My best friend (and sister) and I went on a work/play holiday (new duck photos!) over the weekend. We drove up to northern Arizona. Somehow we get ourselves in the most random of situations, unintentionally.
She is a rock hound. I am not. She loves outdoors, hiking, anything mountainous. Eh. Not my favorite, but I will go along for entertainment purposes. They have hotels, why sleep in the dirt? I just don't get it.
We head out bright and early Saturday morning, our intention to stay close the car for frequent water, snacks and slathering more sunscreen. Unfortunately due to our A.D.D. this doesn't happen. We wander so far that 5 hours later I get concerned about the sunscreen wearing off and start to panic about water rationing. I got a little red and begin whining like a baby. Upon returning to the car, I change into a tank top due to the burning sensation on my chest, neck and arms. We leave said hiking destination and I immediately begin dreaming of a shower and some food.
On our long and mud filled expedition back out of our hiking spot, Suzanne spots a sign and says, "WOW! Petrified Forest National Park!" Gah. I know I am in for it. 93,533 acres of "wonder and beauty." It's 3:00, I haven't eaten anything since 7:30 but a banana with peanut butter and am edging on the side of hangry (angry hungry), my dream of a shower shattered. But, Suzanne looks like a kid in a candy store. I agree to take her through because I am a loving sister.
We pull into a "scenic view" for photo opportunities of more desert and rocks. I am standing trying to entertain myself (with duck photos) while she is decompressing and relishing the view. A Harley Davidson riding, leather and ripped shirt wearing, motorcycle couple approaches us, I admit to a minute of panic, but they simply ask if we would like our picture taken together. I am thrilled! No really, I am. We have been taking self portraits for two days and there is nothing cute about my chin in a self taken photo. I have recently gained 10 unwanted pounds that I am extremely self conscious about. I've lost 70, and am slowly inching back up to a plus size. I refuse to buy bigger clothes so I cram myself into my pants daily as a reminder to put the blessed Twinkie down (oh how I love that yellow spongy cake)!
I digress. (mmmm spongy cake) As we pose for the photo, I start the mental rant of "remember to suck in your belly, lift your neck slightly to reduce double chin, oh, and of course, smile".
I walk back to the biker couple to retrieve my camera, and thank them sincerely for the generosity. As I turn to walk back towards my sister the lady, Angie, says, "WOW! You have a beautiful tattoo!" (I have been working on a back piece for two grueling years that is almost, but not quite finished). "Thanks!" I reply, "It goes all the way down to here." and lift up the bottom edge of my shirt to show her the end, as she can only see the top 1/4 that is visible above my tank top.
This is my mistake.
"Holy sh%$!" She yells and comes running over. "Can I see?" "Sure." I say and lift my shirt up about 5 inches. This apparently would not sate her, and she realizes the magnitude of my tattoo and would like to see it all. She lifts my shirt up onto my neck and I am confused. My shirt is starting to cut off circulation and I begin to wonder what is going on back there. I guess Angie isn't satisfied with the 2" piece of cloth impeding her view. She kindly informs me, "Now hold your tits, honey, so they don't fall out". What?! Did I hear that right, or is lack of air making me hallucinate?! Nope, a quick snap and all of the sudden my girls are free. Angie has undone my bra, to get a perfect view of my work of art in it's entirety. I'm frozen in shock.
Angie then begins frantically snapping photos while talking a mile a minute, "This is the most beautiful tattoo I've ever seen! I've never seen a tattoo I wanted until this one. It's the best work ever!" As a biker chick, I really appreciate the meaning behind these gushings and really try to finagle a pose to minimize the look of back fat while trying to keep my boobs from flailing about, this is proving a difficult task. A few minutes pass, and I think I am about to put my shirt back on and end this embarrassment when to my horror I hear," Hey, come over and see this!" Huh?
I feel several hands now groping my back and I risk ruining the photos by craning my neck around to see what more trouble is ensuing (turning your neck around in photos can be dreaded maneuver as it gives a thousand odd looking chin wrinkles). To my surprise I see several hundred (five) tourists from Germany pulled over for the "scenic view". Me. Angie says, "No, it is real, not art or marker." Apparently the lack of air was getting to me as I didn't hear the German gentleman ask if my tattoo is a fake! A fake?! Hours of pain and not being able to rest against anything and having my shirt stick in my skin as I am healing for days. Pshhht. I think not!!
I realize at this point that my sister is somewhere in the melee, and begin frantically searching for her to yell for help. She is standing only a few short feet away, and laughing so hard she is crying. A professional photographer, ready at any moment with camera in hand for great photo opportunities, and her camera was still. She is standing, mouth agape. She awakens from her shock upon my panicked stare and rapidly begins snapping photos to forever capture this priceless moment.
Angie truly made my day and weekend. She was so kind as to give me several hugs and take a duck along with her for road shots (as well as ask which hook my bra goes back on, one two or three) and a story, with accompanying photos, I will never forget. I share with you because if I can make one person chuckle a day, even at my own expense, I feel like I have accomplished something. Thanks Jim Quinn, awarding winning artist of Istari Studios in Tucson, for the show stopping tattoo.