I'm more and more at odds with my local environment - whether it be with news items in the newspaper, the people that I meet in the course of my work, or just the happenings of an everyday existence in what used to be a small town in Southern British Columbia.
I don't, for example:
1. Drive a truck on raised suspension, or a truck with a very noisy diesel engine/exhaust combination, or a truck with flames painted on it. Neither do I drive a truck with all three characteristics, unlike many of my fellow district-dwellers.
2. Wear a dirty, greasy baseball cap, black sleeveless 'shirt' and wear seven days of stubble all week.
3. Enthusiastically drink the watery horse-pee that passes for beer in these here parts (pause to spit in the spittoon), pick a fight with my significant other and come over all punchy with them, resulting in a short ride to the police detachment.
4. Consider burger bars to be 'restaurants'.
5. Arrive at Tim Horton's with absolutely no fricken idea of what to order, and then hold up the queue while I ask the server (via the crackly microphone/speaker) a whole series of outlandish questions to which I should already know the answer because I went through the same bloody scenario yesterday.
Finally - and perhaps most significantly - I have no tattoos. None. Nada, zip, zee-row, zilch. This alone firmly places me in a minority group as far as I can tell. Without aiming to do so, I have managed to achieve some level of exclusivity simply by not applying ink-filled needles to my skin, or handing over large sums of money for the privilege of having somebody else hurt me in this way.
For a short period some years ago, I danced around the idea of having some kind of Maori or Celtic design; something abstract but decorative. The idea went away without any assistance; it seems that it was not to be, and I don't regret not having a tattoo, but I can imagine regretting having had one if it wasn't just perfect...Today I seem to be in something of an increasing minority where body art is concerned. I'd feel rather left out if it wasn't for the fact that there are so many truly appalling examples of 'Ink' out there. More often than not, I feel lucky to have avoided making some of the mistakes that people in my area proudly walk around brandishing. Maybe there's something in the water? Whatever it is, there seems to be an epidemic of skulls and flames around here. how dreadfully formulaic.
Therein lies the problem; far from being expressions of individuality, tattoos are rapidly becoming banal, tired and frankly boring attempts at self - expression. Skulls? really? isn't it time for some new ideas? Flames? What IS it about flames in this part of the world? We seem to be stuck (at least creatively) at some point in the 1980s.
I looked online for some examples of the tattoo art, and selected a few: