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The Reluctant Novice

VISITING A PSYCHIC : The Futures Market : Enter the bungalow you've seen along streets in different cities, with its neon palm outside inviting you in for a reading.

December 26, 1991|HILARY DOLE KLEIN

You never fail to read your horoscope, even though as a Scorpio, you believe some magazines lay it on a bit too thick about the sensual side of your nature.

You have often felt drawn to those little bungalows you've seen along the streets of many different cities, with their neon signs outlining the palm of a hand, inviting strangers in for a reading.

You also admit to a passion for novels with psychics as protagonists.

And you love it when the conversation rolls around to the subject of past lives.

However, you have never actually visited a psychic.

Unless you count that time in the seventh grade at your school carnival, when a first-grader's mother, dressed up as a Gypsy, looked at your palm and told you that a rich uncle would leave you his fortune.

Thirty years later, you have finally come to the realization that none of your uncles has enough money to share.

Maybe you should give another fortuneteller a crack at it.

Then you read your favorite horoscope and it says: "Schedule a rendezvous with a career counselor or financial fortuneteller. Hire a spin doctor to intervene in your behalf with the great wheel of fortune."

Isn't it finally time to do what you've wanted to do for so long?

You casually mention to a friend that you're thinking of going to a psychic.

He wants to know why, and gently points out that people generally go to psychics when they are stuck, when they don't like their job or are having trouble with another person.

"They go for clarification," he says.

You realize that, after all, you're looking for enlightenment every day of your life, whether it is by reading Doonesbury or Anne Tyler or having a conversation with a wise friend.

So why not look at going to the psychic as another moment of enlightenment? What do you have to lose besides insight and clarity--and money?

The next morning, your horoscope says: "Advance tanklike in the face of the enemy--which in your case is your own self-doubt."

You immediately turn to the yellow pages and look for psychics.

All you find, however, are psychologists. Ignoring the implications of this, you search on and finally find what you seek under "Spiritual Consultants."

You finally reach Madame Somebody who gives you directions over the phone, and you get in the car and drive off, trying to contain your psychic energy so that there will be something for her to read.

The place, when you find it, has the neon outline of the palm of a hand, just as you hoped. It also has a sign that says "Psychic," another sign that says "Palm Reader" and one that says "Open." The door is locked.

The place looks as if it may have once been a car rental office, with huge plate-glass windows facing the sidewalk.

You can see a door in the rear so you walk around and enter.

A woman comes out from a back room and apologizes for the plumbing problems she's been having.

She tells you to have a seat at the small table in the center of the almost bare room.

You sit down, fully exposed to the traffic and pedestrians passing by outside the windows. You feel as if you're inside a crystal ball.

She is young and blond and has a lovely, melodic voice.

The only things about her that remotely suggest a fortuneteller are her gold hoop earrings.

She tells you to get out two coins, make a couple of wishes and put the money in the small ceramic wishing well on the table.

Many wishes come bubbling up in your mind, and you pick the two that rise to the top the fastest and put two coins in, hoping the fact that they are pennies hasn't revealed the wrong things about you.

You ask if you can use a tape recorder, as this is what you know others have done at their readings, but she says no, that it will interfere with the vibrations.

So you try to make your vibrations very clear and concentrated for her.

Amid the sounds coming from outside of trains, planes, cars and back-up beeps, her voice has a soothing wrap-around quality.

She seems to get larger as the session goes on.

In the next room, the phone rings and she gets up and goes to answer it.

While she is gone, you steal a look around.

On the wall is a picture of the Virgin Mary right next to a chart of the signs of the zodiac.

Your psychic reappears, carrying the phone, which she places at her feet. You wonder--when it rings again--why it doesn't interfere with the reading, yet a tape recorder does.

Many of the things she tells you are just what you wanted to hear. (You may not have listened to the things you didn't want to hear.)

She tells you that your wishes will both come true (phew!) and that your mother will live a very long time.

Also, your husband is your soul companion, someone close to your daughter is pregnant and you are not to worry about your son or about money.

In fact, by the end of next year, your money problems will be solved.

"That's not too far off, is it?" she asks. You have to agree that in the long run, it isn't too far off. And after all, isn't that what you really came here for, encouragement to carry on?

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