Crystal Light

(I know I promised to keep my posts to 300 words or less, but since I didn’t write one last week, I feel justified in making this one 600 words. Hope you agree! If you think that’s cheating, stop reading when you get to “priorities”—that’s the 300th word.)

The new thing: I was rejected by a psychic.

Here’s how it happened: I was perusing my town’s small business directory when I saw this listing: “Psychic Readings by Tiffany.”  There was a psychic in my little town? Named “Tiffany”? I was intrigued!

Her website was simple, with an illustration of a woman holding a giant crystal ball surrounded by a halo of blinking stars. In describing herself, Tiffany came across as a confident soothsayer who blithely ignores conventional rules of grammar: “hi thanks for choosing my site, I am a spiritualist who works in all walks of life from all walks of life i specialize in all kinds of problems such as love. marriage. business. career etc”

She promised to “balance and religion the chakra, reunite lovers, and help with panic attack anxiety.” Whoa, Tiff—that’s quite a combo platter! (And who knew “religion” could be used as a verb?)

I didn’t have any particular problem I wanted her to help me with, so I decided “crystal reading,” which was listed on her menu of services, would be fun.

I couldn’t wait to meet her. I pictured the stereotype: heavyset woman, long, dark hair, exotic accent. Real name: Magda.

My first disappointment was when I got her voice mail, and she sounded like a bored New Jersey housewife. Still, I left a message.

She ignored it.

A few days later, I emailed her:
I’d like to set up an appointment for a crystal reading with you tomorrow if you’re available.

The next day, she wrote:
Hi I am not sure what day I’ll be able to see you I’ll be out this week due to a passing in the family we can make something for next week
Sent from my iPhone

While I understood that she had other priorities, I didn’t like that my psychic had an iPhone. Wasn’t a crystal ball enough?

I sent a reply:
I am very sorry for your loss. Next week would be fine. Please email me when you know which days you’re available.

She ignored it.

A week later, I tried again:
I hope you are well. Would you be able to meet tomorrow?

The next day—yay!—she replied:
Hello sorry that is not good maybe Thursday I’m not in the office till then 

Holy smokes—did she say “office”? Liz Lemon has an office, so do Don Draper and Barack Obama, but not my psychic! She has a…well, I’m not sure what she has, except little interest in seeing me.

I wrote back:
Yes. Anytime before 11:30 that day is fine.

She responded:
“Hello I can see you sat afternoon if that’s good plz let me know.”

Wait, what happened to Thursday? Never mind, Saturday could work. She finally sounded interested! I started convincing myself that a beaded curtain was in my near future.

I was working on Saturday at a local event in “the Village,” my town’s downtown, where Tiffany had her, um, office.

I wrote:
I will be volunteering at the Art Walk that day but I can get away to come see you if you’ll be in the Village. What time?

She wrote back:
Sorry I don’t have an office in the Village anymore only on Springfield Avenue.

And with that curt reply, I was done.

I had found the most passive, disinterested psychic in all of New Jersey! How could I trust her to religion my chakra?

I never wrote back, and neither did she.

I could have predicted that.

Beet It

The new thing: I ate a dish of beets, a vegetable I’ve always detested.

Here’s how it happened: I hadn’t eaten beets since childhood, when my mother would serve them on white porous dishes that left ugly purple stains on the surface. To me, they tasted like a cross between potatoes and Jell-O. But since beet salad is so popular these days, I decided to give it another try.

I was at my local osteria—the kind of place with hydroponic lettuce and a liberal use of the word “artisan” on the menu. What better place to take the plunge?  Besides, the salad also had goat cheese, which I love. I figured I could just chow down on that if the beets were a fail. When I asked the waitress, “What do you think about the beets?” her face lit up. “It’s my favorite salad here,” she said. “They’re fire-roasted.” I had to assume that was a good thing.

When the dish arrived, I took one look at it and felt like a contestant on “”Survivor” who was forced to eat a bowl of yak innards. There was a mound of beet cubes, three lettuce leaves, and goat cheese that was more sprinkle than slab. My lunch companion tried shaming me into eating it. “It’s just beets. What’s the big deal?” Thirteen year olds can be so, like, clueless. With a sweaty hand, I picked up a fork and stabbed a cube. Chewed, swallowed, waited. And wished I’d stabbed myself.  Nothing had changed. I still hated beets. Fire roasting hadn’t enhanced the flavor or texture. Perky Waitress came by and asked how everything was. “Great,” I lied, then let my lunch date polish off the rest.

Next stop: the frozen yogurt shop down the street, to wash away the bad taste and the memories.