As the weeks keep rolling toward the arrival of our second child, I can’t help wonder what the future holds as our family of three grows into four. I’ve read articles, talked to people whose parenting styles I respect and speculated endlessly but still have no clue how #2 will turn out. And how his almost-3-year-old brother will handle his arrival.
I don’t sleep as well as I used to and frequently when I wake up in the middle of the night I look to the glowing beacon beside me for comfort. (You might refer to said beacon as my iPhone.) A few weeks ago, on a night that my bladder cursed me for drinking tea before bed, I found myself awake at 3:52am. As I laid in bed, trying to fall asleep, the antidote to my uncertainty suddenly appeared in a form I never expected. An email from LivingSocial.
The subject nonchalantly said “1-hour Psychic Reading” and when I opened the message to find a price of $13 at a place very close by, I knew it had to be the answer. So I bought it right then, for I didn’t want to miss out on this rare opportunity that must have come direct from the online coupon gods to assuage me.
Weeks went by and I was still stressed out. What seemed like a great idea when I bought it now made me nervous to actually redeem. The whole thing seemed kind of spooky, actually. But if she was a psychic surely she had greater insight into the workings of the future or my brain or something. When I got an email reminder to use it or lose it, I called to make an appointment. As you might expect, the recording told me to go to the psychic’s website and book my appointment there.
With precious few slots open, I grabbed one and eagerly waited for all of life’s mysteries to be revealed to me. On the day of the appointment, I left my office at a quarter til 5:00, knowing that it would only take 10 minutes to get there for my spot at the top of the hour. When I pulled into the strip mall parking lot, I realized that I’d driven by this place a million times. How had I never noticed the psychic nook in the corner? Probably because I was focused on the pizza place in the middle.
I nervously entered the bungalow at the end of the parking lot. I looked at the woman. She looked at me. My heart was racing. Then she asked me a question that put everything into perspective.
“Do you have an appointment?”
Ummm, wasn’t she supposed to be psychic? How could I trust her to tell me about the future when she didn’t even know why I was there? I reluctantly sat in the chair opposite her.
She looked at me and asked what I wanted to know about. Strike 2. I assumed this was her wheelhouse, but she had to ask? While I contemplated asking her to predict the World Series champion, instead I suggested discussing my career. While staring through me, she gave a few vague comments that pretty much anyone off the street could have. If my career was currently headed toward a Zuckerberg-esque ascent, I probably wouldn’t be there. She told me that things weren’t great for me now, but would improve if I was patient and assertive. Was she a psychic or a high school guidance counselor?
She looked to a shelf beside her and pulled out a Ziploc sandwich bag filled with green crystals. On it was a white address-label sticker with the word “career” written on it. She told me to take a hot bath two nights in a row and use half the bag in it each night. She also mentioned that she normally charged people $50 for these crystals, but wouldn’t charge me. I’m not a psychic or anything, but something about that sounded fishy. And when I say something, I mean everything.
I noticed that approximately every 30 seconds during our session, she would break her stare and gaze downward reflectively. Perhaps that is where her true insight into my chakras came from. Like how Fernando Valenzuela used to look to the sky while pitching, instead of at the hitter or catcher.
While she spoke, I noticed she was holding something orange in her hand and twirling it within her palm. I assumed that it must be some sort of magic trinket. My eyes bounced around the room to see if I could figure out what it was. I saw shrines with stones and statues like I’d never seen before. I saw jars of crystals and bottles of elixirs. Then in the corner I saw a flat-screen TV with an XBOX below it. Perhaps part of her inspiration came from playing Grand Theft Auto.
She asked me what else I wanted to know and I was at a loss. So many things I’d worried about late at night and my mind was suddenly blank. I should have written them down in advance. It’s not like I’m psychic and expected to forget.
I asked if Mrs. Dude’s pregnancy would be OK and was assured it would. I asked if the Little Dude should go to school this year and she replied “of course!” Though both of those responses really seemed more of a Jewish grandmother-type than psychic, from what I know.
Finally, at 22 past the hour, she thanked me for coming and wished me well. I told her that I thought it was an hour long session and she said it was. She also said that I’d arrived at a quarter-til, which was obviously not accurate as that’s when I left my office. I assumed that space and time were part of the quantum nature of her art (science?), but she couldn’t even calculate an hour correctly.
As I stood to leave, not too thrilled by the future that had been predicted, I saw the object of her frequent downward gaze. A freakin’ Blackberry. Not only could she not communicate through space and time, she needed 4G to talk to her friends. And that shiny orange object in her hand: a clear plastic lighter like you’ve seen for sale on every gas station counter ever.
So her secret helpers were not mystical beings or spirits, but rather butane and Verizon. Not quite as mysterious as I’d hoped for.
As I drove away, I still wondered what the future held for my family. And was now $13 poorer for having tried to find out in advance.
Have you ever had an experience with a Psychic? What was it like?