on the function of psychics

Aristotle was a strong believer in the notion of every organism having a function unique to that organism. A flute-player has the function of playing the flute; plants produce oxygen… It goes on and on. Everything has a function, the function of a human being (generally) is to be eudaimon, or, to Aristotle, something along the lines of perfect. Let’s leave that particular notion behind. My query is into what the function of a psychic is, and how then, I am to relate to them in my life.

I met a few psychics during my sojourn as a traveling salesperson. There’s always a psychic booth at the fair–except in Puyallup, WA, because they’re far too conservative. As the Puyallup Fair was my last fair, and I had yet to get a reading, I felt a dire need to get one during the fair just before: the California State Fair. But the psychic booth was unconvincing, and I was therefore unconvinced.

I was mulling it over during my boring job selling Nail Jazz–they’re nail polishes with microtips so you can do all your own designs at home–when a fairly ugly, hairy lady came up to me attempting to get free stuff. It turned out she was a psychic, and she really wanted to trade me a free reading for a Natural Nail Care Set (retail value $11, but we give them away for free all the time). My bosses were distracted so I let her pocket the demo set, and took in exchange her phone number and address. She said I could come get my reading at any time, even though I warned her that I work til ten, and it’d have to be late. I didn’t know when I was to go there, but I figured I’d fit in. I was meant to have this psychic reading!

Little did I know, but meanwhile my cohort was making arrangements for us to trade mops for readings from the psychics that had a booth at the fair. Much more convenient! This, then, must be the reading I was meant to have!

Among what the psychic told me:
1. My ex is not my soulmate. But if I am still unconvinced, she’ll provide me a compatability assessment for $85–no! not for me, for me–only $75!
2. I’ll have three children.
3. There was a woman in my life with brown hair and blonde streaks that would throw me off my path for two to three months.

Now, I’ve always planned on having two kids. But three wouldn’t be so bad. Or so I’ve come to consider since this reading. But if the psychic had never mentioned it?! Then how many kids would I have wound up with? One can easily draw the conclusion that some sort of accident would have left me with three anyway.

But, here’s the is the kicker: A few days previous, I had met a woman with brown hair and blonde streaks that offered me work selling the EuroSteam: Wonder Iron from Italy!

I had spent the days consequent grinning and smiling with dollar signs in my eyes, looking so forward to selling this $200 iron with a simple demo requiring no Diet Pepsi or paper towels. They sell like hotcakes! It really is a good iron–retails for $400. And you can iron your clothes while they’re on their hanger. Seriously. And you’ll never burn yourself or your finest fabrics–the steam won’t even pop a balloon!

We all need a EuroSteam. I need a EuroSteam.

So what was this bullshit from the psychic?!! A path?! Who needs a path!! I was so shaken up following the reading I drank two beers in the dark of my sleeping motel room.

To no avail. The psychic had me so upset for days that I never called the woman with the blonde streaks, nor her boss, who calls himself “Swerve” (a coincidence, however relevant to our metaphor).

And now I have a job. And no EuroSteam. And you too, will have to live life without one.

So where is this woman who was to throw me off course? Did I avoid the diversion?

If so, then the function of the psychic cannot be to tell the truth about one’s future. Or that truth must be so transient that one can only accept a psychic’s word for a matter of minutes.

Which means my ex could by soulmate.

I often wonder where I’d be if I had instead taken a reading from the first psychic who offered her services.

“Step on up folks. I’ll show you how this works.”

A date from three perspectives

Perspective #1: Susie J. updates her father’s office

From: Susie J
Reply-To: Susie J
To: susiejster@gmail.com
Date: Apr 27, 2005 10:11 AM
Subject: Jen’s Big Life Adventure: Date #2 with the Millionaire* (Date #1)


Score: 6.1
Food: Excellent (Scott’s at Jack London Square)
Chemistry Test Results: there’s potential…


On the way to dinner, he mentions his internet dating failures (-5 P.p.). The implication, however, was that he likes me. A couple minutes later he admits that he realized the severity of our age gap. I wonder when it occured to him. As a good friend of mine put it: “I was just punching some dates through the calendar, and I realized that I’m a lot older than you!” (-5 P.p.)

I had a glass of a northern coastal California cab and the mahi mahi with hush puppies and garlic butter. He had the fresh crab and made a funny joke about how he was going to get messy (+3 P.p.). The conversation had some definite second date lulls, but we pulled through. I really only had to fear for the fate of the date for a matter of seconds at a time. We finished with the creme brulee, really quite a good rendition.

As it was the second date, it was necessary to delve a little deeper into each other’s lives. Among what we discussed: Swedish reality television, his apartment and the nearby organic grocery store, his mother’s visit, his bunions (just kidding!), other products I could sell at home fairs, my boring job, et cetera. We hardly touched on any depressing subjects, save the past two elections. He expressed that after the 2004 election, he was depressed for two weeks and he’s still ashamed to return to the homeland (+15 P.p.).

The highlight of the date definitely came when he tried to figure out what I do in my free time. After briefly mentioning my knitted goods plan, I realized it was the perfect time to bounce one of my entrepreneurial schemes off his business-oriented (sponge) head. (I mean, really, what is a millionaire good for besides investment possibilities?) I quickly (and intelligently) decide to persent the most solid of my buisness models: the bar/laundromat. And–this is where the Patrick points really start rolling in–his brother has always wanted to start a bar/laundromat! (+6,304 P.p. – or should they go to his brother?) I wondered briefly if I was out with the wrong brother (-45 susie j. points).

After dinner, we took a walk along the pier and then he brought me home. He mentions that it’s chilly and I offer him my coat (+14 susie j. points for chivalry). He declines (+3 P.p.), but strangely mentions that he thinks we have an audience. He was referring to the window flanked restaurant nearby, but unbeknownst to either of us, we definitively were not alone. It seems two of my great friends had concluded that the best use of their Tuesday evening was stalking my date. I don’t disagree; their reports follow.


Investment Potential: high
Romantic Potential: see investment potential
Compatibility Assessment: eh…see investment potential.
*This claim is as of yet unsubstantiated.

Please direct any comments, queries, and concerns to susiejster@gmail.com.
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Perspective #2: Stalker #1

Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say. Dusk had turned to darkness and Gayle and I were feeling hungry and mean. We were driving in circle after circle, and the restaurant eluded us time and time again. Suddenly, like a bolt of lightning in a cheesy metaphor, an idea struck me, an idea awesome in its brilliance and immaturity.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if we went to the restaurant where Jen and her Swede are eating?”

“Oh my God, that would be so freaking hilarious.”

Our restaurant finally appeared. We ate, and the food displaced our hunger, but not our predatory impulses. Nay, it fueled them, and what had at first been an amusing suggestion became a goal, a challenge, a grande cause. It was to go like this: we would arrive at Jack London square and peruse the restaurants. Being quality people, Jen and the Swede would be seated prominently, next to a window. We would enter and pretend to notice them, and Gayle would express surprise that we happened to be at the same restaurant: “Oh my God, I can’t believe it! Will and I come here all the freaking time!” I would excitedly tell Jen that Zach and I had made progress on our list of the fifteen best states: “Jen! Number five is going to be… Alaska!!!” Then I would take notice of the Fjord-jumper and exclaim, pointing at him, “you’re right, Jen! His head really does look like a sponge!”

I will spare you the details of our drive from Albany to O-town, fascinating though they are. We found an unbelievably choice parking spot – picture this if you can: the very last parking space on Broadway! The one right next to the corner, right across from Jack London Square! An auspicious start, to be sure!

Then began a rather lengthy survey of the various boojie restaurants; through the window we scanned the scattering of booj-bags in a bistro and a seafood restaurant, with no luck. The night air was pleasant and the grimy waters of the bay provided an undeniably romantic ambiance.

“What if we find them making out out here?”

“That would be freaking awful.”

We continued the search for our prey undaunted, entering a Steakhouse. I played the hostess like a fiddle: “Hi. I’m planning a graduation party for next month; would it be okay if we just looked around?” But alas, this ruse was for naught, for there was nary a Jennifer nor a Scandinavian in sight.

“Okay, I’m getting Jen vibes from this direction!” said Gayle, and we investigated the restaurant’s bar. Another disappointment for our hapless heroes.

It was now becoming rather late, and as we walked along the pier I worried aloud that the date might have finished already.

“No way… I’m sure they started at eight. And it’s, what, ten o’clock now? Two hours for dinner is about right.”

“I don’t know. Swedes are very efficient.”

Gayle stopped short, suddenly staring at the walkway beside the restaurant that we were approaching.

“Hey! I see two people!” she whispered. “And the girl’s got curly hair. She’s got curly hair!!!” We had to duck behind a boat, and Gayle peered eagerly across the pier. I could see nothing. I have bad eyesight, and refuse to wear glasses. Glasses are for nerds. The couple reappeared, and it was as if Gayle suddenly exploded:

“Oh my God! It’s them!! It’s totally them!” I was overtaken by a sudden panic: what the fudge were we thinking being there? How pathetic were we going to look? Jen would see us, and her face would register momentary confusion, and then a toxic melange of disgust and contempt. “What are you guys, ten years old?? I can’t buh-leeeeve this!!” And she would treat us to an ostentatious roll of the eyes. Being naturally cowardly (I’m Irish/Scottish), I bolted, taking refuge beside a nearby fountain. Gayle (also of Celtic descent) frantically followed. I made her light a cig, so as to look natural, and we sat dreading our imminent discovery.

And yet, as the star struck couple passed, cheeks pink from cold, they were too absorbed in each other to take notice of us! They strolled slowly past the fo
untain, sparing nary a sideways glance. At this point Gayle and I went from saboteurs to spies. We were spying. We were creepy. But we couldn’t interrupt the romantic promenade; that would be bad form. Jen and Spongehead – there really is an uncanny resemblance – sauntered dreamily along towards Broadway, eventually walking right past my car. They soon began to recede into the darkness of the underlit street. Gayle and I trailed them about fifty or sixty cubits behind, praying to soon be done with this sad episode of our lives. But as we finally reached my car, Jen and the Swede crossed the street and BEGAN WALKING BACK TOWARDS US!

“Should we wave to them?”
“Okay. Yeah, we’ll drive by and wave. That will make us less creepy. And we won’t actually have to talk to them.”
“Oh, but there’s no U-turn.”
“This is Oakland, the land law forgot.”
“Should we open the windows?”
“No, no, let’s just wave.”

And we gave the biggest, smelliest wave that we could muster, excited staccato heartbeats resounding in our anxious bosoms as we barreled toward our victims. We were sure that our attack met its target, because as we waved Jen turned her face askance, and there it was, that look of disgust and contempt, aimed at none other than us! It seems, however, that Gayle and I can’t even manage to make asses of ourselves properly: Jen swears that our wave went unseen, that her withering glance had some other object, or was a hallucination, that if we had not told her our tale she would never have suspected a thing. Next time we’ll do a better job, Jen. We’ll make our presence known AND give you ample cause to regret it.

Perspective #3: Stalker #2 weighs in

The only information we had to go on was Jack London Square . No time, no specific restaurant, no assurance of success. But, no doubt because of complicated and fateful astrological configurations and a special psychic connection between Jennifer and myself, the seemingly needle-in-a-haystack chance of successfully stalking her on her date was in actuality more of a stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb given.

Thinking back, it is almost as if the millionaire wanted us to stalk him on his date with Jennifer: why else choose an area where the restaurants have so many windows? Of a particularly paranoid disposition myself, I question this decision. After walking around the third restaurant and peering in the large bay windows, I must admit that hope was fading fast. Will, as a Taurus, has an arguably natural inclination toward defeatism, so I felt that I had to rally his spirits: “It’s only over the next hill, bucko!”

And then: in the distance, a girl with dark, short curly hair. A pair of people, walking out along one of the piers. I was almost immediately sure that it would turn out to be Jennifer and the millionaire. My heart leapt at this success, and I turned to inform Will of my suspicions. But then it hit me: they were holding hands. And walking along a pier. Slowly. For a moment, this evidence of romance made me doubt that it was Jennifer (after all, I’m very skeptical of this whole millionaire thing). But a certain slant of light hit her, and I could see that she was wearing her red coat. And a familiar “business cas” gray skirt. And that was certainly her walk, though it was slowed down to a sexy not-a-care-in-the-world sashay.

As I slowly processed this all, I realized that they were walking back from the bay and would soon round the corner and see us!!

Now, to be fair, I can not speak for Will. But having read his description of our escapade, I would argue that it was neither our Celtic heritage nor our astrological inclinations that made us bolt at the prospect of running into them. At some level, we both knew that this was not how we had imagined our happily impulsive encounter: it should have been (and would have been, had we found the damn burrito place earlier) them seated, us standing. Not an intrusion on an intimate moment. That is just poor form, and Will and I both shudder at the thought of poor form. So I think that our bolting came from the best within us: despite my skepticism as to this strapping Swede’s intentions toward Jennifer, despite Will’s hatred of people with money, despite Will’s disapproval of taking a date to Jack London Square, and despite my dislike of many born under the sign of the twins—despite all these things, this type of moment between two people is to be respected.

Quickly noticing how absorbed Jennifer and the millionaire were with each other, we became less and less afraid of being noticed. He is only slightly taller than her, dressed in all black, short sleeves, nice slacks. His walk had a certain confidence to it as well: certainly the pretty girl on his arm didn’t hurt matters. I really didn’t see his face this whole time, for I was much more interested in watching Jennifer. She was smoking and smiling, casually holding his hand and ambling ever so slowly this star-speckled night, as though she was made for dating, made for romance, moonlight, candlelight, the like. A scene worthy of the cinema, to be sure. An aura of charm radiated from her—how could this millionaire not be in love with her? Happy to behold this web of magic she so effortlessly had woven, I became even more reluctant to disturb it. And the millionaire became a person, no longer an abstract, vaguely pathetic shade, and I had no desire to ruin this happy stroll for him. After all, he was just enjoying a beautiful moment in a cold, hard world.

You know: I don’t know if I actually felt any of this. Will’s description is much more accurate. I get carried away sometimes. After all, I am a Leo. Of Celtic heritage, no less.

the curse of Time

Maybe it’s because I’m a Leo, and I crave perpetual drama, but I’m having a really hard time getting over the fact that I am over my ex-boyfriend. I always thought the hard part was the initial moving on, but I have definitely initially moved on. I’ve been initially moved on for months now. Or years even, depending on your interpretation of events.

but here I am…

…back to square one, still pissing and moaning about this stale relationship.

It’s just that this initial moving on that was so healthy has been slowly growing. It’s begun to envelope me. I can feel it, when I think of him. I know it, when I think of oh how much I like other people. And it’s especially obvious whenever we interact. My lack of patience for his eccentricities that I used to find so endearing – even sexy. My lack of patience for his everything. What a loving fool I was, in retrospect. What a loving fool I am, now, to be so distraught by this marked decrease in emotional investment.

Perhaps I’m a nostalgic to a fault (a consequence of the perpetual drama that rules my life?). Perhaps I’m not actually over him.

I could be not over him being over being over me. I could be jealous. People should know not to make a lion jealous.

I think I just miss missing him, miss loving him. I miss being in that state post-relationship where everything reminds you of the two of you together and how much fun you had. I miss looking at my clothes and thinking of how he liked that shirt, or didn’t like that skirt. I miss being unable to wear the jewelry we got together for fear of bursting into tears. I miss being unable to walk the streets of Berkeley without thinking about holding his hand. I miss having sex with other people and wishing it were him.

I miss being heart broken.

Fuck you Time. I didn’t want you to heal this wound. But thanks anyway. You’re like Mom. You always know what’s best.

And will you please send me a new one, so that I might be heart broken again?

daunted on a Thursday

i have what i’ve decided to call “the worst temp job ever”, though that is possibly untrue. Possibly, or probably, i will discover in my life a “worse temp job than the worst temp job ever” and I find that possibility only minimally satisfying.

the planet ruling my life right now is characterized by a constant desire for a more satisfying satisfaction. i used to have a shower head that advertised it was “even wetter feeling” and if water has degrees of wet feeling, and higher degrees cause a more satisfying shower – it really was a damn good shower head – how many degrees of satisfaction do I in fact need?

direction = satisfaction, perhaps a true statement. love = satisfaction, perhaps true as well. no definitive identity relations hold in these equations…at least from my point of view. without any, then, the I is an i, is a me, and I am daunted by dissatisfaction. so daunted i did not go to the auto repair shop to file files and move files and unmove filed files and then move the files i moved yesterday.

but i am not daunted. tonight…a night for satisfaction. my horoscope said so. in the fine print that no one else can read without the lense of one experienced in such things. a night for a new bar – an experience always satisfying. i like going into a bar that i have previously only experienced intermediate to maximally wasted. it always looks so different with fresh, undrunken eyes, as the Elbo Room looked to me last Tuesday. and it was that in an effort not to be daunted i utilized those four gin and tonics during happy hour and wound up at work in the h.o.. and that i have utilized nameless other drinks and bars on these days of existing thus unsatisfied. Southern bars filled with southern men wanting to take me home or for a ride in their helicopter…or not southern men, but still, the same damn itinerary.

Satisfying would be a fresh itinerary. today i got a fresh itinerary, and I shall and am utilizing it. tomorrow i will make a fresh itinerary. everyday is a fresh itinerary, but how can that not on its own be fairly daunting?especially with the decreasing chances of visiting novel bars. what i need to find are the correct conditions for satisfaction = everyday. or satisfaction = breathing, cause then, i couldn’t avoid being satisfied. or, perhaps…

satisfaction = blogging.