Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Down the Line

It was a dingy little storefront in a questionable part of town with a blue neon hand over the door. All it said was “Palm Reader.”

“We have to go!” my adventurous high school friend said. So of course we did. The medium looked like the lady down the street, only more tired, like this might be the end of her second shift. And she wasn’t named Madame-Somebody or Serenity or Natasha or even Lilith. It was something like Mrs. Palmer.

I refused to pay the full $20 for something I didn’t believe in. So Mrs. Palmer read half my life for ten bucks. No kidding. On-sale palm reading. Half my life for half the money.

Here is what you don’t want happening when a palm reader looks at your palm: she looked upset. She sort of had an upset-looking face, anyway, but I’m certain it got worse. More frowny.

And she told me something sort of negative. Then she said she was feeling tired and not very psychic, and she gave me a coupon to come back. I didn’t even get my full half-a-life. Of course I didn’t go back, either.

Much later, I was sorry I didn’t. The negative thing not only came true, but it came true in a big way. In fact, it could be said that it became the bane of my life for a long, long time.

Last weekend, my more adventurous friends exclaimed, “We have to go!” So of course I did. It was still $20 after all these years. Ironic that at my age, I paid for the whole life this time. But here’s the weird thing: I was a little nervous. Silly or not, I was scared that my palm, my fate and my life were tainted somehow.

Instead, this happier-looking palm reader—named Bree—immediately announced that I was a writer. “It’s like you have to write,” she said. I found myself looking at my clothing to see if I had on anything that might give it away. Not a hint. Then she told me that I’d been through some bad stuff, some of which she described so accurately that I felt shocked and raw. How odd it feels to have a stranger tell you your secrets!

But then she told me I’d changed course, and now I was back on track. She predicted some good things. Very good things. “The lines in the hand change, you know,” she said. Did she make that up? I don’t care.

When I was young and smart, I viewed the life I hadn’t yet lived through the safe, logical theory of black and white rules. Now that I am old and silly, I view life through the reality of experience—experience that tells me life is wild and colorful and risky and full of broken rules. I no longer worship logic because I no longer want to explain everything. Life is much more fun with a little mystery. The question is no longer, “What do I believe?” The question is now, “What makes me happy to believe?”

This does. Having adventurous friends who go to see palm readers makes life better. I love knowing even at this age, I have a new hand.


 Not all those who wander are lost. ~J. R. R. Tolkien

20 comments:

  1. Cool story. I've only gone to psychics a couple of times in my life and they didn't tell me anything at all that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I'd love to find one who does. My mom went to a psychic on the beach when she was in high school. The woman told her she was going to marry someone named Raymond, which my mom thought was a riot because she was dating my dad and his name was Frank. Only it wasn't. He went by Frank, but his given birth name was Raymond after my grandfather (my mom found this out when she told my dad about the psychic later that evening). My parents were married for 40 years.

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  2. When was the first time you went? In high school? Or more recently? I love how the last one you went to called you a writer and you looked at your clothes to see if there was some sort of hint about it!

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    1. I guess I wasn't clear that I was also in high school then, huh? Thanks, Lynn!

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  3. I love that story and you tell it so well! I must admit psychics and Ouija boards make me a little nervous. Ignorance is (sometimes) bliss.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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  4. I'm glad this time it was a more positive reading.

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  5. Seriously, Mrs. PALMER? What was she thinking?

    When I worked at the unemployment office down on South Broadway, a couple of my co-workers went to a palm reader. They swore she was dead-on with her readings. Of course, I could have looked at their hands and told them that they would be late for work the next day but the office secretary would pull out the sign-in book when they arrived so they didn't get their pay docked. No psychic powers needed for that one.

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    1. Well, it was REALLY something like Turner or Miller, but Palmer seemed like the appropriate choice when I couldn't quite remember. She did say two things I thought would fit for most women: I need more sleep and worry a lot. Or she might have been reading my eye bags and frown lines.

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  6. Mrs. Palmer... Now that's funny.
    I've never been to a palm reader, but I did call one of those psychic hot lines once. I was dating a loser, and I knew it. Apparently I needed a stranger to charge me $20 to tell me that in order to really believe it. Ha.

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    1. I've always wondered about those hotlines. Did you describe him first? ;)

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  7. And did she tdll you a besr seller was in your future? We already know that.

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  8. Love this post. In addition to the fascinating story, I love the line "life is wild and colorful and risky and full of broken rules." There's a lot of wisdom and experience in those few words.

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  9. Another wonderful post, Tammy. And I love the second-to-last paragraph that starts "When I was young and smart..." There's so much truth in that paragraph. As we age, we realize that life is very seldom lived within the rigid structure of black and white; it's all about shades of gray. And of course the bigger theme here too is that, really, we are defined by what we believe. Logic can only take us so far; belief takes us everywhere. I have a fortune cookie fortune taped to my desk that reads: "If you can shape it in your mind, you will find it in your life." I would further add that you must first believe it in the depths of your soul. Thanks so much for your words and insight.

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    1. Thanks, Teri! I love "belief takes us everywhere!"

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  10. Tammy, I have enjoyed catching up on here! This story is very interesting. I have never been to a palm reader nor have done the Tarot Card thing. I'm glad that you have survived all of the hard stuff, are healthy and that you kept your sense of humor!

    Hugs,
    Kathy M.

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  11. Hi Tammy,

    That was a lovely story and beautifully articulated. I would love to see this palm reader if you don't mind sharing their details or the location of the shop please?

    Thank you.
    Rache

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