Mehai Bakaty of Fineline Tattoo, Al of Hammerbrain and Me, Being Less Than Immaculate

CTukshqVEAAZdHX.jpg-largeI’d like to take a moment to recognize that sometimes the world can be pretty fucked up.

Sigh.

Onward.

home_fineline-tattoo-nyc-neon-sign3So tonight my dear friend Natasha and I got matching Friday the 13th tattoos. It was almost like we decided simultaneously that we wanted to do it. We stood in line for about an hour at Fineline Tattoo, which is where I got my first and second tattoos. Mehai Bakatay gave me my very first tattoo and my second was by his father, Mike, who passed away in 2014, RIP. He was old school. I got those first two tattoos in their living room, back before getting inked was a NYC-sanctioned situation. The tattoo parlor is old school. (Old school enough for safe_image.phptheir neon sign to have no area code!) So it seemed like the right place to go for a tradition-ish bit of inking. We decided on the bird. I liked it because it was one of the more intricate designs for the price ($13 plus $7 tip). And because it resembled a piece of vector art that I’d made into stickers for Sign Shop. Dale Schmitt was the man who inked me and, I’ll admit, he looked 12. But that’s because I’m an old hag. Seriously, he was perfect. And I’ll look forward to going back to see him for my next “project.” It was nice to catch up with Mehai. We talked about local real estate and reconnected. While the people who’ve been in the neighborhood dwindle, I love chatting with someone who’s been here forever.

After we were bandaged, Natasha and I needed a beer so we headed to one of my favorite locals, 2A. It was the first East Village bar I went to when I first moved here, back in 1985. This ‘hood was still a little sketchy and I was busy trying to be a yuppie, so after my date — with a super “edgy” downtown-type British dude in the music biz — who I’d sorta love to track down, just out of curiosity — I took a taxi home to the Upper West Side. Even though I was unemployed and broke. I was that scared to take the subway from there. Hah! When seats at the bar freed up we found ourselves sitting with Al Hammerbrain. His name is actually Al Landess, but I never knew that till tonight when I googled him for linking purposes. He led the punk band Hammerbrain (Hey, buy their CD! See them on YouTube!), on guitar and lead vocals, and is one of those people I’ve been seeing on Avenue A for as long as I can remember. He was a waiter at Benny’s Burritos until they closed. Now he’s managing Kelly’s Bar (also on Avenue A), right next door to Double Down (where I used to bartend). If anyone can make a sports bar cool, Al can. We reminisced about Downtown Beirut, professing our undying love for “the best bar ever” with the best jukebox ever ever. It remains, to this day, my chief source of bar-owning inspiration.

Ya know, with all the bitching about how New York is so “over,” it’s reassuring to see people who’re still sticking it out! If you haven’t already, you should read Ada Calhoun’s article on this topic.She nails it. My night ended with stuffed cabbage (brown gravy, not red) from Odessa. A delicious old school finish to a heartwarmingly old school evening.

And from the Random Noodling Thoughts Department:

Along with my struggle to post every day and remain positive, I’ve been having a hard time with one of The Four Agreements. Specifically #2. “Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

Uh, yeah. Not as easy as it sounds. I fare pretty well with the other three (though I do have a weakness for gossip) but I’ll admit, I take everything personally. Convincing myself that “what others say and do” has nothing to do with me when they’re speaking to, with or about me is difficult. If someone says, “You are being a bitch,” my first thought it not “This person is projecting their reality.” Well, except for their reality being that I’m a bitch. Believe me, I can totally be a bitch. But if I wasn’t actually being a bitch in that moment — or, frankly, even if I was — a reaction to me and an insult aimed at me is tough to shrug off as not being about me. Personally. Ya know?

Along with wondering about those people who are sunshine and lollipops all the damn time I marvel at people who claim to be adhering to the Four Agreements. I want to know how they do it. And while I’m noodling, I’ll say that my negative, cranky, cunty posts generate waaaaaay more responses than my purported positive ones do. Anyone have any feedback on that? Didn’t think so…

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