The Psychics (aka Chinese Ghost Story Part 2)

“He’s VERY tall – at least 6’2”.” That sounds promising, I thought.

“Let’s see about his age; how old are you?” asked the phone psychic.  OK, aren’t YOU supposed to know the answer?  For someone who’d had reviews from people claiming she was able to tell them even the names of their future spouses, I was a little disappointed she’d already started fishing for information.  I told her anyhow, and was irked when she gave me an age that was conveniently quite a few on mine.  I mean, I’m not Madonna/J. Lo -sad, but I’m not in the business of propagating the Asian mailorder bride stereotype by dating a geriatric either.

Sensing my scepticism, she added – I can see he really looks after himself  –  I get the feeling you’re going to be very surprised to find out his age. Silence. In fact he looks more like 40-45, she offered encouragingly.  That wasn’t helpful for someone like me who’s never been into manicured metrosexuals.  The clincher, of course, was that it would be someone I’d meet at work.  That could apply to the average wage-earner, but as the Queen Bee in my dinky little organisation, who was I going to meet at work? My next kitchenhand?

I was phone-skyping, believe it or not, from my hospital bed; I’d been kept overnight for observation after one of my daily visits for monitoring of my high-risk pregnancy had raised some alarm bells.  Determined as I had been right throughout my pregnancy not to let a little fact like having a special needs baby on the way interrupt the rest of my life, I’d arranged for an overnight bag complete with laptop and mobile broadband modem to be dropped off the evening before. It wasn’t easy trying to nail a reading with this ‘psychic to the stars’ as she was known, so I wasn’t about to cancel our scheduled appointment.

So how did someone like me, raised to believe fortune-telling is the Devil’s work, end up on a psychic wild goose chase that lasted several months?  Well, to cut a long story short, it was because I’d become estranged from my church, so I decided to seek guidance from other sources.  Hearing stories about other people’s experiences, I was sufficiently intrigued to finally give it a shot.

My first consultation – by phone with someone in the USA – reeled me in after the fact.  A particular card from the psychic’s tarot deck kept making an appearance – which she herself thought was peculiar. I looked it up online, found that it commonly signified pregnancy (although most readers tended to stay away from that interpretation), then a day or two after that – I discovered I was pregnant.  That did it for me; I called her again – we both figured her ‘guide’ had been trying to clue her in and she’d missed the signs, and from then on, it became something of an addiction as I started to seek others out with abandon.

Some had better hit rates than others. Some used numerology, others read palms, runes, angel cards, had spirit guides, saw dead people; most deployed a combination of these, and almost all used tarot decks.

The no.1 question I wanted to know was what was going to happen with my pregnancy, having had two consecutive miscarriages prior to this. The US-based psychic said it was going to be difficult, but she felt the baby was going to make it to delivery.  (Correct). I consulted with her again several months later; she said I was having a girl.  I already knew it was going to be a boy, at which point she was extremely flummoxed, said she’s usually very good, apologized and said she’d felt “off” all day because of the death of a close friend, and offered to refund my money or reschedule.  I liked that she was ethical and we agreed to pick it up again a couple of days later.  This time, she said it showed that whilst there would be problems after the baby arrived, they would go away within 3-6mths, max. (Noah’s nearly 3mths old at the time of writing.)  In summary, a lot of the things she told me leaned towards the ‘sage advice’ column ie. suggestions as to how to deal with a particular situation rather than outright forecast.

Then there was the Newtown psychic recommended by a friend of a friend; some online reviews said she’s the most accurate ever encountered, so I booked a reading with her.  She asked for a couple of minutes’ meditation before she got started, presumably to get tuned in to me.  I don’t know if it was a bad connection but I just knew she had nothing when she started telling me stuff about myself that anyone can probably pick up within seconds of meeting me, without laying claim to special psychic powers (I’m assertive, a straight-talker, I stand out, yada yada).  When the cold reading seemed to be getting nowhere I started feeding her information out of frustration – and that became a pattern with a lot of my subsequent psychic consultations, which begs the question of how much is built around what you tell them and how much is actually special revelation.  In the end, because it was taped, I went back to it months after the timeline had passed and found she got pretty much every single thing wrong, which has to take special talent in itself.

Next was one I came across in an online forum – again declared by a fan as ‘the most accurate’ they’d ever encountered – so I called the number supplied and was at her place within a couple of hours.  On arrival it concerned me a little that she was trying to cover all bases mystically (Jack of all trades, master of none, etc.) – everything from the incense that was burning, to the Hindu meditation music playing in the background, to Persian rugs, Scottish runes, angel cards (from what I can gather, they’re like feel-good affirmations – they do nothing for me), framed pics of the Dalai Lama – or was it some Indian mystic – I forget; even a magical book on King Arthur and his Round Table.  The only thing missing, really, was a crystal ball – and I’m pretty sure if I’d looked hard enough I would’ve seen it sitting on one of her many bookshelves.  Plus she had a cat – I’m allergic to cats.  Then the cat, acting like it owned the place, jumped on the table and knocked over the framed pic of the holy man, then sat on it, which kinda freaked the psychic out and ruined the mood somewhat.

To top it off, after my inevitable frustration that the ‘cold reading’ was getting nowhere, I blurted out that what I really wanted to know was what was in store for my baby.  I was about 6mths along at that stage, and clearly so, due to continued complications with my pregnancy.  Her reply? Oh, I didn’t even notice you were pregnant.  I put it down to the dim lighting and smoke from the incense.  That, or she just thought I had a fat tummy.  Anyway, taking my lead, she channelled her psychic energy to my baby, broke into a reassuring smile, and said – it’s a girl, isn’t it?  I can see her playing on the floor, just over your right shoulder.  I told her it’s in fact a boy, at the same time growing worried about whether this little girl spirit was going to follow me home.

Just as I was about to give up on the whole deal, I was then told by one of my staffers about how they’d stumbled across an old Chinese fortune-teller.  She’d set up a table plus handwritten cardboard sign in the paved mall area in Haymarket offering readings for $10.  My staffer got a reading done by her, and when I was brought up as a ‘friend’ she was concerned about, the lady told her that I work in a kitchen (she thought Chinese restaurant, but, close enough) and also that my baby would be a boy – and that I (and the baby?) will be fine.  These plus other short-term predictions that turned out to be accurate, got some of us at Jackie M Inc. intrigued.  We spent the next several weeks making casual and not-so-casual detours to Haymarket on our evenings off, wandering up and down the street trying to hunt down this mystic, hoping to get our own readings done.  We never found her.  Maybe the cops got to her first and shooed her away.

Our next stop was the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival at Darling Harbour.  Convinced, thanks to that recent experience with the Chinese lady, that maybe the Asians have special access to Eastern mystical powers, we lasered in on this Thai lady for our readings.  Not only did she pick up right away that my staffer had given her a fake date of birth (done to test her), she also figured that I was her boss, although we went in separately.

With my reading, she nailed some aspects of my character – I’m very active and busy, strong but extremely flexible to the point that it gets taken advantage of, hard to get to know because of trust issues – “fewer than 5 people know you well” – extremely resilient, very adventurous, practical to a fault; using the metaphor of the squeaky wheel getting the oil – I don’t squeak much – hence I get taken for granted.  Also flattered me with others – excellent hand for business, extremely creative, lots of admirers, plus my life is about sex, power and money – by way of people wanting to give me authority in this life.  Also, this is meant to be a GREAT year for me to realise the extent of my powers – yay.

What about the baby??? Again, oh, I didn’t even realise you were pregnant.  It was all downhill from there.  She saw a boy AND a girl – but she thought one of them might actually be my business.  Ignoring the feeling she was straddling the fence somewhat, I helpfully offered that I do in fact have a daughter, and am now expecting a boy.  So she ran with that – he’s going to be very powerful, very similar in temperament to me, sensitive to noise, like the same kind of music I do – but the clincher this time – healthy – no problems at all.  Noah had already been diagnosed with a whole host of life-threatening problems in-utero.

Anyway, a week later, and some 6 weeks before my baby was meant to be due, I was in the hospital, voice-skyping with this renowned psychic.  I will be in another relationship towards the end of this year, but stronger relationship aspects lie in about a year’s time (that’s when I meet the geriatric kitchenhand).  Also, overseas travel before the end of the year, which her ‘guide’ specifically told her would be “well worth (my) while because the outcome will be good”.

Oh, and “nothing drastic around the birth of the baby” (so wrong, I don’t even know where to start).  Finally, she asked when the baby would arrive.  Her ‘guide’ was being very difficult – refused to give her a date, she said.  I was fully expecting to check out as soon as the morning shift doctor had given me the all-clear at that stage.  She persisted with her ‘guide’ and he told her – “try ten hours”.  She’ll be thinking of me that evening, she said.  Eight hours later, Noah was delivered via emergency caesarean.

Hospital
Tucked into my hospital bed on Mothers’ Day after being held for observation. My kid was thoughtful enough to pack my Hello Kitty in the overnight bag she’d dropped off.
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