Fernando Prudencio was born in Bolivia, lived most of his life in Arlington, Virginia, but spent six years in San Francisco where he learned the art of tattooing. He loves baroque art, particularly the work of Bernini. He's a painter as well as a tattoo artist. He told us that his favorite color, by far, is Burnt Umber. What is not to love about that?
He also loves moths and cicadas, whose life cycles he has studied assiduously. He played the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack, also the music from the movie Amelie, while he worked on my friend, the luminous Mrs. Lipp, and me. Yeah. You can't make this stuff up.
Pretty much everything about the experience of receiving my tattoo was unexpected. Fernando has a very light touch, hence the process didn't really hurt, but nevertheless it was a really big deal. I thought it was going to be painful, that the pain would form the center around which the experience would unfold, but it wasn't like that at all.
When will I learn to let go of my uninformed expectations? Good lord.
We spent twice as much time with Fernando as we thought we would. I believe he got a kick out of us, and, well, who wouldn't love hearing that Mrs. Lipp lived illegally in Tuscany for eight years, that she drives a pink Vespa and worked at Congressional Cemetery? I believe he found me pretty amusing as well.
Afterwards I was in such an altered state. I thought I was fine, but I was definitely stoned. I suspect this is one reason people enjoy receiving tattoos. For me, it was quite unnerving. For instance, Fernando was unable to take my bank card so Mrs. Lipp drove me to the bank to get cash. She dropped me in front of the studio, told me she would drive around the block and pick me up. When I paid Fernando, he gave me a hug and said, "Now you're one of us." Pondering the meaning of that, I got into Mrs. Lipp's car - but it wasn't her car! I had jumped into a car driven by a middle aged black man who looked very surprised to see me in the passenger seat. When I realized my mistake, I apologized and jumped OUT of the car, just in time to hear him say, "Do you need a ride somewhere?" He was such a nice man, every bit as startled by the experience as I was. I'm sure he would have given me a ride if that's what I needed. Good lord.
I wasn't in my right mind at all and in fact did not feel normal for the rest of the evening. I'm better this morning, I'm glad to say.
It's a gorgeous day in Washington DC. Today is my journey through the Holocaust Museum. Of course I have ideas about how it will affect me. I was completely wrong about yesterday, though, hence I'm trying to be curious and open. I'm trying! One thing I know for certain is that it will be great to walk down to the museum and wonderful to see my great teacher Pandora.
What a week! What a life! Shalom.
Detail from a hand painted volkswagon bug. That car is so beautiful!