5:11 AM

Waking up disturbed is new for me.

Right now I got issues. These issues are issues because I am not sleeping well. I am not sleeping well because my brain is choosing to lockpick my consciousness while I am at my most vulnerable.

Having thoughts demand attention before a first coffee makes me wish I could just roll back over into slumber.

And avoid.

And lockdown, and recompartmentalize.

But I am not that guy.

Awake equals awareness of self, plus activation of senses, multiplied by external stimuli, exponentialized by the training that there is no way back to slumber.

It is a loop and a routine.

Moving slowly and silently downstairs, the vaxxed ache in my left arm surprises me. My grip on the handrail softens slightly.

Throbby thunder from sudden muscle activation starts distant then rolls up to my temple. It pauses briefly over my left ear and comes to rest at the base of my skull.

That seat of pain is entirely familiar. Sleep apnea can deposit tension there also.

Next choice is a BEDMAS of options. Is it caffeine, toilet, advil, breakfast, then social media? Or SMCATB?

Funny though, the skittish sensation reminds me that I can make good decisions when I need to.

The process of getting boosted was simple with a caveat. I had to commute an hour away for the soonest possible jab. It seems like an hour each way to stand in a line for 2 hours is more reasonable then staying local, travelling less, but not having any assurance that an appointment would be available before mid January.

Maybe perspective helps with the meaning making of this trip. The difference geographically changes the view. It rewrites the OS just enough to give me the satisfaction of taking care of my wellness in a very specific way.

But that’s it. I am now three doses into my own private pandemic. The marathon is over, for now.

The fresh tattoo on my right arm rumbles under a tight artificial skin of dermawrap- a covering designed to treat severe burns. On previous works, I left the studio with no more than a cheery abstract, ‘Keep it clean.’ Now, the constancy of care statements are overwhelming sometimes.

I imagine the complexities of navigating the afterwards of a great tattoo experience, where obvious client irresponsibility is blame gaming the artist. The dermawrap is emblematic of the broader suite of tools meant to protect their art form from mistreatment and to protect humans from themselves.

I may be able to remove the second skin today. I know that there will be fresh feels from this.

When people ask me, ‘Is it painful to get a tattoo?‘ I immediately answer ‘Yes.’

The quickness of my response disarms people. I get the sense that a bubble has been burst.

To keep the moment from log jamming I always follow-up with the soft provocation, ‘But not in the way you might be used to.

Like waking up disturbed and well rested simultaneously.

My second cup of coffee starts to loosen up the knots in my neck. Leaning over the laptop, I start to think about actual versus potential pain and the endearment that I make of it.

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