I recently learned that a friend of mine is a clairvoyant. A psychic clairvoyant, to be precise. I don’t yet know the distinction, but I’m sure it’s better than just being a brunette clairvoyant or a tall clairvoyant. Although being any kind of clairvoyant, which I discovered to mean ‘clear vision’, is impressive to me in light of my recent astigmatism diagnosis.
I’m sure they come in all makes and models, but in my limited experience with mediums, they only look like Whoopi Goldberg. Yet this friend of mine looks nothing like Whoopi Goldberg. Or even Nicole Goldberg, who I knew in high school and who always had so much gossip on the rest of us that I sometimes wondered if she might be clairvoyant. It was startling to me and disrupted my grasp of space-time to learn that my decidedly non-Whoopi-nor-Nicole-Goldberg-looking friend is a clairvoyant. The experience is similar to that jarring scenario in which you find yourself walking beside someone you know pretty well when they suddenly light up a cigarette and you had no idea they smoked. You want to play it cool, like maybe you, too, smoke and no one knows about it, but you just can’t stop staring and coughing in between pauses in the conversation.
The way I came to realize her post was what really stopped me short. It just came up casually in conversation. And no one freaked out. Everyone behaved as though she’d said she was a caterer or a public safety officer. I only have to mention that I used to work for the company that created Gossip Girl and at least 3 women fall to the floor in an immediate seizure. I once was at a cocktail party at which a man introduced himself as a professional puppeteer and in no time at all people were handing him throw pillows and salt shakers and asking him to make characters out of them. I even once shared an apartment with a stripper, a revelation that draws gasps all around. I soon came to overlook her occupation given she knew the best places to get a burrito in the middle of the night. The point is that while these jobs may seem unique, anyone can do them with a little work or some exotic oils. These people are not born with a gift.
In truth, I didn’t respond in grandiose fashion either. But that was because I was intensely preoccupied with the worry that she knew I wasn’t wearing underwear. Later in the week, after I had time to compose myself and to launder some undergarments, I approached her about it in the schoolyard. I broached the topic distractedly, in that casual way one might try to get the Dermatologist at a party to eyeball an errant mole without having to book an appointment. I waited for her to transmute before me into a Madame Slovinka, swirling her fingers atop her crystal ball. Instead she fished a business card out of the middle consul of her car and pressed it into my hand. At the moment our hands collided, I expected a jolt, an unfurling of images, at once familiar and new, to shudder through my mind’s eye. As I turned, it occurred to me that just because it hadn’t happened to me didn’t mean it hadn’t happened to her.
I called back over my shoulder, “I just might call you.”
Climbing into my own car, I wondered if she already knew that I would. And that I would make sure to wear underwear when I did.
Despite my piqued curiosity to know what she sees when she looks at me, I haven’t called her. I suppose I’m afraid of what I might learn from her. Never one to look away from a roadside crash or a naked celebrity picture gone viral, I’m concerned that I won’t be judicious in parsing what I would benefit from knowing and what should remain mysterious to me. I’m stricken with a wave of panic when the receptionist at the dentist asks me if I’d like to book the date for my next cleaning six months from now. I can only imagine my dread at the foreknowledge of far-off cataclysmic life events.
And, above all, I’m terrified that I’ll start doing bra-less pottery and listening to Unchained Melody.