The smells of fried, greasy goodness, permeated the air. Sounds of laughter, screams, and rings from the carnival rides hit me like an impenetrable wall as soon the gatekeeper tore my ticket and I pushed past the turn style and into the crowds. My radar narrowed in the roasted corn stand and I made a beeline to my first treat.
Each year, as a family event, we would go to the LA County Fair. This year, I decided to forgo the fair altogether instead of dealing with the memories and then my boss asked me to do some trade show recon and so, this weekend, I found myself in the midst of cheap carnival games and every kind of fatty food you could think of.
A few weeks prior, I was chatting with a work friend and she told me that each year she visited the fair and had her palm read. “Do you really believe in that stuff?” I asked her dubiously. She proceeded to tell me the accuracy of her readings each year and encouraged me to make a visit. “I don’t really believe in that stuff,” I said, “And besides, I’ve kinda tried to stay away all my life.” She laughed and said, “Well, I’m dying to know when that awesome man is gonna come and sweep you off your feet.“
You and me both, Sister.
I relayed the story to the two friends that were with me and they both wanted to try it as they’d never had their palms read either. So, we decided why not and found the nearest booth. I found myself nervous as I waited for my turn outside the big yellow tent. Was I gonna find out that I would be alone forever? Would I find out that I would make a bazillion dollars and live on my own island of the coast of somewhere beautiful? What would she tell me and would I want to hear it?
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I sat down and faced a normal-looking woman (I’m pretty sure I thought fortune-tellers had turbans and a crystal ball), but I certainly didn’t expect to burst into tears 2 minutes into my reading. After my reading, I left the tent and my girlfriends and I chatted and laughed, excited about what each of us was told. My fortune teller was scarily accurate with her insights and her almost afterthought, spoken as I was getting up from the chair, rang in my ears, “Don’t trust anyone. Keep everything to yourself. Do not, Do not share your thoughts. Keep them to yourself. Close to your heart. Do not trust people.” Um, well, crap. Not only do I wear my heart on my sleeve and I share everything I am thinking to all my friends, but I write a freaking blog that basically blabs my heart out to the entire world wide web on a daily basis. Hmmm…too late?
After some rides, all of which seemed unstable and a 10:00 news story waiting to happen, we proceeded to eat pretty much everything in sight. Really, how does one eat fried everything…smothered in butter? Roasted corn, Crawfish Etoufee, Dippin’ Dots, hot dogs, fried Twinkies, and a brick (literally) of curly fries.
And then we got the idea to have another palm reading at a different tent and compare notes. As I sat there for the second time of the day, waiting for someone to tell me about my life –past, present, and future, a woman walked up (whom I later found out was the head fortune teller –the one whose name was on all the tents and did readings for celebrities all the time) and pointed at me. “You,” she said, “Come here.” Intimidated, a followed her into the tent and for the next ten minutes, she told me a parallel version of the reading I received that morning, but with more confidence and matter of factness. Then she proceeds to tell me that I “have a man that I am holding in my heart–someone I instantly connected with romantically, but he’s not in my life” (I’m pretty sure she means Adam Levine. I totally connected with him instantly and he’s not in my life…yet.) and that I have “psychic ability, but don’t know how to use it.” Um, okay. She also told me that I needed a “spiritual cleansing” for the “additional cost of $$$, but the fair price is $$.” I politely decline and head out in search of a funnel cake.
Walking around the rest of the evening doing the work I was actually sent out to do, I thought about what I was told that day. Neither psychic actually told me anything new about myself (Well, maybe the “psychic ability” part. Career change?). They shared with me stuff that I had discovered over the years and written in journals and blogs. They were pretty spot on most things, but what I realized is that at that moment while sitting inside a yellow tent, while they looked intently into my eyes, the one thing they gave me was something that I have craved for a long time. Something that I feel is a basic need for all humans. Something that most of the time I don’t even have for myself.
They understood. They saw the me that I keep hidden. I didn’t need to know if I was going to win the lottery or when I would marry Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome (It’d be nice to know, but I digress). They understood me at that moment and for me, that alone was worth my ten dollars.
I guess no one will ever fully understand who I am. Hell, I don’t even understand me most days. The people who try to though (that don’t require the $10 fee) are the ones that I want and need in my life. By the time I got home, I had talked to my three closest friends about my experience and I realized that I had already surrounded myself with those people. Ones that truly understood me –past and present and the person I strive to be in the future.
I told my work friend about my experience and how for $$$ I could get a “spiritual cleanse and past life reading,” she laughed, invited me to dinner next week and told me that we’d just find a YouTube video on how to do a DIY spiritual cleanse.