A few months ago, I spent some time looking up. And looking forward. And looking at my palms, which were read by a woman pulling on a cigarette somewhere in Nolita around 10pm on a Saturday night.
Sporting a floral muumuu and a zero you-know-whats given attitude, she looked like everything I dreamed a New York psychic would be.
I’d had this particular date with destiny — seeing a psychic, that is — since moving here. Mostly it was for entertainment purposes, but if the powers that be were waiting for me to check my messages, who was I to delay? And anyway, seeking a little quarter-life crisis clarity from a bonafide NYC walk-in psychic is the very stuff Saturday night dreams are made of.
“Mind if I take a drag?” she asked me and the three other 20-somethings huddled around her table, before getting down to business: my love life.
“You’re coming out of an extremely romantic season,” she said, staring down at my open palm.
I paused, considering her (and of course, by extension, the Universe’s) succinct summation of the past few months. It was during this “season” that I had adopted a newfound devil-may-care attitude to dating, you might say.
In my latest attempt to pick up what the Universe was putting down, so to speak, I fell into the habit of welcoming whatever thing the wind blew my way with zero expectations — if said-thing just happened to appreciate a jazz hour and/or rode a motorcycle, all the better in my book. After all, Diana Ross taught me, “You can’t hurry love; no, you just have to wait,” and this life lesson of patience and preparedness carried me through several lackluster years in the romance department. Surely after all this waiting, and my zero-expectations outlook, my ticket would be called annnnny day now.
I also assumed, having been raised on The Supremes and many other classic crooners, that the real tip the Universe attempted to instill in me all this time was that true love was out there, and I was going to find it. But so far, my findings were coming up short.
Turning back to the psychic, I answered cautiously, “I mean, I’d say it was very averagely romantic.”
This was somewhat true. My go-with-the-flow attitude meant a fairly leisurely swiping pace, though I suppose if the Universe was telling this psychic to compare my New York dating years to those prior, there was a slight uptick.
“No, no,” she chuckled, cigarette twirling as she shifted in her seat. “It was. But I see you think it wasn’t significant enough. What, you’re out there looking for love?”
Was she not a Diana Ross fan? (You can see how this “straight-from-the-Universe” feedback directly contradicted the life truths I’d been operating on up until this point.)
“Well, who isn’t?” I asked, tilting my head. Only partly kidding, I raised an eyebrow in my best imitation of “I couldn’t really care less,” but I most definitely could care less; let’s be real here.
Brandishing her cigarette like a dagger to the heart, she continued, “I can tell you’re not the type of person really interested in love. You’re too young for it anyway. Forget about all that serious stuff.”
Oblivious to the fissure that just formed in my heart, she shrugged, continuing to assail my inner romantic with more cynicism. “You should just date a lot — enjoy the fun stuff, and stop trying to find that one person to fall in love with.”
So here’s the thing: What exactly about being young makes running after something meaningful such a bad thing, anyway? I get the logic of dating a lot in order to find your match, but this ‘insight’ (that chasing down love is a waste of time in your early 20s) was a harsh thing to hear from someone supposedly so ‘in touch’ with the universe. Call me eye-rolling levels of cliché, but I think it’s okay to seek something more substantial even if you’re — gasp — young.
This psychic's unfortunate 'tip' to give up on love as long as I'm young must have been due to a faulty connection with the Universe. While Diana did inform me of the wait, I like to think it was done so in the spirit of keeping the dream alive, not in setting it away in a dusty old drawer, to be reexamined at a later date.
Anyway, it’s Valentine’s Day. And here I am: just a girl standing in front of the internet — baring her inner romantic, and telling the Universe to get this psychic a Diana Ross record.
** This look is from Valentine's Day, as there's no photographic evidence of the historic psychic visit.