Signs and portents.

Our writing group is experimenting with meeting at restaurants lately, instead of the coffee shop we’d been using for so long. Tonight’s meeting was at an Irish place in Berkley; Tuesdays are Psychic Night — five minutes free with every entree (tip appreciated).

I don’t believe in psychics, although I’ve had some freaky moments with them. At my high-school graduation, a card reader told me I was going to be a writer. An old man read my palm in a Key West bar in 1980, When I was 22 years old. He said “You’ll be married twice and have one child.”

As time passed and it looked like the second half of his prophecy was true, I’ve been wondering who my second husband will be. I’m hoping it’s not a 29-year-old aide in my nursing home, marrying me for my money.

Tonight’s psychic didn’t ask if I had any questions or anything, just looked at me and said, “You’re thinking of quitting something. Don’t quit. You need to keep trying. Don’t give up.” She went on to tell me my parents were standing on either side of me, wishing me well. “They’re in a beautiful place,” she said, evidently an Irish-themed restaurant in suburban Detroit. There was some more about my parents that made no sense at all, including the news that my mother was happily taking care of my father, which struck me as a load of crap, because if you can’t take care of yourself in the afterlife, what’s the point?

“Who is Matthew?” she asked. “Michael? Something like that.”

“No idea,” I said. This was a cheap trick, I thought; who doesn’t know a Michael? She wrapped up by saying my daughter needs loving support (this was a message direct from my mother, she added), and that I must have lost a pregnancy somewhere along the line, “because you were supposed to have a boy, too.” News to me.

Hmm. Well, it was free.

The reading capped a busy day. Election Day is a school holiday in these parts, perhaps so that children can tag along and watch their parents do their civic duty. Which means, in this district, that it’s time for the PTO to screen a kids movie at the Shores Theater — we see a couple-three a year on these isolated days off. Today’s was “Chicken Little,” and I can report it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, but it only goes to show the Pixar standard remains Pixar’s alone.

You know what bugs me in so many kids movies? The inside jokes for the grown-ups. We know the pig character is gay because his mom threatens to take away his Barbra Streisand records, and he gains courage in a tight moment from singing “I Will Survive.” I heard parents snickering appreciatively at these weak witticisms, but I wasn’t one of them. If I’m going to be dragged to “Chicken Little,” I’m going to suck it up and enjoy it on its own terms, and a few wink-winks won’t make it sting any less. In fact, it just bugs me. Again: See Pixar if you want to know how to do it right. A hint: It’s all in the script.

Posted at 11:26 pm in Uncategorized |

5 responses to “Signs and portents.”

  1. Jane said on November 9, 2005 at 12:38 am

    See Berube’s exegesis of “Chicken Little.” His account encourages me to see the movie.

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  2. basset said on November 9, 2005 at 9:25 am

    on a rather less academic note… sometimes you have to wonder about that fortune-telling stuff. all but a minuscule portion of it is obvious scammery, but every once in awhile they hit the spot.

    my mother was English, and old enough that when she was a kid there were still gypsies, bona fide real gypsies, roaming around the countryside in horse-drawn wagons.

    when she was about twelve or thirteen one of the gypsies told her fortune. I think she had her palm read, maybe it was tea leaves, doesn’t matter.

    said she would grow up to move far away… true, to the USA. would bear four sons and three would live… also true.

    both sides of the family are riddled with ghosty bump in the night spiritual types, old women who would sit by the fire and have visions, talk to the spirits in the house, that kind of thing.

    after she died we found a tiny velvet ring box packed away in a jewelry case with four little coins, farthings, inside in a twist of paper. all of them dated about the time she would have had that fortune told.

    I have to wonder if she knew something.

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  3. Steph said on November 9, 2005 at 7:47 pm

    Funny…she asked me if I knew a Michael, too.

    I do, but he’s a minor character in my life. Guess everyone knows a Mike.

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  4. Dave said on November 9, 2005 at 8:49 pm

    My wife and her mother went to see a psychic, well before I ever met her. She told my mother-in-law she would be a widow within five years and she was, mind you, they would have been in their forties at the time. She told my wife she would marry once, be the mother of three children. Got that right, too. Just like Bassett, you’ve got to wonder just a bit.

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  5. Amy Alkon said on November 12, 2005 at 11:05 pm

    “Lost a pregnancy”? That’s rich.

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