My Key West Souvenir

You know when you go on vacation to a popular destination and everyone you talk to, before you leave, says, “Oh my god, I love it there! You’ve GOT to go to _________ and get the ____________”, and you go and end up feeling some measure of anxiety about whether or not you’ll be able to do all the things that your friends did when they were there. Not to mention come up with a few original things that you can throw back to other people.

Yeah, that really sucks the fun out of a vacation. When we went to Ireland and England, I even lost a little bit of sleep worrying that we weren’t going to be able to pack in enough fun into this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Plus I was with Mr. A-Vacation-Means-Taking-a-Break-From-Looking-at-Your-Watch-or-Even-a-Calendar-For-That-Matter so that by the end I was so stressed I was tempted to get one of those airport massages in Cincinnati.

I’ve gotten over being a jerk about it, though, and now when I’m on a trip, I often stop and ask myself the following questions:

Am I having such a rotten time right now that it's painful to speak?

Is it important that someone somewhere on this island/resort/continent/bus might be having more fun than me right now?

Is anyone in my immediate family in danger of death by boredom doing what we’re doing right now?

No? Good, then keep doing it.

Our recent trip to Key West had potential to make me an anxietress extraordinairre, because apparently everyone age 3-97 has done Key West like a Girls Gone Wild shoot. Really, people I know who are normally very conservative and mild mannered told me where the naked bars were, where to find gay prostitutes and where to buy date-rape drugs.

“But I kind of just wanted to eat shrimp and walk around,” I’d say, already feeling guilty that I probably wasn’t going to have a fraction of the fun as everyone else.

So I decided to get a tattoo while I was there.

It was just henna (calm down, calm down) and probably was actually not even henna - by the smell, I think it was a mixture of hair dye, an emptied out Magic Marker, and some cancer causing chemical. I talked my daughter into getting one with me, although she wasn’t nearly as excited as I thought a 16-year-old should be, her mom letting her get a spider tattooed onto her wrist and all.
I almost had my mother-in-law talked into getting one, too, when I told her we would get a discount for three. (She loves a good bargain.) But she wanted to go back to the hotel instead and in a fateful moment, I turned to my husband and said, “Do you want to come with Cary and me when we get tattoos?”

“Yes,” he said. [Insert scary music: Dunt, dunt, duhhhhhh]

So we strolled down Duvall Street to a henna tattoo place and started to look through the pictures of what we wanted. Cary took about 30 seconds to pick out the spider. I started to look for a Celtic design that I thought would look suburban chic on my shoulder. Then my husband - who was supposed to be too busy fretting and stewing about my daughter’s wrist spider to meddle in my affairs - instead found the Tramp Stamp book and said to me, “Get one of these” and “The dolphin one is nice.”

I won’t go into the reasons why I agreed, since I’m not sure what happened. I may have had a debilitating hot flash or some fallout from a shrimp overdose, but I got a dolphin tramp stamp.

Walking back to the hotel, with my shirt tied up into an Elly Mae Clampett midriff and my Mom jeans pulled down around my hips, allowing my tribal body art to dry, I think I got the Key West experience that everyone talks about.
This is my tattoo before the ink dried and I rinsed all the goop off and it turned more henna-looking. 

I actually am still anti-tattoo, as I proclaimed in this blog about creepy tattoos from a while back.

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