I don’t know about the psychics in your town but in L.A. I don’t think the economy has been very kind to the Psychic set. Many a Psychic business has a big ‘for sale’ sign on their establishment. Madame Yvonne, Madame Claudia and Madame Ethel have all either gone out of business and/or have moved their Psychic trade to bigger or better environs( I have a hunch it is the former and not the later).
While I am not now and never have officially been psychic that has not stopped me from going into the prediction business in a big way. I spoke in my last post of all of my “I cant’s” which had the emphatic tones one might expect of Madame Claudia—only I imagine her predictions are more positive and more along the lines of: “You will travel, find love, meet a handsome stranger, have some adversity that you will overcome and there will be money” or she would have gone out of business much sooner, no one wants to pay good money to hear “Everything you want to do you can’t do.”
Well, the good news for me was that all of my predictions were free. I didn’t have to call a 976 number to get a prediction or make an appointment or wait for anyone to dust off a crystal ball or shuffle some tarot cards— no, I was always available to predict how things were going to go. I was an all area, all occasion and all topic prognosticator. My readings were instant and emphatic, with never a bit of ambiguity to them. Madame Tracey was bold, brazen and available 24-hours a day. She was especially active in the evenings. She tended to do a lot of midnight readings when I was suffering from insomnia and she would keep me up with her predictions of doom, failure and suffering.
Here’s how a reading with Madame Tracey would go: I would choose to do something or go somewhere or take an action of some kind and that is when Madame Tracey would pop up, replete in an archetypal ensemble of a Gypsy turban, a velvet shawl and an armful of bracelets. She would cluck her warnings and admonishments as her bangles clanked, “Ooh, that’s a bad idea,” she would warn. “That will never go well. What are you thinking? He won’t like you. You will fail at that. There is no way you should do that. You should cancel. Cancel now. You are going to humiliate yourself. Stop. Really, seriously stop that. I can tell you with 100% accuracy that this will NEVER work. Listen to me.”
For many a year I blindly took the council of Madame Tracey and I didn’t realize that under the velvet, jewels and crystal ball was a big ball of fear and that what was masquerading as intuition was in fact the inner critic. I, for far too long, took her unwise, negative and naysaying council. Only, you see, in the last three years when I could have really used some intuition to guide me through some big changes in my life, Madame Tracey continued to tell me that everything was going to hell and that I was going to fail and that there was no way I could do x,y or z.
Last March when I attended the Harvard Writing Conference I took Madame Tracey with me. I could barely hear the lectures for all of her predicting. “You don’t belong here” she warned me, “You should leave.” And when it was time to go into the room where the publishers and agents listened to would-be authors pitches that is when Madame Tracey got serious. “No, really, you need to listen to me. I am telling you this for your own good. None of them will like you. They will ALL hate you. They are going to think your idea is incredibly stupid. You are going to be humiliated if you could actually present a pitch, but you can’t.”
For some reason, I decided to take a risk and see if she was right. I pitched to the first guy, a 60-something Irishman from a prestigious Ivy-league University. I decided if I was going to fail I would fail with the man in the room who MOST looked like my father. You see, I had loads of experience with rejection and judgement from him( my father), so I thought it wise to pick his doppleganger. Only this 60-something Irishman didn’t reject, lambast, or ridicule me. Madame Tracey grew louder, “That was a fluke. Trust me, everyone else in the room will do as I predicted.” Something about having the experience of Ivy-league school publisher love my book idea and have him hand me his business card and tell me to contact him emboldened me to try again and ignore the predictions. I did, and by the time I had everyone in the room interested in my book Madame Tracey grew especially truculent. “Yeah, I know that it seemed like that went well. But they are just being nice. They don’t really like your idea. And that last agent, no way was he interested in your writing. You are definitely not good enough for him.” The joy of having over twenty publishers and agents all seemingly very interested in my topic was dampened by her paranoid predictions.
A week after arriving home from that conference I was contacted by that agent that Madame Tracey told me was really not that into me ( I think she even told me that he hated my idea). A month later this supposed hater was my agent. The same week that I signed with my agent I fired Madame Tracey. The ending was, as you can imagine, filled with dire warnings about what would happen if I let her leave. Even though she is no longer in my employ, Madame Tracey still comes around. She still likes to tell me about the future and failures that are just around the corner. I haven’t yet found a way to totally get her out of my head. I have looked into a psychic restraining order and yet I haven’t figured out how to install such a thing. What I do now is hear her predictions and I remind her how wrong she has always been and of all the times her predictions have been wrong, and that shuts her up for a little while. I also thank her for trying to protect me, only thatI don’t need her protecting anymore. She seems to appreciate that I understand her motives were not all malevolent. Hopefully someday Madame Tracey will retire all together and go wherever it is that Madame Claudia, Yvonne and Esther went to once they went out of business. Maybe the Home for the Retired Intuition Workers, that would be a good place for her as she’s worked very hard for all these years and deserves a gold watch, a good retirement and sometime on the shuffle board court.