Monday, February 2, 2009

Baton Rouge IV: The 100 Blogs Score

I had been contemplating leaving Baton Rouge today, right up until I had a conversation with my host that decided for me.

Kismet, for those of you who don't know, is something like fate. Literally, it means "the will of Allah" but we have adopted it to the common usage of fate or fortune.

Kismet, she's my constant companion. She warms my days with coincidences that once strange are now commonplace, though only by frequency. Though I am no longer surprised by her, I am continually delighted. There are certain things, like books, continually appear in my life through suggestion or as the possessions of my hosts.

One such book is 'Flowers for Algernon' which in sum is about a retarded adult who, thanks to an experiment, gains great intelligence and then loses it just as quickly. Hopefully Kismet isn't trying to tell me anything with this one. This is actually due to the propensity for a certain type of person to host Couch Surfers. It's virtually a kit that people get some random smattering of. One copy 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,' one copy of a book by Elie Wiesel, one copy of a book by Bill Bryson, something from either Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, a banjo, one copy 'Three cups of tea,' 'Flowers for Algernon.'

Even knowing this, some things are just too unlikely to be true. I've been thinking for a while now that I wanted to get tattoos of little wings on my feet. Hermes, the Greek God of Travel, Sportsman and Border Crossings, wears sandals with wings and it seemed a fitting offering to an icon of what has given me so much. I tried twice while I was in New Orleans but was unsuccessful both times due to various reasons.

Although I was getting ready mentally to leave this morning, something in me nagged to ask, "Are there any good tattoo shops around?"

"Umm, yeah, one or two I think. What were you thinking of getting?" asked Sarah one of my hosts. I told her the plan. Sarah and A, her boyfriend, exchanged a glance.

"That's weird, tell him," A said to Sarah.

"I wanted the same thing." She said. She had just finished her first half-marathon and had been thinking about it for some time as had I. If we hadn't met I may have gone all the way to California never stopping to get my desired tattoo and she may have gone on months or years as well. First I think you'd have to understand how unlikely this was. If you google search some image as a tattoo, you'll find tons of images, of this, I found two. It's extremely uncommon.

None of the tattoo artists seemed to have heard of anything like it and they would sometimes come over to look and see how it was turning out. T, my artist, said that he thought it was a pretty cool idea and also mentioned, in relation to the walk, that he thought the world needed more people doing things like me. Some other patrons gave me a donation.

Honestly, when I woke up this morning I was thinking, "IIIIIIIIIIt's Grooooundhog's Day!" from that old Bill Murray flick where the day repeats over and over again and there's nothing he can do about it. Groundhog's Day has other somber implications as well that I won't go into but needless to say it isn't something I was looking forward to. I was thinking that with heading West into the desserts of Texas and the Southwest, "IIIIIIIIIIt's Grooooundhog's Day!" was exactly what I was going to be thinking many a camped morning in the middle, to slightly left, of nowhere, but Kismet, she's whispering sweet nothings and telling me it isn't to be so. It seems like there's a lot more up her ancient sleeve than even I expected.

2/2 Tat2

Afterwards we went and watched 'The Wrestler' and so the day turned into a long festival of ritualized self destruction capped off nicely by fried chicken and pizza. Tomorrow I do head west towards Lafayette on my newly christened ankles and singing Paul Simon the whole way, "Well Imma standin' on a corner in Lafayette, State of Louisiana, wonderin' what a city boy could do . . . "

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