie, to say the least.
Around 2:00p.m. I was in the laundry room, studying the washer intently, hoping I did not dispense too much detergent into the machine, when I received a call from my friend, Crystal. She said she was getting a tattoo and she wanted me to be there. I assumed she meant a permanent tattoo. I am not sure how Crystal became acquainted with this guy, but he insisted in giving her a blacklight ink tattoo because he has a passion for tattoos and is fascinated with blacklight ink. She agreed and later explained the details of a blacklight ink tattoo to me.
I have gone with my father to quite a few tattoo parlors and considered a tattoo for myself, but I had never heard of a blacklight ink tattoo until she mentioned the one she wanted to get. "I don't really want to go alone to this guy's room, and I want a friend with me." It was all starting to become clear. I was unsure of what the procedure was for a tattoo that leaves a scar and only lasts for two years at the most. Quite honestly, it seemed like a waste of money, however, I was willing to go with her, because I did not want her to be alone either during a procedure that was going to take place within dorm walls.
The kid was dressed in a wife-beater and basketball shorts. His desktop computer was hooked to two large stereo-quality speakers and blasting any kind of rap one could imagine, from the over-played, chart-toppers, to the lesser known songs. "Do you like Daddy Yankee?" Crystal asked him.
"I'm not Puerto Rican! I'm Mexican!" and gestures to a Mexican flag draped over a corner of his desk. I giggled. I could not help it. It was a funny reaction to a seemingly innocent question.
Crystal's friend, James, had joined us. The asking price was 90-dollars, and James has handled business with the tattoo-artist-to-be in the past. James knew he could, as Crystal put it, "hustle him" for a lower price. And he was successful: Crystal only paid 20-dollars at the end of the night. The tattoos on both of James' wrists looked as though they would have only cost him about that much, even if it had been professional--they could have passed for a painful experience with Henna rather than permanent art. When James looked down at his wrists before we entered the hall, I suddenly cringed. Why was my friend willing to go through with this? Even if it is just blacklight ink, there are other more suitable places to get tattoos.
Crystal had a piece of a poem she really loves carved into her back with the tool. Until she mentioned it was supposed to last for two years, I had not expected the guy to use a real needle. I half-expected some cheap form of Henna or those entertaining glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos one purchases from a vending machine. And to add to even more humor (and possibly horror) while the speakers continued to blast explicit lyrics spat at a record speed, the large television in the corner of the room was on mute and the captions activated so whoever decided to watch the marathon of Cops currently airing, would not miss a thing. It was like a scene from a movie where the writers take every stereotype possible and throw it into one character.
After an hour of blood and scarring, the tattoo was complete. I decided then and there I would not get my tattoo done from him, and I would not get a tattoo that only lasted two years after going through all that pain for it. Definitely not worth it, but she is happy. I suppose that is all that matters.
I have more stories--stories I know I do not have enough energy to tell to everyone I know. But after one night doing virtually nothing, my aforementioned, unnamed friends will gab about the experience as if it was the most amazing time of their life. If I did tell my friends all the little adventures I have had this year, they would soon learn one trip to a bar does not make them party-animals. However, I know my stories are not what they want to hear. In fact, it is better to keep my adventures to myself and laugh about them when I am alone. I do not want them to feel inferior, nor do I want them to try and make me feel that way. It is easy to argue that true friends would not do that to one another, but I am trying to let them grow and be who they are now. They will figure out who they are; I know I still have growing to do. I told them I would stick by them and the great thing about it is, I only have to hear their more self-indulgent chatter the few times we come home on the same weekends. Any other time, they are far from me. Thank you, college.
at 8:07 PM