Annapolis, November 2017

My next stop on my five state finishing up the east coast tour was Annapolis. Although my train from Wilmington was landing in Baltimore, I was intent on getting my Maryland tattoo in Annapolis for two reasons: 1) it is a safer town than Baltimore and 2) it has the last of the US Fadós to complete my Fadó collection. Plus, it is the capital of Maryland and I heard it was a cute place to visit. Because my next stop on this mini-tour was Richmond, Virginia, and Annapolis was expensive to stay in, I would only be in town long enough for a tattoo and a couple of pints, and then I was sleeping in Washington, D.C. that night.

Baltimore is the home of the Ravens—although I have no interest in football—and Edgar Allen Poe, the author of the poem, “The Raven,” died in Baltimore, so my natural choice for a Maryland tattoo was a raven. Plus, my good friend Debra from Flagstaff had recently acquired a raven tattoo and I wanted to copy her idea so we could have another set of matching tattoos. I contacted my chosen artist, Jeffy Scott, at Lucky Bird (fitting name), and sent him a few reference images. I had a spot open under my armpit that would fit a raven in flight, and I sent him a photo of the space so he would know what he was working with. After a very hungover morning spent in Wilmington, I was pleased to discover I was hungry when I arrived in Baltimore. I purchased a bagel with cream cheese from the Dunkin Donuts in the station and waited for my Über driver. I was going to be a little late to the appointment, so I called the shop and let them know ahead of time. The ride to Annapolis was about 30 minutes and the driver played some relaxing tunes, so I sat back, ate my bagel, and enjoyed feeling normal again.

When I arrived at the shop, which was in a strip mall, I met with Jeffy and reviewed his sketch. It was beautiful and exactly how I envisioned the bird. Because he would be working right next to my breast, I was going to be a little exposed and so he closed the curtain for privacy. He fit the bird on my body and there was some overlap with the other pieces, so he sized it and re-positioned it a couple of times until we were sure we liked the placement. There was still a bit of overlap with the tail feathers and my Vermont prism, but he said he would fade out the feathers behind the piece. I agreed that full wings were more important than a complete tail. As Jeffy was setting up, I sent the drawing to Debra and she approved.

As it was a large piece with a heavy amount of black and gray shading, and going on some rather thin skin on my ribs and near my armpit, I expected a fair amount of pain, and was not disappointed. I was happy that I was no longer hungover and that I was lying down on a stable massage table, however, so I easily breathed through it. I chatted with the artist and discovered that he was in a band and was very familiar with a lot of bands I know. We had an enjoyable conversation and he played good music in the background and I was not even uncomfortable when he had to touch my breast to tattoo the side of it. Plus, he was super efficient and the tattoo only took an hour. He covered it with Tegaderm and changed the bandage on my panther because my tattoo leaked so much that it made the covering worthless.

Only after I left the shop and studied the tattoo did I notice that he omitted the legs. The bird was in flight, but had no legs to stand on. Jeffy had added a twig to give the piece some color, but neither that, nor the feathers would have covered up the feet, so the tattoo was definitely incorrect. But I had not noticed it in the drawing, and neither did Debra. Nor did anyone else after I posted the finished piece on social media. It was such a lovely tattoo and so well-done that it did not matter, but I do like some realism in my tattoos, and it slightly bothered me. I drank away my woes at the Annapolis Fadó which was next to a hotel. It was dark and rainy out, so I did not get to see much of Annapolis other than two strip malls, but I had a 30 minute ride to my hotel in Washington, D.C., and I needed to get going. My Über driver was a very enthusiastic old man who talked the entire way there. He told me about his gardening passion and that I should grow Camellias. He also fed me multiple facts about the United States presidents, which I tried as hard as I could to remember in case these questions were ever asked at my pub trivia. I was going to go out in D.C. that night and my hotel had two Irish pubs next to it, but I needed a sober night’s sleep.

My Maryland tattoo is beautiful, but almost too pretty to actually be a raven, and perhaps resembles more of a crow. The beak is not long or defined enough. The bird is not black enough or feathery enough where it needs to be feathery, like on the beak. Plus, it is lacking legs. I am letting the mistakes go, however, because it is a gorgeous tattoo of a black, legless bird, and it was still inspired by the idea of a raven. And I do love it. Plus, crows and ravens are from the same family, so it could just be an especially dainty raven named Anna, to relate more to Annapolis rather than getting a harsher looking piece to represent Baltimore. Justifying tattoo errors is becoming way too common for me, but it is all part of the story.


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