Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Reading of the Palm


Last night's "party"

I don't actually believe in sidewalk fortune tellers and late night neon palm readers - despite their prevalence in both New York and LA - but occasionally I'm at a party that's brought one in for entertainment purposes, and if it's free, I'll take advantage.

I drove all the way down to Orange County last night for a zombie party for which I was literally the first to arrive, and I think the only paying attendee (everybody else seemed like they worked for or were friends with the organizers), and so with no one to talk to, I decided to chat up the palm reader.

She had some tarot cards splayed out before her, but she wasn't reading them for free.

She did, however, permit me to ask her any three questions I wanted. She sat waiting patiently while I considered.

"OK, this might be vague, but here's my first question: Am I were I'm supposed to be?" I asked.

"Financially?"

I leaned in. "Geographically."

She then looked down at my right palm, pointing to something that indicated a professional change - perhaps some relocation - in the next two and a half years. I found it curious, since I've now been in LA for two and a half years, after relocating from New York, an arduous process I can't quite imagine doing again.

I thought again about my second question. "OK, this one is kind of personal," I said, my eyes welling up as I felt the emptiness of the large room behind me. She nodded, encouragingly.

"Why am I still alone?"

She was emphatic in her answer. "Your soulmate has not come into your life yet."

I laughed. "Oh, so you mean it's not one of these guys I went to school with who keep messaging me online?" As she shook her head, I said, "Thank God."

"No, you haven't met him yet," she assured me, anticipating that I would meet him - whose name starts with a "D," whatever that means - within six months.

We shall see.

"I see someone else in your past who hasn't gone away," she said. "But I don't like him for you."

Uh huh.

"And he's not going to give you what you need. He's not what you're looking for."

Uh huh.

She then just looked at me, blinking.

"Oh, I get another question," I said, startled. And then I thought for an awkwardly long time. I thought perhaps I should ask a question about someone else in my life, instead of dwelling on the hackneyed, self-obsessed topics of love and money.

"WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MY SISTER?" I asked, provoked by the notification that she'd started following me on Facebook after unfriending me a year ago.

In the surest proof I needed that my palm reader was a hack, she didn't know what I meant.  She didn't know anything about my sister. She prodded me to explain, which I tried to do vaguely so as not to give too much away, and in a moment reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz's Professor Marvel, she advised me that my sister is not well, and would need my help.

Uh huh.

But that I should stay away from her right now.

Uh huh.

I suppose I don't really need my fortune told. I always like to be surprised. I'm in it for the ride. But I do like an occasional assurance that I'm on the right track, that I'm not lost and shouldn't turn back. Most of my life questions are more about why than what or whether. It either will or it won't. But why didn't this person love me? Why am I still so lost? Why is it so hard to find work? Why am I the only person at this party? Why did I bother to come at all, dressed elaborately in costume?

Why do I keep trying?