I distinctly remember that being the statement made to Charlotte in Sex and the City after she went downtown to a dubious fortune teller with limited English who then promised that for a hundred dollars she could remove the curse.
I had something similar happen to me today.
In the course of my Wembley Curry Odyssey (my latest challenge, which naturally involves eating in every Indian Restaurant in the ‘hood to see which one is best, so that I can look like a veritable Curry Expert to visiting dignitaries such as members of my family and close personal friends, should they ever deign to visit me in North West London) I found myself popping into my local coffee place for a quick takeaway coffee (the coffee isn’t great, but it’s the only place in the Greater Wembley area that does lattes). The coffee kiosk is located in a shopping centre of sorts, with a dubious-sounding name like Wembley Plaza, and I found myself staring down the forbidding looking corridor right at a board advertising palm readings.
I’m not quite sure what I expected-to my disappointment Mystic Meg wasn’t sat outside gazing eerily up at me from her crystal ball-but I tiptoed along the corridor to see a small woman in a headscarf, apparently locked inside with no customers.
I knocked on the door and enquired how much a palm reading cost, to which the woman answered £10, so I decided to go ahead, given that the maintenance on the building must have been less than that on the seaside resort gypsy caravans one finds on the ends of piers that usually cost twice the price.
She then phoned the “pandit” who does the readings, apparently he’d just popped out to buy a newspaper-it must have been a slow day-and asked me to write my name and date of birth on a piece of paper, as well as asking me how many people lived in my house (bizarre), the names of my parents and siblings and my occupation. After she’d done this an awkward silence descended as we waited for the pandit so I decided to make small talk by asking her if she lived in Wembley. She took off her headscarf and answered, “No, I have plait,” showing me her plaited hair.
Not quite sure what she thought I’d said there.
Anyway, fortunately the pandit arrived shortly afterwards and told me my lucky number was seven (isn’t everyone’s?) and showed off his psychic skills by the fact that he had written this down before I had even said it (he had asked me to name a number between one and nine). He then examined my hands before revealing the following not-at-all obvious or general truths (bear in mind he already knew my name, age, occupation and marital status, and that I lived alone).
1.) I am from a good family, my parents were kind hearted and raised me to be the same.
2.) My family are neither rich nor poor, but of the “middling sort.”
3.) I have a good education.
4.) At the moment, I spend all the money I earn.
The latter not terribly difficult to work out given the fact that I’d just spent ten of my hard-earned pounds paying a charlatan I’ve never met before in a room filled with pictures of Hindu gods to tell me all about my personality and potential future.
He then went on to say that I would be fine financially, and that I would be able to afford a car and two houses (yes, TWO. This was totally the best thing he said. I am so getting another property).
And then he said that people were jealous of me and were talking about me behind my back and giving me the “Evil Eye.” He went on about this for AGES AND AGES. I was hoping he would get off the topic and tell me something more interesting. Like, for example, that I was going to be a world-famous novelist, or meet a tall, dark handsome stranger (that old chestnut) or start popping out some babies in the near future, but all he could bang on about was these “bad people” who were giving me the Evil Eye and how this was hindering my general progress in life.
He also said my love life was pretty bad, so at least there was some truth to his ramblings.
He then said that I could purchase some spells and prayers to help combat the Evil Eye. In fact, he basically said that I could pay him to do some yoga and he would get rid of the Evil Eyes for me.
PAY HIM TO DO SOME BLOODY YOGA???!!!
I politely declined, and enquired about more pressing matters, such as whether I should change my job (he asked if this was because I didn’t like my colleagues, perhaps hinting that it was they who were giving me the Evil Eye, then when I answered that it was just that I’d been there a while and fancied a change he was really vague and implied that whatever I did would be fine and I’d still get the car and the two houses. Very important that, the two houses).
I also asked if I would get married, and to my abject horror, he answered straight away that I had already missed two chances to do this.
TWO CHANCES! My life flashed before me, trying to think when these two chances might have been. Was I drunk? Did I sleep with them too soon and they ran off, these potential husbands? The pandit just muttered something about the “planets not being aligned.” Yeah, right.
Lastly, I asked him the all-important question of whether I would have children. He examined my hands thoroughly, squinting to see if there were any lines which presumably indicated my future possible children. I swear we used to do something similar in primary school.
Finally, just as I thought he was going to tell me I’d missed my chances at that as well, he said I had “five or six” chances ahead of me, and of these potential children, two were boys and the rest girls.
I’d better get a wiggle on, as my good-hearted and middle class parents would say.