nicole, a friend from high school, was in town last tuesday, so we had a mini reunion dinner with our friend szilvia and szilvia's husband dave. after dinner, it was decided that we should do something 'memorable.' there we were in the east village next to a psychic's storefront. why the hell not?but:
i should say a bit about my feelings on all this. i don't believe in psychics, not for one teeny tiny second. i don't believe in anything that doesn't stand up to scientific double blinded, repeatable study. i don't believe in tarot cards, ouija boards, horoscopes, astrology, numerology, the magic 8-ball, jeesus, midichlorians, the force, or
i do believe that there are innumerable interesting things to be found in all of the abovementioned phenomena
. i always found it interesting that so many of my friends in theatre eschewed religion, but were hard-core followers of tarot and astrological minutae. many of them acknowledge the ridiculousness and randomness of these things, and yet continue to do them, to base their decisions upon them, and to subject me to them at parties.alas:
when a friend says to me 'i had the most amazing tarot reading the other day,' i have conditioned myself not to instantly burst out laughing, roll my eyes, or sarcastically intone 'ohhh puhhhleeez.' i now say with what i hope is an open-minded curiosity, 'really? what was that like?'in any case:
szilvia and nicole went first, and went in together. i waited for my turn outside with dave, who refused to take part in any way. his objection was based upon refusal to give financial support to someone he feels is essentially raping people's fear and insecurity to make a living. i understood this, but i saw it from an investigative perspective. i also saw it as a chance to laugh at a fraud. i did feel a little bad. i mean i was going in not only as a non-believer-hard-core-skeptic, but also as a first-class asshole, wasting the psychic's time (even though she's getting paid).
szilvia and nicole exited, and it was my turn. i sat down in the little chair and the psychic woman asked me to put my palms up.
once i did, she just began speaking. the words flowed out of her very quickly and with no effort or thought. she was probably in her mid 40's, very ordinary looking, wearing jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt, her hair pulled back. she was maybe hispanic, though difficult to tell, and seemed like an extremely friendly person. she's what i'd call outside of a psychic's den, 'a very nice person.'
and this was clearly her skill. she spoke quietly, but with confidence and assurance. i'm not sure what i was expecting, but part of me thought that she would spend the time 'testing' me, or trying to justify her missteps, or trying to prove things to me. no, she just talked. she looked at my hands and proceeeded to give me a very structured character study based on what she was looking at.
she hit all the main points: love, money, career, creativity, health, but she did this without feeling formulaic - as though she was trying to pack as much information in as she could before the time was up, because there was just so much to say, and it was really important to her to get all the main points in.
and i absolutely concede that she said things that made me think about my life and where i'm at. she said i would face a major life change in august. true. she said i've started taking better care of myself, but i need to go further with it. true. she said that my creativity is where i will find financial success except i've let it slip and i need to find a way to pursue it again. i don't know if it's true, but damn, for whom isn't it? she said that i'm alone romantically and that's because i'm still hanging onto a past relationship and i can't expect anything to happen until i let go. moderately true. she said so many more things, but they just drifted by, didn't even stick, because they didn't resonate. nothing felt totally wrong or off base, and so if my emotional core didn't latch onto it, i just forgot it.
it was clear to me what she was: not a psychic, but a writer. she looks at your hands and just knows, the way a writer can look at a person on the street and instantly create an amazing backstory for them - and the more thoroughly drawn that character is, the more any person is able to identify with aspects of them. it's the reason we enjoy drama, because we see ourselves, our own struggles in the characters onscreen. the key difference is that authors take responsibility for their creative gift.so:
i left the psychic with nicole and szilvia discussing how different the experience was from what we had expected. i completely understand the addiction to it now. it is
like seeing a therapist. probably cheaper, and honestly, for the right people, just as beneficial, depending on the psychic of course.
i really hate that word 'skeptic.' i get this image of a negative little house on the prarie nelly olsen bitch with arms crossed and eyes rolling. granted, i have often been that bitch, but i don't feel like a skeptic anymore. i question this woman's beliefs, but i also have as deep a conviction in my own. i have respect for what she does, but i believe it's something other than what she claims to be selling. it was fun, it was insightful, but i won't be going back, ever. i'm quite happy to look inward by listening to the voices of people who know that the voices are their own.