Beth’s post about tattoos reminded me of something that happened a while back. It was 1983 or so. I had moved to Planet Georgia, but hadn’t met the (at the time) future Mrs. Fetched. I pal’ed around a lot with a guy named Terry, who lived in the same apartment complex I did and had met through a co-worker.
I’d always wanted a decent camera, and Terry was a photographer (who went pro in later years) — and so one fine summer Saturday afternoon, we went to the Wolf Camera in Atlanta and picked me out a Fujica 35mm SLR, a decent camera but not a budget buster. Naturally, we had to go break it in, so we decided to go down to Piedmont Park and photograph some… er, wildlife. (I learned later that the Atlanta Botanical Gardens were also in the park, oh well.)
We were wandering around the park, no destination in mind but enjoying the nice day. As we approached the bathhouses, we heard someone bellow, “HEY! ARE YOU GUYS PHOTOGRAPHERS?” We turned around to find, excuse me, three females that perfectly defined the stereotypical “biker chick” — stringy hair, clothes that hadn’t seen much time in the laundry, boots, unrefined manners… the works.
“Well, we’re carrying cameras, I guess that makes us photographers,” Terry said with more than a little sarcasm. I’ve never been quick-witted, and silence has perhaps saved me from more than one awkward situation in the past. He was a bit quicker than me though, which was also a good thing. Someone had to say something.
“Yeah, she wants you to take a picture of her,” the original one of the three said. “Yeah! Yeah!” said the second one. I took my cue from Terry, and we laughed them off and walked away.
But we came around the backside of the bathhouses, and there they were again. “Hey! She was serious about taking her picture. C'm'ere.” We looked at each other, shrugged, and walked over. What were they going to do in the middle of a public park, anyway?
We soon found out. “Here,” the second woman said, “take a picture of THIS!” and she hoisted her shirt. To show us an actually well-done eagle covering the top of her left breast. By the way, there was no bra to hide either the tat or the tit.
This was a unique experience, and not only because of the over-exposure — it was the first and only time I ever saw Terry at a loss for words. While I stood there gaping like a complete idiot, he managed to stammer something about release forms. “You don’t need any release forms,” she said, hoisting her shirt again. I grabbed my camera, but dropped it a split-second later (it was on a neck strap) when I realized I’d forgotten what to do with it. Somehow, we managed to extract ourselves and made for the car.
I said something about not doing well under pressure. “Just as well,” Terry said. “If we’d taken pictures, we’d have never gotten rid of them. Then they probably would have given us some unpronounceable disease.”
Some things you just don’t forget. But Beth, getting a tattoo doesn’t make someone pond scum. Now getting a large tattoo over one’s unmentionables, then displaying same in public? Hmmmm.