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I don't believe in tarot, crystals or zodiac signs. Still, I have always harbored a secret desire to visit a psychic. That a person could tell me things about my future is a concept that I find absolutely irresistible. Also, I like the idea of an older woman touching my hands. Not in a sexual way or anything. More like in an intimate, motherly way. God, I'm lonely.
At Shawl City, I mean the psychic fair, there were readers (various types of seers) and vendors, who sell necklaces, stones and books about herbs and spiritual growth. Toward the back of the wood-paneled room, a woman sat inside a hut-shaped object while a Native American man paced around her and blew on a didgeridoo. A woman wearing a gold crown spoke to a fairgoer from her booth. Beside her, a cross-eyed psychic was eating a bag of Cheetos. I can't vouch for her clairvoyance, but she has chosen one of the only professions in the world where being cross-eyed gives you a leg up. That must count for something.
There also were lectures. Along with about 10 other people, I watched one called "Gallery Health Readings," delivered by a soft-spoken elderly man named Clinton. He used to be a farmer, but then one day when he was out in the fields, a plant spoke to him and revealed its healing powers. Ever since, he has been devoted to listening to herbs and learning about how they can improve our health. After introducing himself, Clinton offered to "scan" us. People would tell Clinton of an ailment they had, and he would stare at them in silence for five seconds or so, and then tell them what was causing their ailment and what to take for it. One woman said she had a stomach problem.
"You have a hiatal hernia," he said after a few moments.
"No, I don't," she said. "I was just evaluated for that." She wasn't being combative; she was just hoping for a reassessment. Clinton scanned her again.
"Well, this is where it gets difficult," Clinton said. "You have your truth, and I have mine. And mine is that you have a hiatal hernia. Of course, you must go with your own truth."
Sensing negative body feelings around a different woman, he stopped the scan and had everyone in the room do an exercise. "I absolutely love and honor myself," we repeated, as we tapped at various pressure points on our bodies. It was a little bit like the hokeypokey.
The psychic I later met with was maybe 55 years old, and I chose her because she looked less insane than the others. This did not turn out to be true.
"Are you David?" she asked, glancing at the sign-in sheet. I told her that I was. "I will be right back," she said, rising. "I've got to go to the ..." and then she pointed down at her crotch.
When she returned and we started in, I came to see that a fair setting is a terrible environment for a session with a psychic. There's no privacy. There was a row of chairs to my immediate right, a sort of waiting area, and the people sitting there could hear every word I said. Everywhere behind me, there were people walking around, talking, laughing. I kept hearing that goddamn didgeridoo off in the corner of the room.
"What do you want to know about?" the psychic asked, petting the tiny mat of rabbit fur on the table between us.
"Lots of things," I said.