The first time I saw a psychic, I was standing on the corner of 25th St and Park Avenue South. “I see things for you,” an older woman said as she approached me. “I see traveling. I see”¦California!” I was about to dismiss her as a loon and keep on walking, but she had me with that last bit; I had just returned from San Francisco.
“How much?” I asked. “$20,” she replied. I gave her $10. Then, in front of the Italian restaurant, she grabbed my palm. “I see a man,” she began, “He is your soul mate.” As she was talking, it occurred to me that maybe her clairvoyance had more to do with the law of averages than otherworldly gifts. What attractive, twenty-something female didn’t have some kind of man in her life? How many New Yorkers didn’t regularly visit the West Coast? After telling me my relationship was in grave danger, she took a pink paper flyer out of her bag and slapped it into my hand. I never saw her again and, despite a few semi-creepy come hither waves from various psychic storefront windows, never felt the need to consult any other medium about the state of my affairs until last week. Over iced cappuccinos with a friend, she gushed all about her meeting with a famous celebrity psychic who was currently in town from LA. The psychic had told her that she had already met her future husband and that they were going to settle down somewhere in the Midwest.”She’s amazing — she’s read all of the Desperate Housewives! You have to meet her!” she enthused. I was intrigued about the possibility of real answers. A constant worrier, I was always in a state of flux about my long-term relationship. Was I lucky to find my soul mate so soon or was I wasting the best years of my life, only to wind up alone and divorced at 35? It was a question that plagued me. That evening, I checked out the psychic’s website. It proudly displayed her numerous celeb photo ops and a quote from the LA Times that proclaimed her to be “the hottest psychic around.” I didn’t know if this necessarily made her good, but at the very least she was press savvy. With my friend’s referral, $100 bought me an hour to find out. “Sit down and please take off your shoes,” Psychic Galâ„¢ welcomed me, ushering me into a large apartment on the Upper East Side. I felt vulnerable sitting on a stranger’s couch with my feet exposed but acquiesced. “So, I am going to get in touch with your guides,” she said, closing her eyes and waving her hands in front of me in a circular motion. “Wait,” she paused dramatically. “Are you in a relationship?” I nodded yes and she smiled satisfactorily, as if this was proof enough of her powers. “Well, he just popped in here and I like his energy. Your energies are very balanced together. Your souls are connecting,” she proclaimed, a broad grin decorating her face. “How do you know?” I asked. Although I adored my boyfriend, I wouldn’t have minded being told my soul was intrinsically aligned with George Clooney or anyone else on her Hollywood client list. “Your guides are linked to my guides and they’re telling me,” she deadpanned. I guess there was no arguing with that. “What about location? Where do I end up?” “New York.” “Really? Nowhere else?” I said, thinking of how much I loved the West Coast. “Well, I also can seeâ€¦Paris,” she quickly added. I glanced down at my canvas tote bag with the words “la belle ingÃ©nue” scrawled across it and sighed, disappointed. I had paid ninety dollars more, but it was the same song and dance. Later, walking back home with no more answers to my problems than I did before, I decided that if I ever had the urge to consult an otherworldly expert about my love life, I would stick to what worked, my monthly horoscope in Cosmo. Maybe real psychics weren’t out picking up clients on the street, but, evidently, they weren’t in California schmoozing with publicists at Hollywood parties either.