Yesterday, E.S. and I spent the afternoon in Venice, a neighborhood of Los Angeles much like Coney Island in its funky trashiness. We walked along the beach, passing vendor after vendor, each one with a larger collection of bongs for sale than the last. I very nearly prevailed upon E.S. to rent us roller skates so that we could skate down the beach together, but he nixed that idea as being too faggy.
Towards the end of the commercial area, we passed a psychic with a sign advertising “psychic entertainment and healing.” We had walked by other psychics along the way who promised “secrets revealed through palms” and “tarot cards tell your soul,” but these had come across somehow as both sensationalistic and tawdry. But this lady, who was in her early fifties, seemed fairly unassuming, and the promise of combined entertainment and healing was both intriguing enough and modest enough for us to sit down at her table.
She had only one chair, so we each perched precariously on a side. After eliciting from each of us a name and an astrological sign, she closed her eyes clairvoyantly and started talking. I generally don’t expect much from storefront psychics, and in this case my expectations weren’t disappointed. She did say I was very creative and got my profession right (entertainment industry), but come on, I’m a cute guy in Los Angeles with a schedule that allows me go to the beach in the middle of the day on Friday–what other industry am I going to be in? She also suggested that a major career opportunity was going to arise soon for me and that I might have to cut myself loose from a fiery woman in the professional sphere. She told E.S. that he was prone to help others to his own detriment, which is true, and that he had been burned in love recently, which, depending on your interpretation, is true as well. She also predicted a major career change in his near future, which is highly unlikely, since a psychiatric residency lasts four years, and suggested that I need to pay more attention to my physical body to balance the mental energy I expend; given that I already teach four group fitness classes a week and recently took up another form of exercise I will discuss at a later date, this seemed, if not inaccurate, at the very least impracticable. It also wasn’t clear to either one of us that she could tell we were a couple.
Then she asked if we had any questions. She hadn’t given us a particularly insightful reading, so we said we didn’t. She seemed disappointed but tried to hide it. “Not even one itty bitty question?” she asked. Since she was obviously looking for some sort of connection beyond the transaction in which we’d just engaged, I asked her if she lived there in Venice. “Oh, I wish!” she replied. Then she started explaining how she lived in one part of Los Angeles but her boyfriend lived in another part that was far away, and he was an entertainer and brought his own drama to the relationship but at least he was forcing her to face her own issues, and she’d moved out here from Colorado a year ago and had been something of a gypsy since then, partially for financial reasons, because Los Angeles was expensive, though she’d gone back to Denver to do a party in October and had made $700, which she’d been living on, and she would be getting a settlement soon from a car accident she’d been in and that would help, and she was just really trying to figure out what path the universe wanted her to take. We talked for a little while longer, and then E.S. and I stood up to go. “Thanks so much!” she said. “You’ve made my day!” It was clear that we were the only clients she’d had since setting up her booth hours before.
The whole thing made me so sad I almost couldn’t bear it. It’s one thing to be an older person and be financially struggling and unsure of your future and lonely, but somehow the idea of a psychic being lost in that way tears my heart to shreds. I mean, you’ve chosen a career that depends on your seeing things more clearly than the rest of us do–what happens when you look and, surprise!, there isn’t anything there?