So I’ve been trying to find a “good day” to drive out to Portsmouth and get my new tattoo for weeks. I turned 23 last month and my birthday gift from my parents was money toward my new tattoo: a Fall Out Boy song lyric on my rib cage, “long live the car crash hearts”. I finally decided to just message my friend Chelsea on Wednesday and ask her to go with me yesterday (Thursday). Chelsea is the person who wrote out my tattoo in beautiful script, so of course I wanted her to be the one to go with me when I got it done.
We drove to Portsmouth yesterday afternoon, listening to music and catching up on each other’s lives. When we got there, we parked in the place I always park — in fact, we parked in a spot that I’ve parked in several times before. The exact same spot. (We’ll come back to this point later.)
While I usually go to Hobo’s Tattoo & Piercing to get my work done, I decided to try somewhere new for this tattoo. I’d heard a lot of really good things about Iron Works Tattoo and I was impressed with the friendliness of the staff and the linework I saw when I went in to have my design appraised last time I was on the Seacoast.
My artist at Iron Works, Jeremiah, was fantastic. He helped me clean up my design and worked with me until it was the exact size I wanted it. He was patient and friendly and made me feel super comfortable, even when I was laying on a table with my shirt half-off so that he could tattoo me.
The pain wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. From everything I’ve heard about tattoos that are on/near/around the rib cage, coupled with my pretty minimal pain tolerance, I expected to be bawling and cursing as I got this piece done. It still really fucking hurt. Like, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I definitely overprepared. The tattoo probably took about 20 minutes to complete and I cursed a lot and made some growling noises and clenched my teeth and kept wiggling my feet inside my ballet flats — but I didn’t cry or yell or do any of the things I thought I would. That means I can maintain my record of saying I’ve never cried while getting a tattoo. Perfect.
Anyway, despite deciding not to go to Hobo’s to get my tattoo, I ended up there anyway. Chelsea, after much convincing and calming and serious discussion, decided to get her nipples pierced. As a late birthday gift, I paid for one — according to my best friend since childhood, that means Chelsea is obligated to name said nipple after me. I vote she just names it Betty instead, since that’s pretty babely.
(For anyone wondering, her boobs are great and her nipple piercings are great and she is a total babe. Wow, Chelsea. Wow.)
After Chelsea took the plunge and got her nips done, we headed down to Flatbread to share some pizza before going home. Chelsea’s adrenaline rush made her sleepy and not-hungry, while mine made me absolutely starving. I practically inhaled my portion of the pizza. (We ordered one that was half non-dairy, since Chelsea is vegan, and the first one we got was all non-dairy. Our server insisted that we get a new pizza for free, even though I said it was okay and not necessary. The people at that restaurant are so cool. Seriously.)
When we left Flatbread, we were pretty stoked to go home. It had been a good (and traumatic, in a sense) night and we were ready to leave Portsmouth and head back. Obviously, that means something had to go wrong, since the rest of the night had gone swimmingly. Obviously.
We got to the parking lot and my car, with its brand new Hazza vanity plates, was gone.
My first thought? He’d been towed. Obviously. There were signs everywhere about towing and parking is a pain in the ass. I immediately burst into tears, yelled about the cost of picking up a towed car, and called my mom sobbing uncontrollably. Apparently, my mom thought I’d said my car had been totalled — she was rather relieved when she figured out that I only said it had been towed. I couldn’t find a number on a sign anywhere to call, so she told me to call the police dispatch and figure everything out. She also told me that if they didn’t know where my car was, I needed to report it missing. My phone was dying (of course), so I quickly told my partner and my friend that I’d been texting all night, called the cops, called the towing company, and turned off my phone.
The guy at the company told me I needed to give them a half hour of notice before I went to pick up my car… So I did that. Then I pulled $200 out of my bank account (thank the goddess I got paid yesterday, and made a little extra commission on my last paycheck, or I would have been royally screwed), called a taxi, and Chelsea and I headed to the address the guy gave me. There was a CVS across the street, so we went inside to ask for a bathroom (Chelsea had to pee!) and to buy unscented, antibacterial soap (to clean my new tattoo!).
Apparently, no customers are allowed in that CVS’ bathroom after nightfall? Comforting.
The tow truck guy had made me believe my car was not at the actual garage, but elsewhere. So Chelsea and I sat on the sidewalk for a long time, bitching about everything. I started laughing hysterically at one point because I didn’t know what else to do and crying felt useless. We kept talking about how even though everything sucked, last night would make a great story some day. (Remember the time I got a tattoo and you got your nipples pierced and then Hazza got towed? Good times, dude.)
Finally, when it became apparent that the tow truck guy was taking his sweet fucking time to come give me my car, Chelsea wandered off to find a place to pee. Shortly after she left my side, she yelled, “Sam! I found your car!” Sure enough, Hazza was sitting right behind a massive truck that was blocking him in. So basically, we were waiting for this guy to show up and move the truck so that we could leave. Lovely.
We decided to sit in my car after that, and we both charged our phones and I called my mom and my partner and just felt a lot better about things overall. The guy showed up about two hours after I had called to give my half hour warning. He blamed it on some hockey player needing his car towed up to Canada, but. Really? Like I understand we’re at your mercy, but dude. We just wanted to fucking go home.
When I finally got home, my parents had made me comfort food and gave me hugs and told me it was okay and I started crying again because I was so relieved… Meanwhile, Chelsea went home and put on a sports bra and made her nipples very, very happy to not be rubbing against the material of her dress as she walked around parts of Portsmouth with her distraught friend who’d gotten the car towed.
It was a fucking terrible night in so many ways but it was also fucking fantastic. I will never park in that space again. But I’m also pretty pissed at the guy who reported my car being in that spot — apparently, it was reserved until 7 p.m. And he called the towing company at 6:20 p.m. Thanks.
At least I’m totally, totally in love with my tattoo, though. Spending an extra $200 to get it wasn’t really in the plan, but. Shit happens, I guess. I’m just glad Chelsea was there to bitch with me in the dark.