This city is full of psychics, both high-end and low-end. But can any of them actually foretell what's tk? We'll only know when we all go back and reread this occasional feature in twenty years. Do you have a psychic you'd recommend we see? Let us know.
One afternoon at 2:00, which was exactly one hour after she'd said she'd arrive, a busty brunette in a skimpy red sundress burst through the doors of Gawker headquarters and sprinted towards me. It was Julia Allison, of course, coming to take me to a psychic in Staten Island. The kicky rhythm of her four-inch rope espadrilles on the hardwood floor was the loudest thing that had happened in the office all day, but it was quickly one-upped by her voice. "Aren't you SO EXCITED!" she asked-told me as she enfolded me in a candy-smelling embrace. And then she grabbed my hand and the next thing I knew I was beside her in that vaunted convertible Mercedes, speeding as quickly as it's possible to speed down a traffic-clogged street in Soho, accompanied by Whitney Houston ("I Wanna Dance With Somebody"). That's when reality began to blur, so I've had to reconstruct the next part of the afternoon by looking at my sent and received text messages.
To: Josh, 2:20 pm
Now she is getting gas and everyone is staring. It's like an Aerosmith video.
To: Doree, 2:49 pm
"I think this song would be better with the top down"
To: Josh, 3:03 pm
This is the fourth construction worker we've asked for directions
From: Josh, 3:04 pm
Are you even off Crosby street?
We really may as well not have been. For an hour, we had been driving around lower Manhattan, looking for the entrance to the Battery Park tunnel, or sort of half-looking while we talked about jobs, love, family, body image, eating disorders, workouts, boys, feminism and shopping. Basically it was a slumber party crossed with a Cosmo ed meeting on wheels that occasionally pulled over to ask the nearest cop or friendly-seeming fellow motorist whether we were headed in the right direction (we weren't). Also for a time we were very involved in singing along to "Pussy Control" by Prince. We missed the turnoff into the tunnel four separate times. The whole time, Julia treated traffic laws like traffic suggestions or traffic hints. One of the times we missed the turnoff, we made an illegal u-turn, cut across two lanes of traffic, and ended up behind a cop car. "I wonder if the cop saw that?" Julia mused, and then confessed that she'd never gotten a ticket.
At 3:49, we pulled up outside a smallish detached vinyl-sided colonial and got out of the car. Alexandra, the psychic, came to her front door to chide us for being late. I couldn't see her that well through the storm door, but I could tell that she was 40ish and blonde and wearing black leather and clutching a small white dog. The dog was wering a blue bandanna. In a slightly put-out tone, she instructed us to go out back and wait by the pool. "We should have called to say we'd be late, but shouldn't she have forseen it?" Julia said, winking like Jessica Rabbit.
The pool was about the size of a lawn chair but very refreshing to stick your feet in, which we did as we waited for Alexandra and Mr. Fluffy to prepare to receive us. Soon we were ushered into the basement, which was decorated in 80s lady (white leather sectional, recumbent bike, treadmill, pink dried flower wreath, tv set with videos including 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle' resting on top). I peed in the pink, raspberry-and-lit-matches scented bathroom (ornamental soap shaped like butterflies, no t.p.) while Julia got comfortable in the white leather easy chair where you sit while Alexandra, who has a public access show called "Alexandra's Psychic Eye," tells your fortune.
First Alexandra put her hand over Julia's hands and then she asked Julia some very specific questions. At first, I thought the asking questions part was a copout that meant Alexandra was basically just an ad hoc therapist who talked about energy and past lives. But as the session progressed, I became more and more impressed with her psychic abilities. Julia, it turns out, was a man in many of her past lives. "So men are attracted to your feminine looks, but then they're confused by your masculine energy. You're like General Patton: in every situation you need to be in control." Julia then demonstrated this tendency by badgering Alexandra with a ton of rapid-fire questions about specific career stuff. Alexandra told her straight up that she wasn't going to get anywhere like that. "You need to be more gentle, more nurturing. Women are natural nurturers. Women have inner space," she explained. "You need to stop being General Patton and start being Mother Earth." Then she started talking about how Julia was going to have a cooking show, maybe after moving back to the Midwest where her roots lie, even though Julia hates cooking and doesn't want to go back to Chicago ever. She also advised Julia to change her name to Julie.
I was trying hard to pay attention, but Mr. Fluffy had taken an incredibly strong amorous interest in all of my limbs. I didn't want to interrupt the reading, but eventually I had to draw the line at being extremity-raped by a bichon frise. "You have a lot of dog energy!" Alexandra observed as she took Mr. Fluffy into her arms. "We talked about this, Mr. Fluffy!" she admonished him.
When it came to disciplining Julia, though, Alexandra was a bit sterner. "You need to be real. You're just not real," she told her at one point. She also didn't bullshit Julia about the long-term potential of her latest suitor, a young guy who got too rich too quickly off a website he started in college. "This guy's a player, a joke. I see it lasting another six weeks, max."
Then it was time for my reading. Alexandra won me over immediately when the first thing she said to me was "I'm getting a [first initial of the boy I have a crush on]. Who is [initial]?" but I recognize that she had a one in twenty-six chance of nailing that one. Well, whatever, she said that he really likes me and that I shouldn't be so afraid of him. Just for that I pretty much consider my $100 well-spent, even though, during my energy healing, Mr. Fluffy renewed his relationship with my left calf just as I was really successfully imagining pink light escaping through the crown of my head and reaching out and enfolding the people I love.
Later, in the car going home, Julia and I talked about the highlights of our readings. We were both pretty happy with Alexandra's prognostications, but Julia was disappointed that things weren't going to work out between her and the website dude. "I'm in the mood to fall in love, Emily! I want him to fall madly in love with me." "Well, maybe he will," I said. "She's not psychic." God, long day.