Thursday, January 11, 2007


By the time I got back to my hotel after the sound healing, it was already late afternoon on Saturday. I had nothing else planned, so I figured I'd drive around Sedona. Shortly after I crossed the city limits into Cottonwood, I came upon a tattoo parlor.

I'd never even considered getting a tattoo - it just wasn't me. But my mind was absolutely on fire from the experience in the canyon - I felt more alive than ever before. This sense of open energy was just coursing through my veins, and I wanted a way to remember it -- a souvenir.

There were two guys inside the shop. One was a younger guy with dark hair and a head full of piercings. The second was an older guy with a long ponytail and a scraggly moustache. An old, gray dog was curled up on a couch. He lifted his head when I came in, heaved a sigh and went back to sleep.

"Can we help you?" the younger guy asked.
"Um... I think I wanna get a tattoo. But I don't know of what," I replied.
"Well, feel free to browse around," the older guy said, pointing to walls covered in thousands of designs. "We also have these you can look through," he indicated towards a stack of 3-ring binders.

Since this was all so spontaneous, I wasn't sure what I had in mind. I skimmed through the books and walked around studying the walls. After a little while, the older guy said,

"Hey - I gotta take him to get his car. It's just down the road a little bit so I won't be long. Feel free to hang out here and keep looking."
"It's okay if I'm here alone?" I asked.
"Nah, you're not alone. He's here," he nodded at the comatose dog.
"Um, okay."
"I'm Ogre, by the way," the older guy said, offering me a handshake.

Ogre. Wonderful.

With that, the two guys took off on Ogre's motorcycle. I sat down on the couch next to the dog who, once again, lifted his head, sighed and went back to sleep. About fifteen minutes later when Ogre returned, he asked me if I'd made up my mind.

"Not yet. I want it to be significant." I told him about my experience and how I wanted some sort of permanent souvenir to remind me of how I'd felt taking that step on the ledge.
"What were you feeling?" he asked.
"Strength. Like I could do anything at that moment."

I ended up deciding on the Japanese kanji symbol for strength, and I decided to have him put it on my lower back. That way I'd know it was there, but no one else had to know.

I was surprised at how it didn't even faze me having a complete stranger staring at my naked ass for two hours. Ogre turned out to be a really fascinating character, and we had some great conversation. It made me think about how I can be so quick to judge a person on appearances. Here was this rough-looking biker named "Ogre" who turned out to be a kind, quiet artist. Had I never been open enough to give him a chance, I'd have missed meeting him altogether.

I didn't realize it at the time, but Sedona was working within me. My promise to Debra on the first day to be more "open" was paying off, and she'd been absolutely right. Nothing about that day had been normal. And it was incredible.

On my way back to Sedona, I realized that it was nearly 9 PM and I still hadn't had any dinner. I decided to stop at this Mexican restaurant I'd passed earlier, figuring an authentic southwest margarita would hit the spot. I walked in and saw a bald guy in his 30's standing by the host station.

"Just one, please," I said to him.
"Okay - I'll be sure to tell the hostess," he grinned.
"Oh jeez, I'm sorry! I thought you WERE the hostess!" I laughed.
"Nope, just waiting for my friend Jim to finish up in the bathroom."

We made small talk for a little while and I learned that his name was Joe, and he was an artist in town for an arts and crafts festival. A little while later, an elderly man - probably in his early 70's - came out of the bathroom and introduced himself as Joe's friend, Jim.

As the three of us stood talking in the restaurant lobby, it occurred to me that I would have never thought to strike up a conversation with complete strangers if I were home. And yet, here I was - chatting to these guys as if I'd known them for years. And oddly enough, it felt as if I DID know them. Again, I'd put fears aside - took a chance - and met new friends.

The real hostess finally came and offered to take me to my table. I thanked Joe and Jim for keeping me company and they invited me to come check out the festival the next day. I agreed and we parted ways. I sat down at my table feeling far more at ease dining solo than the previous evening.

...And the margarita was delightful.


Mike said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying this story.

Pensive Turtle said...

Oh crap... people are READING this?!

L*I*S*A said...

I love the tat! I've been very tempted to get something similar to represent something important in my life as well.