unforeseen quarantine

unforeseen quarantine

So, my amigo, how did you spend your days during the first round of quarantine in 2020?

Mine started out with an epic adventure that spanned over 4500 kilometres and a grueling 2 and a half days. Call it “cutting it close”, but I managed to squeak out of Canada with less than an hour before the USA/CAN border closed, and proceeded to drive south to Nogales, AZ, and then on to Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. For a much more colorful play by play account of that adventure, check out my soon to be published short story “Exodus”.

After 2.5 days of almost no sleep and stress-sweat fueled driving through the USA and Mexico, upon arrival I proceeded to stay up all night getting smashed on tequila with some good friends that I had met here.

So, that was the start.

After that what ensued was a little bit of panic buying, including stocking up on lots of non-perishable foods such as rice, beans, chickpeas and pasta… and beers; lots of beers.

Although the rest of the world was cowering into their dark bedrooms, pulling the blinds shut to block out the 5G waves of fear that had everyone scouring the shopping aisles for toilet paper and ammunition… my family and I were taking long walks on the beach down to La Lanche, and enjoying the blistering sun and waves. Yes, I burned like a lobster and peeled like an onion. I will probably end up paying for those and many other terrible life choices later on, but little did I know what I really had in store for my skin over this quarantine.

I met some amazing people around this time, and it really is such a synergistic thing when great personalities meet on the beach. A couple of guests renting a room in my parent’s apartment building turned out to be a sweet ass pair of dope surfing artists, and among their specialties – tattooing. It was not long before I was explaining in detail the idea of a huge back piece that I had been dreaming of for the past 10 or more years, and it was not much longer after that it was suggested we just do it.

Right around the corner of the beach and the clock, I met another sick surfer from Canada who literally turned my whole world upside down the instant she shook my hand. I know what electricity feels like, and this girl was nothing short of black lightning (and I don’t mean to reference some silly TV show, movie or comic book, but she could very well be meta-human). Turned out that she had to leave Mexico and head back to the concrete jungle of Toronto to help out her dad, and be with her family throughout this crazy time. I won’t lie, I may have tried to convince her to stay. Anyway, she kindly sold me her shark-proof surfboard, and that is partly what has been keeping me (but mostly my kid) busy during this ‘lock down’.

I thought that I might just get lazy, and end up spending all of my non-working time crushing hours and hours of Fortnite online with my buddies back home (yes, I am very fortunate to have been able to continue working remotely and full-time throughout this whole plandemic), but after only a few games I realized that this was worse than boredom itself, and I quickly turned off the idiot box.

I started writing again, although the flow would come and go. When it came, it rocked and rolled inside of my brain until the words were on the page, and in some cases, I was singing them back in to the microphone, making up random music videos all about this silly quarantine.

And then… it was time. I became re-introduced to a physical pain that I had not felt in over 20 years. My first tattoo (and only until now), was just a simple 1990’s armband that I got when I was 18, in some dingy tattoo parlor in Surrey, BC. All in all, that first tattoo took just about an hour to do, and it was surgical. In and out, there was nothing really special to it.

Well, was I ever in for a different experience. Here, there was no tattoo gun. Just a needle, attached to sticks of driftwood with rubber bands, and a whole lot of jet black out-liner ink. The first pricks of the needle made me scream. We started attacking the base of my spine and then down in to my ass crack, not a very common area for most guys to get a stamp, but we weren’t stopping there. At some points in those first 2 sessions, I may have wished that we would stop, or that I had never started. The pain was excruciating. Violent thoughts were rioting through my mind, and none of them had anything to do with the state of the world.

We kept the sessions limited to weekends, which gave my skin a solid 5 days of recovery before getting back into smashing in more ink. As we started to climb up my spine, the pain would morph into different experiences. I noticed energies within my body shifting, changing, and eventually presenting themselves in different ways. At one point I may have even questioned going to the hospital; I honestly thought I was feeling sick enough to maybe even die. Funny how the mind can make things happen throughout the body.

I didn’t die though. I grew stronger. Every weekend session became easier, to the point where I would fall asleep in a child pose position while the artist stabbed inked needles deep in to my back, over and over. Sometimes I cried, and many times we laughed. It was a truly spiritual experience that felt like this was something that was always meant to have happened, and it was happening at precisely the perfect time.

All the meanwhile, stress and pandemonium ensued around me, whether it was at home with the family, thousands of miles away with work and friends, or in almost every nook and cranny in the world as people everywhere were starting to go stir crazy.

Yet we tattooed on. The needle kept dropping, the picture continued to grow. It began to speak volumes, and people started to notice.

“Who is your artist?”

“How much is that costing you?”

“What does it mean?”

I have no answer that will suffice your desires to know these things.

My artist is a mystery, and although he has a name (Cort), I don’t think there are real words that could ever come close to portraying just how awesome he is.

As for cost, it cost me nothing, and everything at the same time. I cannot nor will not put a price on it, and yet I will gladly pay any thing that he may ask for it. It is truly priceless.

What does it mean?

LOVE. FAITH. FEARLESSNESS. HOPE. ACCEPTANCE. UNDERSTANDING. SYNCRETISM.

It means whatever you might see in it.

Maybe one day you can tell me what you see, and then I can see it through your eyes.

Because, my amigo, you see… it’s on my back, and I will never be able to see it with my own.