Answering calls from complaining customers is like being emotionally drowned every day of the week. So every break I have, I walk out the door to light up a cigarette.
I know many smokers like to talk, as if smoking is some sort of community event that binds people together. But I want to be left alone to contemplate, to mediate the complainers away with each puff of smoke.
Sadly, as I was sitting down and entering the meditative state, one of the nameless work colleagues decided to sit beside me to begin her smoldering away with me.
She had a large black tattoo of New Zealand on her forearm, colored in black. Before she can begin the predictable small talk, I asked her about her tattoo. Not because I like tattoos, because I don’t, but I find small talk almost as annoying as the call center complainers. Most people like to talk about themselves a lot so all I need to is listen. Which, in my book, is preferable to talking plus I enjoy many of the stories people share.
She is happy to talk about her tattoo.
She describes the tattoo parlor as being associated with the local “White” gang, some kind of outcast types who dislike gay people a lot. Although they have recently cleaned up their act since the government legalized prostitution as brothels earn big money legally.
She said “You know the type? Skinheads, steel caps, leathers and muscle bikes”. I just smile and nod.
I once lived in a city where every second idiot was getting a tattoo. Although I was shocked at hearing extreme swearwords on the radio. Sure, the city I lived in had a tattoo mania going on but they spoke proper like. Not like here when the radio gets turned on and swearwords abound without a public outcry to be heard.
But I digress. She was still talking, I should be listening.
“There was this terrible news story about a man being sexually assaulted. I mean, how many men would go to the police about stuff like that?” she asked.
I think I missed parts of her story.
Smile and nod.
“Anyway, it turns out the dude who did the assault on the other dude is the dude doing my tattoo.”
I really am not sure what to think about that.
“He was awaiting trial when he did my tattoo. But he was a nice dude and his work is really good.”
I take a deep take on my smoke. I think listening to other people’s stories just became more stressful than small talk.
“Anyway,” she says “a few weeks after he did my tatt he commits suicide so he could avoid the trial. But I think he did it because the idea of going to jail and people knowing what he did would mean more misery for him than his victim.”
I agree. And good riddance either way.
I draw the last out of my cigarette, stand up and say “That is an interesting story”.
“Yeah it is, isn’t it” she answers back proudly.
I walk back inside to face the call center complainers, I don’t feel like going back but it is better than listening to the tattoo lady for any longer.
I mean, if I had a story like that, I wouldn’t share it with pride but some people do.
If I was her, I would scratch the tattoo off to remove his stain from my skin, not brag about the person who did it being a sicko.
Written by Rodney Goodall
Owner of NibbleReads