So Ken and I are on our first real vacation since before covid. Three years ago, it was our 30th anniversary and we’d booked a cruise to the Baltics. It had always been my dream to see the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, but all of that got canceled, and considering current events, I doubt we’ll ever be going to Russia before I die. So three years later, here we are doing a Mediterranean cruise with stops in France, Italy, and Spain. Notice the Oxford comma there? I’m obliged to point it out because recently Ken had a pretty brutal argument with some graveyard monument people when he insisted that his father’s grave marker should read Beloved Father of Ken, Karen, and Bruce because the monument people don’t like the Oxford comma and wanted to give the impression that Ken’s siblings were actually a couple, like “Ken, Karen and Bruce”. An argument ensued but Ken was triumphant after the funeral lady just muttered “Whatever. It’s your funeral.” Anyway, we’re now on vacation and I’m trying to write this on my phone with limited wifi so excuse the formatting errors. We arrived in Barcelona and checked into Roommate Pau which, unbeknown to us was next to a construction site. We kind of complained but the concierge offered me free wine, and the beds were so comfortable after 10 hours on planes that I was just like, “I’ll drink until I can’t hear the jackhammers.” And I did. Then the next day we got on a bus and did an all day tour of Barcelona. It’s an amazing city, full of cool architecture. And tattoo parlours.
So here’s what happened. Ken and I were having dinner at a tapas restaurant. It was a gorgeous evening, and we were sitting outside on the sidewalk patio. Suddenly I noticed a woman come out of the storefront next to us and she was sporting a new tattoo, and you could tell it was new because it was wrapped in clear plastic, and then I realized that we were sitting next to a tattoo parlour and there was a sign in the window that said, “We take walk-ins.” And I may or may not have been drinking wine but it suddenly occurred to me that the coolest souvenir of Barcelona that I could possibly get would be a new tattoo:
Me: I want a tattoo.
Ken: What? Seriously?
Me: I’m going in to see how long it’ll take.
Ken: Uh, okay I guess?
So I went in and showed the guy a picture of a crow and he was like “Si, I can do it now. It will take 40 minutes.” And so I got a tattoo in Barcelona.
It’s a very cool, good-sized tattoo to commemorate the publication of At The End Of It All. I have tattoos for all of my books now but I have another novel coming out this summer, the sequel to The Seventh Devil, and frankly, I’m running out of real estate.
Now I’m on a boat. It’s a very large cruise ship and as I write this, we’re on our way to France. Getting out of port was hilarious, mostly because the ship had to do a 360 in order to aim the bow at the exit, and Ken and I watched, along with a lot of other people who know nothing about boats but believe they are experts:
Man 1: He’s going to hit the wall! What’s he doing? Very poor seamanship.
Woman 1: Why doesn’t he just back out? You see, if the captain was a woman, we’d already be in France.
Woman 2: Does he have to keep blowing the horn like that?! It’s so loud!
Needless to say, the captain, whom I assume has done this type of thing many times, managed to get us turned around and off to sea without having to back up his big ass cruise ship, without hitting any walls, and with the requisite amount of horn blowing. We’re off to France, as I said, then Italy and back to Barcelona. Maybe if we arrive early, I can get another tattoo.