January 10, 1998

Last night the news channels were rife with predictions for snow, snow, and then more snow later in the week. So when I got up, it was with the understanding that if it started to snow that I should get home when I could. It is something about Seattle, that the whole city shuts down and people go as crazy with their driving as folks in LA do when the rain comes down. If not more so.

Anyway, it was clear and brilliantly sunny when I got up, and John and I had breakfast and then I went to meet Samba in Redmond, to pick her up and bring her with me to meet Fallen Angel, Sev, and Cowgirl. As Samba wasn't there yet when I got to the meeting place, I just basked in the sunshine, soaking up the warmth from inside my car. Outside it was just frigid. We arrived at the Beyond the Edge cafe about fifteen minutes early. So just browsed through the shops next door and I found a copy of Ursula Le Guin's translation of the Tao Te Ching. It's very different than the texts I'm used to, but really does a better job of capturing some of the ambiguities and new possibilities for reflection that the old text had in its native language.

I loved the bits I was able to read as we sat on the front couches and waited for the others to arrive.

On the MUSH that I know Angel on I play a predominantly male character, and while I had told her that I had green-blue hair and a trenchcoat and was Asian, I hadn't really disabused her of any ideas about me, so when she walked in, I saw her, recognized her nearly immediately from her description of herself, and then she turned to look at me. She peered, I smiled mildly and then she said, "I see green hair, but..."

That's when I grinned at her and she grinned back and we hugged hard. That was very good. So we sat and waited for Shaterri, who never showed up at the Cafe (we later decided that the Lag Monster had eaten him right up, turned out that he'd just completely forgotten about the meeting, and at least three of us had seen him on the mush that morning and could have pinged him but just hadn't thought he'd needed it). If you get a chance to go to the Beyond the Edge Cafe, do so, it's got absolutely fantastic food, and an interesting ambiance, especially if you're into the S&M type scene. *chuckle*

The conversation was great, the food was great, and the company was fun, and, eventually, we wandered over to Broadway and wandered down it, window shopping and thinking and talking and, well, freezing. Seattle gets really cold when it's clear out, and with the wind, it was just numbing various extremities. The Pink Zone was where the more experienced ladies had picked out for piercing stuff, and so we went in. It turned out that they didn't have any appointments until 5pm, and when the lady asked me if I wanted it I hesitated and Angel piped up cheerfully, "You want it." So I laughed and told the lady, yes, indeed I wanted it, set down the ten dollar deposit and then found out that they'd run out of the gold ring that they said I wanted for the tragus.

Hrm... I have no idea if anyone reading this might squick at piercings or needle thingys. Uhm... if so, you can jump to here.

I didn't want to mess with surgical steel because I'd had some problems with some of it, though I had no idea of the nickel or other ingredients in that particular steel I'd had problems with, so, instead, they sent us off with the knowledge that The Stranger magazine had ads for other piercers in the area that would also have good jewelry for the piercing.

The tragus is that little nub of cartilage right in front of your ear channel. It's small, and on some people fairly thick so the Pink Zone recommended a 3/8 in diameter ring with 18 gauge wire, the thickness of the wire so that the piercing wouldn't close, the size of the ring had to be small enough to fit into the area and large enough to give a straight enough shaft through the piercing to accommodate any swelling that would go on.

So the ring needed to be the right size. My appointment wasn't until 5pm, and we wandered through a few music shops, the mall on Broadway and a few other places and then walked a ways further to Sev's place, where we gratefully warmed up, accessed Web stuff a little, looked for Shaterri on-line, and then called the shops to find out jewelry prices. The one place that answered said that he wouldn't sell me a piece until he looked at where it was going to go. So we went there.

Cowgirl was kind above and beyond the call of duty and did all the driving and parking necessary to get us everywhere and back on time because parking on Broadway is just insane. The piercing guy at the shop took one look at my tragus and said that the 3/8ths inch ring was going to be way too big, and so sold me the one that was a size down, and cheaper to boot. I thanked him a lot, and then we went back to the Pink Zone where the girl at the front counter said that the piercer wasn't going to do it with a smaller ring, but then went back with a huff to talk with the piercer.

I talked with Angel at that point and realized that if the piercer decided to do it or not do it without ever even *looking* at my ear, I was going to get out of there and leave the ten dollar deposit. I didn't mind paying ten dollars to know that I was going to get it done right. I thought I'd have a better chance with the guy that sold me the ring, if this piercer wasn't even going to look.

She came and looked. She protested a bit, saying that the ring size was necessary to accommodate the swelling, but... after another look, she declared it feasible, but there would be no guarantee that it would work.

Angel went in with me, and I did all the paperwork, got a good look at not only the setup but the wallpapering of certifications by the Gauntlet and settled in happily. All the equipment that I'd been taught should be there was there, and the lady was talking me through everything in solid detail. I was definitely in good hands, and so sat back and absorbed care instructions and what it was she was going to do.

With the inner ear piercing, she had a catching tube held at the back, to catch the point of the needle after it went into the tragus, so that it wouldn't poke anything else. Then, after the needle was in, she took the jewelry and as she pulled the needle through, followed the shaft of the needle with the shaft of the jewelry, put the jewelry in place and then closed it. Everything was sterilized beforehand, she had gloves on, and the area was well sterilized as well beforehand.

I happily wrapped my hand about Angel's as we did all this, partially because it seemed like a fun thing to share with her, as Angel is into all this. I have fun sharing things with people that like them. The piercer had me breath in deeply twice and breath out slowly and on the third breath the needle went in. It actually hurt less than the needles for my pherisis donations, and it was just a light pinching feeling while the needle was held in place by the tube as she got the jewelry. When the ring went in there was actually a relief of any pain, and after she finished fiddling to get it closed, no pain at all, other than a very, very low level ache, less than my bruises from soccer.

I'd heard some horror stories about tragus piercings from Flynn, so I was very happy that it was as clean and quick and painless as it was.

When I looked in the mirror, it was very keen, a gleaming gold ring hung in parallel to the one from my ear lobe, and it was exactly small enough to fit in the hollow of my ear from the point it was placed. I think that if I'd gotten the 3/8th inch one, it would have been too big, or the piercing would have had to be significantly higher, which I don't think would have looked as neat as it does now. As it is, I think it's perfect. *grin*

So I have another hole in my head.

Cowgirl dropped Samba and I off by the Range Rover and we all hugged each other goodbye as the other three were going to be going to the Catwalk in leather and latex and Samba and I weren't... uhm... equipped to do so and Samba really wasn't into the clubbing scene, and while I was still happily floating and keenly alert on the endorphines of the piercing, I knew I was also tired. So I drove Samba back to her car and we parted for our homes.

For most of the way back to Samba's car I was giggly and bouncy and happy with doing something I'd been thinking of doing for years, and that it had been done without too much effort on my part, just flowing with what was, and it was done. It was so keen, and had come out so beautifully. So I was burbling the whole way back, eventhough Samba was very quiet, and I kept apologizing until she just laughed and said that there was absolutely no need to apologize to her as she didn't mind my enthusiasm one bit. That's about when I realized that it was a holdover from always felling like I was babblingly meaninglessly to Mark when I was happy and he was quiet. I am going to beat this stupid feeling...

Since lunch was so late I wasn't terribly hungry, yet, and John wasn't that hungry, either, so I decided to go ahead and roast the fresh chicken that I'd bought Friday and we watched hockey as it was roasting and filling the house with its scent. The wood stove had a fire roaring in it, and it was *still* cold in the dining room. So I bundled up a bit and settled in. The chicken turned out marvelous, juicy, tender and crisp of skin. Stuffing and peas made up the rest of the meal and we enjoyed it to the second game of Hockey Night in Canada's doubleheader.

A nice way to spend the evening.

And all through it was that laughter bubbling up in the back of my brain that I'd *done* something lovely and irreversible and that it marked me as different now from what I was before. Which was a good thing.

As I am different now than I was before.

So there.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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