I’m standing in the Starbucks at the corner of Wilshire and 26th, Santa Monica, when I get talking to a woman who is holding a small terrier-style dog on a leash.
‘That’s a cute dog.’ I say to the woman as I bend slightly forward and hold out my hand toward the dog, making one of those sweet dog attracting sounds people make to a dog when they want it to engage with them.
‘He’ll just ignore you,’ says the woman who is wearing a white tee shirt, chinos, bright red lipstick, and has curly dark hair and arms covered with some portraiture tattoos, ‘he’s not interested in you out in public, but if you come to his home he’s all over you.’
‘I see.’ I say, giving up on the animal and straightening up, ‘So out in public he’s a snob.’
The woman laughs.
We stand there for a few moments until I say, “I like your tattoos.” and I point to a particularly excellent black and grey work of a couple.
‘Those are my parents.’ she says.
Then she shows me other black and grey portraits up her arms but none are as skilled as the one of her parents and I ask her who did it,
‘It was a woman up in Orange county,’ she tells me, ‘she was really good,’
I don’t have any black any grey and thinking maybe one day I might get one, I ask her for the woman’s number.
‘She committed suicide,’ the woman says.
‘Jesus!’ I say.
‘Yeh,’ says the woman,’ and she did this one too.’ and she rolls her arm around and shows me, this time without explanation, a good, but not as good as the parents, portrait of a baby on the back of her arm.
‘Yeh, it was a real shame,’ says the tattooed woman, as we both look down at the tattoo of the baby that the woman from Orange County who had committed suicide had done.