"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend, Part Three: Gratuities Cheerfully Accepted

Just in case you don’t know, and I’m sure you don’t because I haven’t told you yet, I saved y’all a bunch of money Friday evening.

Forty-five dollars to be exact. And, if you stretch it a bit, I may have saved you $185 also, by following the advice of a mysterious gypsy woman.

I know you’re wondering how this could be, so here’s what happened:

I was sitting on a bench at the Alaska State Fair, eating my quadruple-chocolate-dipped vanilla ice cream bar with an ungodly thickness of chopped almonds, all of which over-powered the ice cream so I broke it off in huge slabs and tossed them in a trash can. Across the way was a fortune teller’s booth. I watched as a woman sat down in a private corner of the booth and listened for a minute to a perfectly ordinary looking woman seated across from her.

The woman customer stood up and stomped out of the booth, shaking her head. Oh, boy, I had to know what that was all about. I tossed the remaining two-thirds of my ice cream bar into the trash barrel and moseyed over to the booth. A young boy was examining a display of eyelash of cygnet and whisker of brown bat… No, wait, he was examining some mood rings and other trinkets.

I caught someone’s eye—the fortune-teller shift had just changed. Now, this woman looked like a gypsy from Romania. Certainly not a somewhat normal woman from Stanton, California, or whatever her business card read.

I asked how much. She invited me to sit down, so I occupied the recently vacated chair. She asked if I wanted a psychic reading, tarot card reading, or palm reading. The prices were $45 for the all-inclusive psychic reading, and $25 for each of the others.

She set a deck of tarot cards before me. Oh, this could be fun, I thought, recalling my one previous psychic reading in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in which I’d learned I was an old soul, and used to be a Greek shipping merchant.

“Psychic reading,” I answered. She set a deck of Tarot cards before me, asked me to make two wishes (revealing one to her and keeping the other secret), then to take the top card and put it under the deck.

Remember, I’d walked into this cold—the two wishes thing had me stumped. Finally I blurted out, “I want to live long enough to complete my bucket list.” I didn’t mention that list increased exponentially to the passing years and I’d already have to live another lifetime to complete it, so it’s a good thing she said I’d live to age 91.

Then she began reading the cards and this gypsy woman (that’s so much more romantic than saying “this woman from California”) told me:

—I’d suffered romantic disappointment early in life (Haven’t we all?)

(After each statement she asked, “You understand?”

—I receive much criticism in the things that I do, but should follow my heart regardless of what others say. (Shouldn’t we all?)

I’d worked hard for my money, but my financial situation will become easier soon. (Didn’t we all? Would that it could?)

—Though I now lived alone, that situation would change soon. (What the hell? I like living alone. Please don’t let it be a caregiver.)

—I will soon become involved in a real estate matter that will bring me much money. (What? I’m not ready to sell my house yet. Too much packing to do.)

—I will soon receive a letter that will bring me much happiness and change my life. (NO! I like my life just as it is.)

—I have made some investments that have not turned out well at all. (Oh, hasn’t everyone who was in the market two years ago???)

Then she asked me if I wanted to know how to change that. “I’m a psychic,” she said. “I can tell you what to do. But it will cost you $185.” With that I decided to apply some of her previous advice and listened to my heart telling me this was baloney. I’d just saved myself $185.

She said I may ask her one question. Again I was blank. I began to think about what that—and the trouble coming up with one wish, no matter two wishes— told me insofar as my current life was concerned, but yanked myself back to the question at hand.

Finally, “I’d like to know if my manuscript will sell.” (What manuscript, I asked myself?)

“It will,” she said, “but not at first. You will have to keep trying and then great success will happen.” Well, if I were good at trying at all, I thought, I might be able to put together a manuscript in the first place.

By this time, my muse was clamoring to get out of there so she could think about that current life/satisfaction thing, and I was anxious to get out of there before I laughed out loud.

So, I drug a crumpled fifty dollar bill out of my pocket and paid the gypsy (-woman from California).

And that, boys and girls, is how I saved you $45 with a generic, one-size-fits-all psychic, tarot and palm reading.

As I mentioned, gratuities cheerfully accepted.


  1. If she was any good she should've known you weren't gonna cough up the $185. But if she'd known that and therefore didn't ask, it would've been a pity because that would've meant she was worth the money. Except you wouldn't have known that, because you're not psychic. Except she should've known that, and, um...

  2. Let us know when that letter arrives!