Hey, Chief. Vidal is back in Mexico, and I am writing in English at the moment. He’s not exactly down with all that. I still haven’t heard from Noah. Katarina barely understands English, and Ena is still missing in action. Chloe is drowning in school, and Alia is muddling through her own poetry. Care to be my muse today? I’ve got a little story to write about the grand and mysterious synchronicity of all things. It’s about the time Chloe (X-23, the superhero), Alia (Caterpillar, the butterfly), myself (the #1 ex-monk Jew wannabe prophet meth head of Facebook), and a fortune teller we went to go see in Scottsdale before I went off to Madrid and Belgrade.
I’d actually left Mexico almost a month before to come and get my vaccine so I could travel. I hung out with my mom and Caterpillar for a while, took a flight to see my dad in Florida, then flew back to Arizona to pick up my car and take a grand tour of the US to see family.
First, I went by car up to Chicago to meet Oryana in the flesh and see her husband Gidi, who I hadn’t talked with yet. That had moments of awkwardness, as the guy spoke no English, and all I did was talk to his wife. Now that I’m hanging around all these Jews in Belgrade, I am finding my Hebrew isn’t totally gone. I should have been more aggressive about trying to talk to him. We did have a good time, though. We saw the Sears Tower, went to a vaudeville show, and I also happened to have the best hamburger anyone has ever had anywhere. Gidi is a chef, and I wanted to show him true Chicago pizza and otherwise let him know that Chicago is the #1 rated city in the US for dining. And dude, I just can’t describe that hamburger. The best part of that leg of the trip was the Cubs game, though. Cubs vs. Reds. Cubs were down 2-4 at the bottom of the 9th, bases loaded. The #6 batter hit a 4 RBI homie to end everything at 6-4. Game over. Now THAT was poetry. The #6 batter. Can you believe it?
After that I drove down the Mississippi river and finally stopped in South Texas to see cousins. Then back home to Scottsdale to drop off the car and head back to Mexico to go through the end of days with Mayra and get out of dodge. Yeah, that last Mexico bit was tough. Did I mention the flight to Florida to see my old man? I connected a lot with my stepmother. We wept together over red wine about a mutual family member going through some tough times. But in the end I was back in Arizona on the last few days of my vaccine odyssey, and I had a bit of time to spend with my girls.
Caterpillar mentioned that she and X-23 had been thinking of visiting a fortune teller. Now I had just started following Torah commandments bit by bit at the time, and my Rabbi came to mind. Jews shouldn’t be going to fortune-tellers, according to the law of Moses. But I wasn’t converted yet, so I thought about the general obligation to follow the spirit of the Torah and not specifically the letter. I think that commandment is there because most people aren’t going to think about what sort of harm a fortune teller could do to them. They won’t have a proper perspective on it, so they just shouldn’t go. But I thought maybe I had been around the block enough to make it through without being lead astray. I certainly wasn’t going to be able to stop X-23 and Caterpillar from going. So I thought I should go with them to see if I could help give a proper perspective.
Besides, I was curious. You should know by now, Chief, that I know how to get into trouble. But this wasn’t going to be one of those times. I had only seen a fortune teller once before in my life, way back when I was around twenty or so. I was certainly a different guy now. I had a couple of decades of walking with God under my belt. And besides, I was still trying to get a handle on my new way of looking at the world after talking to demons while doing methamphetamines a year and a half before. During those episodes, my personality had been broken to its core, where I met the eternal struggle between good and evil, light and dark, black and white.
Psychologists guffaw at black and white thinking, often with good reason. It is usually associated with borderline personality disorder, where a person switches at random between thinking a person is completely good or completely bad. It is also linked with a lack of circumspection and thoughtful analysis of situations and people. However, while I did have to deal with the occasional episode of interpersonal overkill, I had been noticing over the last years that it actually came in pretty handy to be able to see the angel and the demon on everyone’s shoulder. Like, if God inspires me to paint a person black or paint a person white in the right situation, one could even call the condition a kind of a sixth sense about that person. Sometimes it was as if I could see the spirit inspiring someone, and if that person were serving God or that which opposes God. In general it didn’t impair my functioning. Other things about having post-traumatic stress disorder do impair my full functionality at times. But not this. I was still able to be fully circumspect after having lived a life of an intelligence analyst, a philosopher, and a spiritual guy concerned with matters of the soul. I’d learned a lot about people and situations in my day, and that wasn’t gone. I could still see all the nuances of humanity, but I could also color things black and white on top of everything else. And it seemed that a lot of the time God was supportive of these thought processes. It came in handy. It actually gave insight. It made situations better rather than worse. At least for the most part. I hadn’t quite become comfortable with everything yet, however. I was still testing the waters of my newfound post-psychosis mental state.
So I wanted to go see this fortune teller. In one respect, it was like something out of a movie. A battle of archmagi. Gandalf against Saruman or something. The holy prophet versus the infernal witch. But really, I just wanted to know what I would see there. So while the confrontation of a prophet and a witch was a kind of romantic notion, I was also testing out my “sixth sense.” And besides, I did have my initial aim of seeing what I could show the girls about the whole thing. So I kept my mind as open as I could.
I offered to pay for the whole affair. They insisted on paying some, but when it came down to getting a full reading, I ended up pitching in extra money so everybody could get the same top level psychic treatment.
Neither of them had been to a psychic before, so I gave my impression of my first time. I said I was impressed by the experience, but I couldn’t get an idea about whether or not anything supernatural were happening because I could see myself volunteering information, and the psychic was asking me questions and I was answering them and basically getting all the information she needed just from watching me. It seemed like some advanced intuition. And to be frank, after my experiences as a strategic debriefer and interrogator manager from my Army days, well, I could pretty much do the same thing.
When we got to this psychic, however, things were different. Very different. The exact opposite, in fact. So after walking in and arranging the sessions and making initial pleasantries, I went first. The lady told me she would ask no questions. She would just start talking, and if at any time I wanted to talk to her to ask her something or say something about something, I could just jump in at any time, and she would start talking about that. It seemed almost designed to overcome my reservations.
The first thing she started talking about was that I was in a transitional period. Yes, that would be a good way to start off. In my experience, everyone is always in a transitional period in some way. It would be a good way to start any psychic session with anybody. However, the fact remains, I was in fact leaving my entire life in Mexico and was on a trip to the US seeing friends and family while making preparations to go from one side of the planet to another to embark on some kind of transcendent destiny. I think “transitional period” is a pretty good way to describe that. So my evaluation of this psychic started with an enigma.
She started talking, and talk she did. I didn’t say much. I wanted to see what she would say. I was looking at her fairly intently. I don’t remember too much about the early part of the interaction, but I will say that I was impressed with her intuition. Nothing struck me as being beyond common observational scumen, however.
At one point she mentioned the concept of achieving what I needed to achieve to be happy. That was the point where I broke in. I told her that I did have things that I wanted to achieve, but that being happy was not my end goal. I had already achieved everything people tend to want to achieve to be happy. I had had this impressive military career, I had raised a family, I was financially secure, and I had traveled the world. Further, I had had adventures with sex and drugs and lived on the wild side, and the dark side, but I had also explored deep spirituality, and finally, I had no terrible situation to escape from. I didn’t mention all those details, but I did convey I had been around the block, and none of that had much to do with what happiness I did achieve or did not achieve, and at this point my life was about fulfilling a greater purpose, whether that made me happy or not. If not, I could always be happy in heaven. I think this threw her off a bit. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the comment about heaven. I’m usually on the lookout for people getting triggered by religious references. But I got the sense that she had already pegged me as a God guy and wasn’t surprised about that. I think she was surprised by my talking about not needing to be happy, though. Everybody always wanted to be happy.
She continued on, but seemed flustered, and at one point said to me point blank that she didn’t know how much she would be helpful, telling me clearly, “you see the spirits.” I thought that was a pretty remarkable thing to say. Again, I was testing out what exactly I would see by going to this lady. I gave her some assurances. I can’t remember the words exactly, but she drove forward, telling me she saw some sort of car. This also struck me as interesting, as I had just driven across a huge swath of the United States, the third geographically largest country on earth. My interest was piqued. Could something be feeding her some kind of information? She told me I was in a point of transition, very true. She told me she saw a car. This fit my situation perfectly.
I did mention to her that I had been driving hundreds of miles on my trip. She was still flustered, though, telling me she didn’t know the significance of it, mentioning that it could reference the journey of life. That to me seemed to be a retreat to a general understanding, when I personally was a bit struck about how spot on she was. So I talked about my trip and further about my upcoming voyage to Israel.
I think this combined with our conversation about purpose and happiness, and she mentioned that I should be devoted to my family. This stung. Devotion to my family, particularly my mother, the only person in my life who I can confidently say is absolutely devoted to me, and my girls, who were waiting outside in the front office. I could only say that my responsibilities to my family weighed deeply upon me. To my core, in fact. But I had already talked with all of them about my need to go to Israel, and talked with them extensively about their lives, and gave them every opportunity to share in what I thought I had to do, to come with me even, and they all chose to continue their lives as they were. I simply had to comply with my purpose, and everyone understood this. So I would be as supportive as I could while furthering this purpose, though I doubt the pain of doing so would ever leave me.
Again she seemed baffled. The idea of having a special purpose is something utterly foreign to people, unless they are watching Steve Martin in The Jerk. She wasn’t in a position to lecture me directly, though. But she did say some things in conclusion that impressed me mightily. And again, I don’t think they came from a place of typical intuition. I saw them as something of a threat, even. Or a challenge.
She told me that if I continue on this journey, things would be difficult. That resonated with me. Serving God is rarely easy. It’s almost always the tougher path. The world doesn’t like it, and I’ve always been one to contradict the world at large. But here, when she said this, my black and white thinking kicked in, and I saw the devil on her shoulder, as it were. It was almost like some demon within her was telling me, “if you go to Israel, we are going to come after you.”
She continued by talking about the joy and peace that would come from a happy life surrounded by loved ones, and that devotion to loved ones was the nobler aim. She was correct in a lot of ways. I wavered a bit in sadness as I listened to her, but answered that I maintained my conviction that I had to do what I had to do. And with that, I mentioned to her that I think she had answered all my questions and concerns. That we were done.
But as I got up to leave, I asked her one question that had been burning in my mind for a couple of years. Having read my book, Chief, you know what it is. I asked her, “is anything ever going to happen with that Dutch chick?” I left the reference completely vague on purpose. I did not explain who the Dutch chick was or give any details behind the question, and she did not ask for any. She simply responded, “there will be opposition.”
She had no idea if the “Dutch chick” had anything to do with Israel or my purpose or anything. But she gave an answer of someone intimately familiar with the situation, and that knew how the “Dutch chick” tied in to everything else that we had been talking about. I made no response. I simply looked at her in a knowing resignation as I gathered my things, thanked her, and left the room.
Now it was time for the girls to have their turn. After we were all done, the three of us left and discussed our impressions of our sessions. I don’t remember much about what Caterpillar said. She said that she was impressed, but beyond that I can’t remember the details. Caterpillar is a private person. She is so loving and devoted to others that it is very difficult for her not to be subsumed by the wills and desires of others to the result that she feels quite strongly like she has to comply and impress them. She is often fundamentally crushed under the weight of her sensitivity and devotion to others. Her answer to this is to keep a lot of her personal issues to herself and only express them in limited contexts. Interestingly, this is often a point of difficulty with her bestie and non-biological sister, X-23, who often lives life like a bronco bucking and kicking through a crowd of dancers at a wedding. It’s also been a point of difficulty at times with me, as I have been known to expect a certain amount of thick skin in order to be able to lay the truth out on the table at all times. So out of sensitivity to her sensitivity, I didn’t press for too many details.
X-23 said some things that I won’t forget, though. She said that she was quite open with her about her history. X-23’s history is dark, Chief. I mean it’s freaking DARK. And the fortune teller’s answer showed me yet another demon on her shoulder. She gave X-23 the advice that she had to always put herself first, never give up, and fight everyone and everything unto the end. This struck me as a typical feminist answer of female empowerment that dominates world society at this point. It is also fundamentally opposed to the message of God and the Torah. Yes, the Torah talks about wars to the death between Israel and the neighboring tribes living in the land, but these stories represent the battle between love and hate, good and evil. They ultimately tell us that the way that we slay the heathen tribes in our lives is through love. I was not happy about the psychic’s advice to my girl. Yes, we do have to fight. I find myself fighting against just about everything at times. But the message of the fortune teller was incomplete. The way we fight is not with swords or words of pain. It’s through love. Truth can be a hard pill to swallow at times, and conflict occurs. Judgment has to be accepted, and it can be difficult to do so. But forgiveness, love, acceptance, and mercy are the glue that allows these difficulties to be overcome and these battles to be truly won.
I didn’t have much to say about what X-23 said. I thought I would have sounded preachy in that specific context. I just learned her condition, what the fortune teller said to her, and would know the things that I would be saying to her in the future. So our experience with the psychic had concluded. And with that, the three of us went to eat Korean barbecue.