One day about eight years ago while walking down the sidewalk, I decided to start believing in magic, astrology, and all the things that can’t be explained with rational discourse. I figured it would make life more exciting to believe the dude with the top hat actually just sawed his arm off, or the full moon would make people go crazy, or that the person who cut me off will soon drive into a reservoir and be punished for his behavior. However, I soon talked myself out of it because I am apparently not programmed to believe in anything I can’t touch, smell, or lick. And that’s pretty much how my life has been, just walking around and calling bullshit on everything people say. But today I decided to take a step back from that and put that nagging voice in the back of my mind that says at all times “this is fucking stupid this is fucking stupid” on hold, and go see a psychic.
I spent my morning like a goddamn hippy: I walked to the organic juice bar to enjoy the cool weather and sunshine while listening to the Midwest Real podcast. So, I was in a pretty spacey mood. My buddy Mike was speaking with Liam Wilson and they were getting pretty out there. There was talk of shamans, plants singing in the same key, meditation, shit like that. Now, this is where my mind would usually toss a big BS stamp on it, but I told myself to shut up. “These guys have researched this and thought about this a lot,” I told myself. “Why don’t you give it a chance fer chrissakes?” This was the mindstate I was in when I happened upon a sign that said “Psychic Readings $10.” I shrugged my shoulders, stuck my iPod in my pocket, and walked in.
I didn’t know what to expect. I was almost expecting it to be like a doctor’s office, with a waiting room in front where you sit and read magazines until they let you go in the back. If Zoltar from Big had a full body and a bedroom, that’s what I thought it would look like. Those fancy rugs with the tassels on the end, incense burning, maybe a lava lamp or something, velvet shit hanging around, stuff like that. Sadly, this was not the case. It was essentially just a tiny room with a sign that listed the services and their prices. To the right was a little room as big as a closet and straight in front was the door to the back, which I imagined at the time to have a warehousey kind of feel (imagine a radio with a handle and an antenna sitting next to a tool box near a ping pong table). I was greeted by an energetic and friendly dog that is suspected of being a shih tzu, but I cannot confirm. An alleged shih tzu. Shortly after the dog started jumping at my legs, a woman that looked to be in her lower sixties came from the ping pong room. She asked me to state my purpose and I said, “Well, y’know, I wanted to get one of those psychic readings.” She asked which one, I didn’t understand that there were different kinds, I frantically tried to pull my head out of my ass and wipe my eyes off enough to interpret the menu in front of me and blurted “palm reading.” The hotdog with ketchup of all possible psychic readings. A classic. Good choice. She led me to the closet and made me sit uncomfortably close to her.
We sat for a moment in silence. I was wondering if there was some psychic etiquette that I was fucking up but I chose to remain quiet. She’s the psychic, after all. I was in her territory; she should take the lead. She eventually told me to put my right hand out for her to check out and we were off.
She began by complimenting me. This is always a great way to start a conversation. Why thank you, my beard appreciates the fact that your husband used to have a similar one and likes hearing nice things. And yes, my eyes are beautiful, even Stevie Wonder can see that (side note: I saw Stevie Wonder last year and he made this joke which is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard: “Even Stevie Wonder can see that ain’t right!”). While looking at my hand in front of her, she started telling me about myself. As she listed things off I was taken back by how I could see partial truths in most of the things she was saying. My bullshit alarm started going off, telling me that this is probably the same thing she tells everybody and that it is probably vague enough to partially apply to the majority of people. It also started telling me that she was just reading my reactions to the things she said and was going along tangents based on that like that doorknob that convinced people he was talking to the dead.
But I told myself to shut up and just listen. Okay, fine, this is most likely bullshit but why don’t you just believe in magic for a little bit because it’s not hurting anybody and you have some time to kill before lunch. So I swallowed my pride and drank in the psychic vibe, man. However, it didn’t help that there was a radio in the back room that was quietly, but noticeably, playing music that sounded like C&C Music Factory.
After a few minutes (I thought I’d be in and out in less than five minutes but it was actually probably around fifteen), my hand started to hurt. I was holding my right hand on my left knee with the palm turned up, which is an awkward way to position your wrist. I didn’t know if she could still bask in my palm’s chi if it wasn’t facing her and I didn’t want to harsh her buzz. But after somewhere around six minutes I decided to chance it and flip my hand over. I watched closely as I slowly flipped it but she didn’t flinch. She didn’t even stutter. I was kinda hoping she would start stumbling over her words until slapping her hands at her sides and saying, “Fuck! I lost it! Flip your hand back over!” but she didn’t. In fact, I think she took my repositioning as a sign of deep interest in my part, like I was leaning in and being like, “No shit?!?”
This happened when she started talking to me about religion. She told me that I needed to believe in something and that I had pissed off the universe. She likened me to a bum and the universe was the person with change in their pocket walking down the sidewalk. At first the universe sees me “covered in urine and vomit, stinking of whiskey” (direct quote) and is like “eww” (another direct quote), but then it chills out and gives me some bread. The universe still loves me; we’re just in a fight or something.
This is because my aura is dark and open while my chakras are closed. Apparently, I need to close my aura and open my chakras (a service she happens to provide, if you can believe my luck). The universe is salty with me because I fucked up my aura. So that sucks. If there’s one thing you don’t want to piss off, it’s everything. If everything is mad at you, you’re fucked. But oh well, I have a kick ass dog, an NES, and a smokin’ hot babe back at my apartment so I’m doing just fine living on the universe’s bad side. Bring it on, you vast, ever-present, and expanding bitch.
She talked for a long time and I said nothing more than, “yup,” “I know,” I might have slipped a “totally” in there, and I told her my name. Other than that, I was focusing on trying not to bump her knee with mine while she tried to crawl inside my mind for fifteen minutes. Even after all that talking, this was basically her point: Quit being a prick and open yourself up to things around you. And that was basically what I told myself right before I walked in there. I guess I could have just saved the ten bucks but I had to follow through with that idea instead of just accepting it. Maybe that was the way to accept it. Not that I’m going to see a magician and be like “Oh fuck that’s my fucking card!” but I’d like to try to doublethink-style talk myself into it. At the very least, just tell yourself this weird lady doesn’t just sit in a chair and lie to people all day long. That would be a really fucked up thing for a person to do. At the high school reunion like, “Oh hey Cheryl! What are you up to these days? Who, me? Oh I sit in a chair and compile speeches of bullshit that I sell to people to base their lives around. It’s really no big deal. But let’s talk about you! I see you don’t have that limp anymore!”
She has to believe it. At least a little bit. So I should just peacefully allow her the otherworldly belief and maybe even take it another step and participate in it with her. Right? Why not? The Packers don’t play until tomorrow so what else do you have going on? Nothing. That’s right. The pizza in the fridge will be just as delicious in an hour. You can wait, fatty.
So what did I learn? In the end, nothing. It was more of an exercise than a learning experience. I didn’t expect to walk out of her shop and be like “whooooaaaaaa.” I’ve talked to a psychic once before that told me I was a pirate in my last life and that my dead grandmother wanted me to tell my mom something. I probably made the jackoff motion and said something like, “Yeah, okay buddy” before crip-walking out of there. However, this time was more of an appraisal than anything else. She just wanted to tell me what was going on in my current life which seems to be a little more helpful. I can see how some people might find her talk useful and maybe even comforting. I personally didn’t take anything deep from my experience but that’s mostly due to the “this is bullshit” voice looped in my head at all times. I can’t knock her for that. She was essentially just providing advice on how to be a better person so even though I didn’t walk out of there with a new life purpose, I still feel like I didn’t waste my money.
We finally concluded our conversation, she shook my hand and told me her name was Lala, I tried not to laugh in her face, and I walked back out to Hollywood Boulevard trying to make sense of everything she had just thrown at me.
If nothing else there is one thing I know for certain: There is no way I’m going back to get my aura cleansed and my chakras opened.