I can spot a good tattoo (and a bad one) from across the car, and immediately, my eyes are drawn. I analyze, I wonder about the person on which it's drawn, I compare it to their clothes, and their hair, and decide if it "suits" them. I sometimes even wonder what tattoos people are hiding. I can't help but to think that all those yuppies in sports-coats have to have a tattoo or two, or many, hidden under their pressed collars. Bad tribal from a late-teenage beach trip? The name of a girlfriend who has since dumped them? Perhaps even something beautiful that they are not at all ashamed of, like a flower that reminds them of their grandmother, or a cross that reminds them of their savior. Maybe they just have it in a discreetly hidden place.
Either way, I can't stop looking at those you can see. If it's visible, I'm gonna look at it. If you have a tattoo on an open area, be prepared, because chances are, I'm staring your way when you walk through the doors of an F-train (or an A-train, or a 6-train, whatever I happen to be riding).
All of this tattoo-gazing has caused me to start recognizing people. I saw a blue star-design on this girl's foot that I KNOW I've seen before, and I looked up, to see a forearm tattoo that I immediately realized belonged to my upstairs neighbor. The more staring I do, the more I start to notice things I've seen before.
Once, I was riding the E-train with a friend up the west side, and I couldn't stop staring at this tattoo that was barely poking out from someone's shirt. I wanted to find out what the rest of it was. What else was hidden behind that black t-shirt sleeve? Only then, did I realize that it was in-fact, my friend's new tattoo that he hadn't bothered to show me yet.
I really think I might have an addiction.
One of my favorite mindless pastimes is to google "bad tattoos" and see what happens. I shall show you a few examples:
All that to say, if ever you are in New York, and you've forgotten to bring a book on a long subway-trek, look around you, you're bound to find some entertaining body-art to keep your mind going.