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ON CALIFORNIA

California There They Go, La La La

September 29, 1993|PETER H. KING

Her name is Constance See. She is 37 years old and, to quote from her own press release, is a psychic and hypnotherapist "well known for her personal insight and intuition." Her husband designs earrings, "little dogs that wiggle, stuff like that." Once they lived in Greater Los Angeles. Now they don't.

Three months before the Rodney King riots, the press release informs, they "moved away from the tension and fear building in Southern California." Psychic powers can come in handy. They bought 20 acres of land on a little island off Washington state. See won't say exactly where her island is located: "It's so beautiful I don't want to tell." What a sport.

See used to offer her psychic insights to movie stars. "If it was available," she said, "it was shared." Now she is attempting to carve a new niche for herself in the American economy--evacuating Southern Californians. Her company is called "City Seekers." In a nutshell, it aims to match people--for fees that range up to $45--with the place of their dreams. The intent is to create a national service, but so far all her business has come from people fleeing you know where.

Perhaps this is because, like everyone says, California has become one big evacuation zone, the new Dunkirk. Or perhaps it is because See's only ads have run in a California magazine that caters to New Age clientele. Asked to describe a typical client, See offered this: "A doctor called me last Friday and asked me to find him a town where he could operate a greenhouse for organic herbs. His main requirement was that it not have any electromagnetic lines nearby."

You get the picture, no?

*

Myself, I called her after spotting a press release about City Seekers. The notion of Californians fleeing to sagebrush and mushroom country used to upset me. I since have made my peace with the concept. I find it more than a little funny that we Californians still fret so much over who is leaving. If some people want to winter in Nevada, let them. Everyone forgets that three years ago the burning policy question in California was how to corral runaway growth. A little thinning out can be a good thing. Freeways run faster and real estate agents return your calls. The important stuff.

When I reached See by telephone we began, as all conversationalists begin, with a discussion of the weather. I described the sun pouring through the oaks and into my window. And so, I asked, how hard is it raining up there? She seemed to have anticipated the question.

"It is sunny and beautiful," she said, only a little bit haughty in her tone. "Seventy-four degrees." In fact, she went on, there is only one town in Washington that receives less rainfall than her new home. She went on some more. She told me all about the rain forest nearby, and the clam harvest, and the crime rate, and number of hypnotherapists working in town (16). I now know a lot more about a town in Washington than I ever intended, but thoroughness is See's main pitch.

"We dig up the dirt and give the information no one else would," her press release promised. For example, beyond car theft counts and cancer rates and the rest, City Seekers "will inform you of any Native American sacred lands nearby to recharge your internal battery." Before long, See intends to provide clients with geographic breakdowns of "paranormal activities," UFO sightings and the like. When moving to a new town, it's always good to know if aliens might be at the wheel of the Welcome Wagon.

*

See was born in Ohio but raised in Southern California. "A beach bunny," she said. I asked her why she left and received the standard recital. Guns and smog and traffic jams, bad water and bars on the windows and movie stars fleeing for Montana. No one ever said we were perfect.

I asked See what, if anything, she missed. "I miss the wonderful restaurants and the 24-hour activity. I miss that life. I miss the flash. I miss the style. I miss the diversity. But," she added quickly, "my stress level has dropped. My blood pressure has lowered. I had lost my focus in Los Angeles. My ability to concentrate dissipated. Here my quality of life accelerated."

Yes, I said, I can understand all that. But what about the beaches? Certainly you miss the beaches.

"Well, you can't sunbathe here," she conceded. She paused a count. "I guess you just have to get your melanoma someplace else."

Unbeatable. Well, anyway, goodby, Constance. Have a nice life up there, wherever you are. And for those who might expect me to give you her number, forget about it. She's the psychic. Stand tight. She'll find you.

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