Monday, March 10, 2014

Like Flypaper For Freaks

**This ended up being much longer than I had originally intended, but I think it is worth the read.  So kick back, get comfy, and read on.**

Earlier today I had a woman approach me, seemingly appearing from nowhere.  She asked me for the time, and as I was checking my phone she told me I had nice hair and basically started petting my head.  It was odd.  People that I have mentioned it to find it creepy.  It is a bit creepy, I guess, but weird things like this happen to me all of  the time.

You want a really good example of what I mean, of why a stranger petting my head does not seem too strange to me?  Let me take you back ...

A few years ago my friend and I went on a trip to New Orleans.  We'll call my friend Glinda from now on to protect her privacy.  We happened to be there for the week that included the end of Mardi Gras.  This story has nothing to do with Mardi Gras itself, but it is important because we would otherwise probably have been staying in a different hotel in a far less....interesting area of town.  By "interesting" I mean the hotel told us that we should always take the hotel shuttle or a cab, never try to walk back to the hotel in the dark, and even to be careful walking down the block to Burger King during the day as someone had recently been mugged doing just that.

Glinda and I had been out wandering about in the French Quarter.  We were headed back to the hotel, so we were dutifully waiting in the assigned spot for the hotel shuttle.  I remember there was a drug store -- CVS, I think -- across the street.

As we were waiting for the shuttle we saw a strange woman walking up and down the other side of the street.  She was carrying on quite a conversation with herself, and  then she would randomly ask people for money and get seriously pissed off if they told her no or ignored her.  I don't know that she was homeless, but she was sporting some interesting attire and her hair was a mess.  Eventually she wandered off far enough that Glinda and I were able to get into the store without encountering her.

We made our purchases and went back out and across the street to keep waiting for our lovely shuttle.  The strange woman from earlier returned, and she was working her way up our side of the street.  I have no idea if she was high or just mentally not all there.  This time we were able to hear her asking people for change -- not money in general, but specifically change.  We couldn't leave as our shuttle was due at any time.  Glinda and I came up with a plan: I had about a dollar in quarters in my pocket.  If she got to us before our shuttle arrived then I would give her the change and we would hope she continued on her merry way.

Of course the damn shuttle did not arrive.  I had the change ready in my hand.  The woman was muttering under her breath as she approached.  Instead of asking us for change, as we had assumed she would, she kept muttering and shoved me off the sidewalk into the street, almost in front of a cab.  

Skip forward a bit to Glinda and I having returned to the hotel. It was either later that afternoon or the next day, I don't remember which, and we were sitting outside in the courtyard of our hotel.  We were enjoying the sun and warm weather, away from the craziness outside of the hotel.  Another hotel guest asked if she could join us at our table.  Why not?

We were all chatting for a while, and our new friend told us that she was a psychic.  She asked if we would like her to do a reading for us.  (No, she never asked for any money.)  Free psychic readings?  Of course we said yes.

Glinda went first.  All the woman did was hold her hand -- not a palm reading -- and look at her.  She told Glinda that she saw dollar signs around her, that she would do well financially.  She also told Glinda that she was going to meet and fall in love with a blonde man.  Nice reading!

The woman asked if I would like a reading as well.  Hell yeah!  Bring on Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome, please!

I gave her my hand, ready to hear awesome things like she had told Glinda.  She told me I had a big heart.  Aw, that's sweet!  Then she stared at me for a while without saying anything....and then she told me that was it.  She couldn't read me as I was "blocking" her, a very strong block.  What?  No!  I'm not doing anything.  I want to know -- Mr. Right?  Anything?

Nope.  That was it.

We chatted for a while more and ended up telling her about the weird woman who had almost shoved me in front of a taxi.  Our new psychic friend knew who we were talking about!  She and her son had seen the woman doing the same thing outside of a club the previous night.  I mean she described the woman's outfit and hair perfectly.  No way she was making it up -- they had seen the same lovely lady.  New Orleans is a crazy place crammed full of people near Mardi Gras.  What were the chances she had seen the same woman?  So strange.

Then she let the bomb drop: she didn't think the woman was on drugs or crazy, but might have been possessed.  Even better?  She said I had been cursed by the weird woman when she shoved me off of the sidewalk.

Wait, what?

I was not amused.  She couldn't tell me anything other than that I had a big heart because I was "blocking" her, but had no problem telling me that a strange woman on the street had put a curse on me?  Not cool.

Our psychic friend told me that I needed to pick two long fronds off of the palm tree in the hotel courtyard, and then make them into the shape of a cross.  Once I had made the cross I was to hit myself with it three times while asking for the curse to be removed, then sleep with the frond cross near my bed.  Fabulous.

I was skeptical.  I was also not about to ignore the advice of our psychic friend and possibly be cursed.  We were in New Orleans after all, and I did not need any kind of bad voodoo or juju being placed on me.  I did exactly what our psychic friend told me to do.  It was a totally ridiculous situation.  I felt silly doing it.  I'm also pretty sure that, as we speak, I am not cursed.  I will make an ass of myself any day if it might keep me from being cursed.

I know some of you are questioning whether that would actually work.  You might think our psychic friend was just messing with us and making it all up.  I don't blame you.  I thought there was a good possibility of it at the time.

Let me add a bit of credibility to our psychic friend.  Remember the awesome things that she told Glinda? They turned out to be dead-on accurate.  She isn't a millionaire by any means, but she makes a comfortable living.  Her husband?  Yup.  He's blonde.

I might have "blocked" her somehow, and I didn't get to hear about Mr. Right showing up at some point (still single here, universe) but I am pretty sure that I avoided being cursed.  I'm happy with that.

That would also explain why a strange woman petting my head and telling me I have nice hair does not faze me that much.  Weird shit happens to me.  A lot.

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