tattoo etiquette

Is it rude to ask someone about their tattoo?

Is it rude to stare or are you supposed to?  Isn’t that the reason the tattoo’d person had the tattoo in the first place, as a “body art” statement?

I’m at a loss.  I’m getting old.  Really old.

My computer crashed Thursday morning.  I worked most of the day to try to solve the problems, but when Word would no longer open the book I was writing, I was done.  I took it into one of the local Staples (there are three within easy driving distance) and asked a young man who worked there what I could do.

If the computer was dead, I needed to buy a new one right that minute and go back home to work.  Pat and Sharon, my best writing buddies, had spent two days emailing me to help with a problem I had with my heroine.  Their ideas had worked and I was ready to roll once again.

My computer was not.

The young man, a very nice young man, wore a short-sleeved Staples polo shirt.  He had a lot of tattoos.  A LOT OF TATTOOS, most of them quite simple, on his arms and wrists and fingers.   One of them was quite large, about 10″ long, I think, and was a man’s bearded face with his hand up to his chin and his index finger maybe picking his nose.  Or maybe just looking thoughtful, in a gross kind of way.

I admit I was in a “stressed zombie” state, really desperate and intense.  Banjo Man tends to hide in the basement during these episodes.  He gets a sorrowful look on his face, like he wished he lived in Texas.  Or Alaska.  Or Germany.

Anyway, the computer scan didn’t come up with any viruses.  Which meant it would have to spend the night and have a diagnostic test in the morning, when the computer tech was working, to check the hardware.

Meanwhile I couldn’t take my eyes off the tattoos.  I was dying to ask, “Is he really doing that with his finger?”

It was really distracting.  But the kid was nice and helpful and was doing his best, and I didn’t want to embarrass him, but that leads to another question:  can you actually embarrass someone who has tattoos?  If it’s a tattoo easily visible and not a little heart or flower in a “private place”, is it now public and open for questions?

I paid for the $69.99 diagnostic scan, looked at all of the laptops on display, took some notes and headed home to pout.  I was thinking about tequila and the margarita mix in a glass shoe that Bachelor Steve had given me for Christmas, but by the time I got home and told Banjo Man about the tattoos (he wasn’t very interested because I’d cooked 10 pounds of ribs and they were cooling on the counter and he wanted some and I told him to help himself) I was too tired to eat or drink, so I went to bed.

It turned out the computer was fine, but an expensive virus scan showed that it did have viruses (gee, thanks, expensive version of AVG) and would have to spend another night at Staples.  I talked to the Staples folks four times yesterday.  Banjo Man said go buy a new computer.  I said I didn’t have time to learn Windows 8.  The Staples people said it would be finished in a few hours.  And a few hours.  And a few more hours.  And maybe the next day.  Around 11 AM.   And I said, “TELL ME THE TRUTH BECAUSE IF IT’S GOING TO TAKE DAYS I WILL COME TO THE STORE RIGHT NOW AND BUY A NEW COMPUTER BECAUSE I’M A WRITER AND I HAVE A DEADLINE!!!”

No, I didn’t yell.  Honest.  I’m not much of a yeller, though there are times when I’d like to be.

Tattoo Guy even said, “You seem really calm.  If I were you I wouldn’t be that calm.”

I didn’t tell him about the Stressed Zombie thing.

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