Tattoo you can't feel

„The Brain is beautiful in not remembering it.“

Hi Martin, I have to ask a classic question, how did it happen?

We used to go to Rock Cafe after school. It was 11pm and I missed my train, so I tried hitchhiking. My brain is beautiful in not remembering the accident. I came to know the details from the police note only. It was a stolen car with a drunk driver with no license. It was December, so we skidded and crashed into a tree. I was lucky enough to fly out of the car window, because the front of the car ended up in a mess. I was n a coma for a month after that with six crushed

What about the driver?

He ended up with a concussion, but he was careless– he didn’t even show up to the court so I never saw him again. I don’t even need that. What would I say to him?

When they wake you up from the come, you experience the best trip of your life, cuz you are high on the best of opiates. Crazy dreams. When I woke up, the first thing I was into was to get a wheelchair so I didn’t have to stay in the hospital. The most important thing is to learn how to dress up by yourself and how to get to the wheelchair from the bed, otherwise you have to be back in the hospital very early due to lights out, and you wanna have a beer in a pub at the same time, you know.

What's it like to get drunk in the wheelchair

You look sober, but it’s all in your head. I guess smokin’ weed is the best anyway. I don't do extasy anymore, cuz I couldn't handle it. You have got so much energy, you wanna move, but you just can’t. When I come back from the festival after few days partyin' in the chair, my legs lift themselves on their own when I get to the bed. There's nothing I can do about it, just to wait 'till it stops. CBD helps me a lot to relax my muscles, it’s much better than taking regular medicine.

In a month, it will be my 18th year in the wheelchair.

Didn’t you ever want to lecture about it?

We did a lot in the past, mainly school during summer 'cuz of people jumping into the water. I also worked with mentally disabled people and then I started to enjoy workin' at a bar.

So you work at no barrier pub?

No, It’s a regular pub, they just pull me up the stairs and I just do my job there. There's the logo of the bar tattooed on my back.

Do you have any accident-related tattoo?

Ye, It was the first one. It’s a character with a wrapped head, with a gun and no legs. The meaning is „surviving my death“. To be honest, I wanted that since I was 15, but that character used to have legs back then. Other than that, I’m not really into meaningful tattoos. For example, I have nurse tattoos cuz I admire them for what they do.

One tattoo of yours was done with a sewing needle…

Yeah, we got surgical needle and thread. Wanted to try it, 'cuz I saw aboriginal tribes doin’ that with a bone-made needle. I made a needle out of chicken bone, but we used that surgical one in the end. (laugh) You soak the thread in ink and you just sew through the skin, the only difference is there's no knot. It’s that dagger tattoo I have on my left breast.

But you felt this tattoo, right?

Yes, this one I did.

How is tattooing your legs, which you don’t feel?

I don’t feel anything from breasts down, so I can't feel anything in my legs at all. The thing is, nerves in legs are still there, so it gets cramps immediately. You need a lot of power to hold it and patient tattooer too. This killer whale I got tattooed in America. My sister had to hold my leg, I held my thigh and the tattooer had to push it a lot too. Coloring is ok, you only have to be careful with healing 'cuz of bad blood perfusion.

What about this Jesus tattoo?

We were drunk, thinkin' about the most stupid tattoo you can get. My friend is a tattooer so we went straight to the tattoo studio and that's how my Jesus playin' basketball on the cross was born. My girlfriend doesn’t like that. You have a wheelchair logo on your hand… It’s just 'cause you always need to show your card when you park at a handicapped parking lot, so I just thought it’s gonna be easier.

269 vegan?

I was vegetarian since I was 15, and then 3 years vegan. Doctors told me, that my spine could end up better if I ate meat, they like it you know. The truth is I started to eat meat cuz it’s easier for me in the hospital, because you are not offered many options. They have no will to make that better. I order salads a lot, cause you can't get any veggies here. Before I got here I didn’t eat meat for 5 years.

You got tattooed in America, how is it to travel in a wheelchair over there?

All good, I flew alone, they put you into a plane as the first one, but you leave last. You sit next to people, regular seat, you only can’t get to the toilet so you get a sack.

I was sitting next to the window, watching my wheelchair falling during loading the
belt conveyor. America is no barrier country and you can get anywhere, it only felt weird 'cuz nobody wants to help you cuz of possible lawsuits.

Can you say how did it all change you?

I see life in a different light. I still party, but I see many things differently, especially people. There are no limits for me, I go anywhere I want I and do what I wish.

text & photo : TerkaTetris // follow @martinsyslo