Thursday, February 18, 2016

Failure to Communicate

Emma and I were eating our breakfast yesterday and I told her I was thinking about "firing" my tattoo artist.


"Because he keeps missing his deadlines and I always have to contact him after the fact to find out.  I want him to contact me!"  And that reminded me.  "Now that I think about it, I'm bummed that the lady hasn't responded to my email to set up a time to hear you sing."

I started looking into private voice lessons for Emma.  Leslie and I had inquired a couple years ago and gotten a few names, and had been told that really 12 is a good starting point for that sort of thing.  So we started looking...and then all hell broke loose and we stopped.  But I was talking to a guy at work about his daughter (heavily involved in musical theater) and it reminded me. 

So I contacted this woman about having Emma, now 13, sing for her and then seeing if we could set something up in the Summer when Emma's schedule clears out a bit. 

"Why don't people want to talk to you," she asked?

"I don't know!  I mean...I'm super charming over the phone."

"Maybe...maybe you're not as charming as you think you are."

"H-how DARE you!"

"Dad, maybe you have communication issues."

Maybe I do.  My tattoo guy reached out to me after the second slipped deadline in response to my "concerned" email.  Apologetic.  I fired him.  His response to my concern was three options.  1)  keep the schedule as is...he would work tirelessly to complete the design by the date (next week), 2)  move the date out to the SECOND date we set up (about four weeks from now) and start the process, or 3) refund the deposit and tell the shop he couldn't hit my deadline. 

And I opted for "3)".  And told him to let me know the best way to collect the deposit.  He said he'd contact the shop and let me know.  But instead he wrote a butthurt email about my decision making process and how health matters were out of his control, and, though I sympathized, I agreed and told him that I'm not penalizing him for his health, I'm penalizing him for his communication.  I laid it all out in 4 items.  It was a long response.  It's just business.  I was starting to get cold feet with him.  Starting to get nervous.  I really want this to be a good experience.  Also...lotsa money.  Anyway...I haven't yet heard back about how I'm to retrieve my deposit, but I'm thinking at this point, and after my last response (despite indicating I have no ill will toward him or the shop) he's probably just going to blow me off and I'll have wasted $100.


I don't want to let this project die.  I have decided that I will write up a "scope of work" complete with pictures, and send it to a few artists around the city and see what they say.  I have maybe a dozen or so names.  This starting over from scratch thing is a real pain in the ass.  I had a really good feel for my vision of how this was going to look, and I thought it had been communicated to the artist as well.  And I guess it had.  He just didn't start work on it until a week before the appointment. tattoo next week, but I'm still doing it. send a followup email to the voice instructor...


  1. LOL - You do realize tattoo artists are artists? Scheduling, follow through and rule following probably aren't the top of their skill set - hence their choice of career. Think of them more like you think of Lily and how she works on a different wave length, then maybe you won't take it so personally. Or maybe this is sign that you shouldn't get that tattoo ;)

  2. Perhaps the events were serendipitous. People can sometimes choose others that match their mood, without even thinking about it. The artist may have sensed something in you that made him hang off the process. Psychologists do this all the time. We know that a person will show clues to their true feelings in their words, tone and body language. There may have been something that made him hold back, and judging by your choice, he may have been right to do so. A tattoo seems pretty permanent and, although there can be no doubt to your love and devotion to Leslie, how would Leslie feel about you getting a tattoo for her? Do you somehow communicate some apprehension that the tattoo artist detected? Artistic types are often intuitive.

    It is not that anyone doubts your devotion to Leslie, but how would Leslie feel about you putting a permanent mark on yourself to remind others you loved her? Would she feel it is an honor, or unnecessary? Would she think it is a tribute, or a way of putting a wall up in front of everyone you ever meet in the future that says, "Leslie will always be first, and you can only hope for second" to any future wife? What if Leslie knows something you don't.

    Just something to think about. No opinion one way or another, but, I will say, you may be actually communicating more than you realize. And so may the tattoo artist.

  3. If you're in the SF Bay Area I know of a great, responsive tattoo artist.