A couple weeks ago I had that fateful appointment with Coral Pollock at River City Ink & Steel . . . here’s what happened.
11:00am – I arrived on time after having a big breakfast at Santorini’s restaurant. Mmmm bacon. I had forgotten to bring a bottled orange juice with me so the first stop was the Shell gas station next door where I purchased a bottled Five Alive. Coral had mentioned to bring some OJ because it’ll help keep my sugars up.
11:05am – I walk in and begin taking my shoes off, putting them on the pretty shoe rack near the door. Debbie and I chat for a bit about metaphysics and she tells me about some of her cathartic retreats she’s been on. She’s keeping me company and getting my mind off the tattooing because I’m a little freaked.
11:10am – Waiting for Coral . . . she comes out for a brief moment and shows me the owl sketch. It’s soo pretty and I approve the art pretty much immediately. She dives back into her “procedure room” to prep.
11:30am – More prepping, more waiting for Coral. Someone else comes in who’s booked with Mark the other artist at River City.
12:00pm – Coral is finally ready! I get into the procedure room which is better sterilized than a doctor’s office, and Coral starts sanitizing my arm with some stuff before putting the stencil on my arm. I get to lay down on a massage table covered in exam paper, and I get to arrange my ipod, my exam pillows, everything. She’s got a little arm rest thing and that’s where my arm goes for the tattooing part.
12:05pm – She’s got her little tray of ink colors and her mask, gloves, and smock on and she’s all “Ready to begin?” I have my earbuds in so I can’t hear her at all, but then I’m also uncomfortable, I can’t really work with my ipod to change the song so I keep trying to figure this out and all I can think is that I should have created a playlist, there’s too much crap on my ipod.
12:06pm – I almost chicken out. Coral is asking again if I’m ready for this and I’m like, “No, can I chicken out now?” and she’s all no before she pokes me with the airbrush needle thing and says “That’s about how much it’s going to hurt is it okay?” I’m a little like wow by the pain . . . as in, oh yeah it actually does hurt, duh. But I tell her to continue. She tells me the outline is the worst part and then shading is a lot better. She also mentions that I’ll be sweating in five to ten minutes.
12:20pm – Sweating . . . tapping my feet, listening to really loud music because relaxing meditation music does NOT work during a tattoo, hello endorphins, hello adrenaline! I may as well be in a mosh pit, breathing through the pain which is about a 4 out of 10 at this point. I keep wondering when she’s going to be done and she keeps saying “Almost done.” which was so not true at any of the points she said it.
12:40pm – “Okay that just hurts like a mother,” I say. “Oh well it’s because it’s on the inner part of the arm and closer to the inside of your elbow. Don’t worry, not too much to do up here.” Um, awesome, we found the part that hurts like a son of a bitch. I named that part a 6 for pain.
1:00pm – The outline is done! And Coral gets up for a break. I’m sitting there a little out of it and I stop the music to say “Could I just leave it as an outline?” Coral says, “No, you’ll regret that believe me.” She takes awhile to come back and then of course I have to use the washroom so I’m all checking out what she’s done thus far. I’m dizzy and thinking “Well shit I hope I’ll be able to drive home when this is done.”
1:20pm – The shading begins! Coral had promised it wouldn’t hurt as much and she was right. I decided to start listening to some songs on repeat, like Let the Sparks Fly by Thousand Foot Crutch, I will wait by Mumford & Sons and Broken Crown by Mumford & Sons. I’m also way more comfortable now. The trance begins and I’m kinda like, “okay do whatever to my arm.” Pain is at a 2 at this point, feels more like a buzz cut than anything else.
1:45pm – My arm is numb. I can’t really feel my hand at all, or my arm, and my elbow is super sore from being in the same position for awhile. I decide not to tell Coral about this just in case it’s a bad thing . . .
2:15pm – Another washroom break for us … and a chance to move my arm and make sure it’s not going to fall asleep or wake up and do that prickly thing . . . last thing I need during a tattoo is that prickly sleep to wash over my whole arm, ouch. In other news, it’s looking really good shaded in and all. I’m also feeling less on the dizzy side.
2:30pm – We’re back at it and Coral estimates another half an hour. The person who had booked with Mark comes in the room and I don’t even notice her, which um . . . makes me freaked. I’m out of my trance and pain decides it wants to be a 3 or a 4 again, which makes me wince a lot.
2:40pm – Mark walks into the room and peers over Coral’s shoulder. His energy makes things hurt more. “Dude, her door says fuck off for a reason.” I can’t hear his response. “I’m not trying to be a bitch it just hurts.” Yeah . . . thanks for breaking my effing concentration . . .
2:50pm – “Are you done yet?” “Ten more minutes . . .”
3:00pm – “Are you done yet?” “Mmm, I’ll let you know . . .”
3:10pm – Coral stops. I look up, “You’re done?” She squints at my arm, “Erm . . . yeah.” I laugh, “You sure?” “Yeah, I’m done.” she snaps off her glove.
I sit up slowly, and the other girl who honestly didn’t affect me at all looks at my stuff and hands me my five alive. I drink up . . . feeling pretty good while Coral gets the camera and the camera phone out and takes pictures of the awesomeness on my arm. It seriously looks amaze balls.
After picture taking there’s some interesting padded black plastic bandages wrapped around my arm along with lime green tape. Coral is telling me all about after care, which includes an ice pack and soap, and avoiding getting it wet in the shower and something about washing my hair in a sink (hell no) and all that jazz.
I leave, thankfully it was -15 that day so I mean in my car I feel nothing. It’s not until I’m home that my arm is burning and I’m hugging the ice packs. I feel a little woozy too but my friend texts me to tell me she’s waiting in line at the movie I promised I’d go to that night. Ha, so I don’t want to take the big ice pack with me so I end up taking a frozen water bottle with me, and sit there while watching the premiere of FROZEN (really awesome, go see it) while icing my tattoo.
Coral sent me pics and I followed the after care instructions rather well, so my tattoo didn’t bleed out of my skin, nor did I scratch it off. It didn’t get itchy for awhile, and now past the two week mark it feels smooth, but still a little bit like an outline.
For me the pain was worth it because the owl is my spirit animal, the nineteen connects to so many areas of my life and it’s the sexiest and most badass tattoo I have . . . (okay it’s also the only tattoo I have right now)
About the pics: The first one Coral took right after she did it. The second and third are ones I took just now with my iphone, after the healing process.
I’m getting another tattoo . . . but probably just one more.
Do you have a tattoo? If so, where did you get it and why?