Pages of Euphoria
Thursday, November 20, 2008
  Show Your Tatts

There's hardly a moment alone without one. At least in Pacific Beach. Where ever you go, whatever you do, they will be right there waiting for you, just like Richard Marx sang. I'm sorry to quote that endlessly 80's song, I've had too many good karaoke memories with it. Tattoos are what I am talking about though, and they permeate this tiny beach community right along with the surfboards, Mexican food, and torrential "brahs" that echo off of walls, pavement and my eardrums.

Just check out the map of Garnett street I posted above. All of those little red indicators lettered A-G are tattoo parlors. There's like 8 of them in a 5 block stretch. Seems like a bit much right? The basic rules of supply and demand seem violated here. Nearly a dozen businesses, that close together, selling the same service would not all be able to turn profits. But they do. As Pacific Beach does not lie in the norm, and residents here possess an unquenchable thirst for ink that flows from the mechanized needles of tattoo artists.

Everybody is inked up; marked up like a Harlem subway. I finally felt compelled to write about it after about the fourth week of working out in the local 24 hour fitness, the McDonalds of fitness clubs. Workout after workout I spend breaking down muscle fibers, sharing gym space with absolutely jacked individuals that brandish tattoos on their skin as if they were membership requisites. Tattoos are so prevalent down here it almost makes them undesirable, as it would just be like becoming one of the many. Yet at the same time, the constant bombardment of the art form works on my mind.

I am still deeply fascinated with the art of tattooing. I respect the permanence of them. Making a decision that you are basically forever bound to is impressive and awe inspiring. I think a part of the process also gains notoriety through it's "badboy" connotation, as it's not the Screeches or Erkels of the world known for their body art, but folks like the Hell's Angles. Folks also known for heinous crimes, and poor skills in civility. Living in my current tattoo metropolis definitely causes me to think about them a lot. However at the moment I know getting one here would feel wrong because I would be getting it as a trophy, something to show off. I don't want to be that guy. I already am that guy who grunts while doing front shoulder raises with 30lbs in each hand. If that spell binding
image or dizzying string of words comes along, and their meaning is that profound and undeniable, then I shall fall slave to the needle. Until then my skin remains marked only by leopard like legions of freckles.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
  Paper Trails
If you are like me, you pay attention to your cash flow. At least during those fiscally challenging times in between paychecks. How much you withdraw, how much you spend, when you spend it, and what you spend it on. I like coupons (hopefully pronounced Q-pons, and not coo-pons), I like grocery store membership cards, I like things that are free, I like hunting for the bargain. There is something so delightfully good about finding a bargain is there not? And I do mean the true bargain, not finding something that cost less because it is clearly a piece of shit built to last 5 minutes. Knowing that you saved x-amount of cash on an item over some schmuck who just didn't care to look a bit deeper is a joy that I relish. Especially when that x-amount of cash decides to be there waiting in your wallet, precisely at the time, and in the exact amount it is needed for something else. What follows is an account of a curious amount of money finding its way into my possession in a most unconventional fashion. As that last sentence can be interpreted in many different ways, I will add that nothing unlawful or uncivil transpired.

It costs three dollars to wash and dry one load of clothing. I reached into my back pocket and pulled out my wallet to see how much cash I had. Two crisp $20s; Andrew Jackson's stare back caused both a comfort and an annoyance. Nice to have some cash in the leather bound collection of my immediate life. It was just that the damn change machine would not break bills larger than a $10. As I eased the $20s back into my wallet I noticed a mass of something green in a separate lining, clearly shoved in in a hurry. A closer look reveals that they are $1 bills...exactly three of them. Must be my lucky day, as now I have clothes with that just out of the dryer scent which is priceless. This wonderful scent is important for a real, hairy chested man such as myself, as real men can smell really fiercely after a good 24 hour day of manliness. Fresh scents aside, I found it amusing to ponder the luck or fate if you will, of how those measly three bucks found their way into my wallet.

There I was, wrecking the wholesomeness of a Sunday evening, dancing interpretively at a club named Bar West in Pacific Beach. This trip constituted my second time to the place, and their D.J.s play bangers. Really good rap tunes for white kids like me to wild out to. Apparently, there are a few San Diego Charger football players who agree with me, as they came, and saw, and conquered the VIP section (just a roped off portion of the dance floor). They lived it up with demonstrations of wealth in a couple of ways: every 30 minutes or so, there would be a line of waitresses brandishing lit sparklers and bottles of top shelf alcohol, making their way out to the professional athletes and their cohorts. And secondly, at a feverish point of intensity at the club, one of the young men decided to throw a generous amount of $1 bills into the crowd, turning the dance floor into a globe of green snow. Dollar bills came raining out of the sky turning the club patrons back into children on their first Easter egg hunts. I managed to pluck $3 dollars out of the air, and it was those $3 dollars that I found stuffed in my wallet today when it came time for quarters at the laundromat. Money, or paper, and its course of changing hands, or trail, is an interesting thing to think about. Thanks to #94 for your display of decadence, it turned out to be fateful in a color safe and mountain breeze fresh kind of way.
Read up on the portion of this life which I have chosen to make accessible to you. Or if it is simpler, just give me a jingle and we can shoot the breeze. Either way, forget about the time, what productivity means or anything that might be pressing and get lost in some thought and imagination.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I come from a small town north of Seattle, WA, where I learned that rain is a magical thing because it turns things green. I have had the chance to go a few places and see a few things of which all I have are pictures, memories and stories. I am currently living and learning about Los Angeles, California, and what it means to be an Angelino.

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