I am a woman of many talents… Or at least, that’s what my friend Sheila told me last night. I kinda knew that before she said it. I mean, I know I’m charismatic. And, of course, very beautiful. Although, I think I keep most of my beauty in my boobs. The combination of which means that I’ve talked a lot of people into giving me a variety of jobs over the last twelve years. And I have hobbies; I knit, sew, paint, write, scrap-book, collage and I can make a pretty good avacado-banana salad. But Sheila was just surprised because she found out that I read Tarot Cards.
I guess I don’t talk about tarot cards that much, so I get why she’d be surprised. All of the kids in my family read cards with amazing accuracy. My brother also writes novels, and my sister makes jewelry, and paints and draws, and makes clothes. I’ve always wondered if it was an artistic thing. And then I don’t know, so I give up and spend a few minutes pitying my parents, who wanted us all to go to college and get real jobs, and have careers with clear trajectories. And then I get distracted thinking about my brother’s short stories, and I worry about finding him a publisher. And then I worry about finding me a publisher. And I forget to figure out if reading Tarot with accuracy is connected to creative ability.
My first cat’s name was Tarot, because even though he was completely feral, he looked like he knew how to be loved, and love me back. I got him from a crazy-cat lady in California. She’d found him in a garbage can. He was six months old, and he’d never lived inside. It took me a year until he let me pet him, and even then, I had to corner him in the bathroom, and use thick gloves my sister gave me to pick him him, and put him on my lap, while he yowled. I prayed he didn’t scratch my eyes out, while I pet him over an over again, saying fiercly “Someday you’ll like this!’
I was pretty feral when I got him, I’d just estranged myself from my family, and I was 22, living in my hometown, all of my friends had gone away to college, and I didn’t know how to make new ones. I was working 90 hours a week, and I wasn’t sure if my life was going to be worth fighting for. Taming Tarot was one of the few things that gave my life direction and trying to show him love injected compassion into my angst-ridden existence. And slowly, as he started to look to me for love, so did I. I got some therapy, and started coffee-shop slutting around again, and he started letting me cuddle with him at night. And all the while, I read my own cards over and over again, for guidence.
The thing is, my cards always told my future. And it scared me a little. And one day, four years later, I was at college -I’d gone back to school to get my tiny Sociology degree- and I got the New Location card. Which always means I’m going to move. I called my Fake Husband, who I lived with at The Fun House and told him. “You don’t have to move just because the cards say you do!” he blustered. “No. You don’t understand, I don’t want to move, but the card came up, and when it does something outside of my control is going to happen, and so I’m going to.” I was sad. And a little frustrated. I liked our ginormous house of awesome. But Steve and I always seemed to be arguing this was just one more thing. He’s still kinda Christian in his thinking. And things like Tarot cards are spooky and a little wrong. “Well, just because your cards say it doesn’t mean you have to do it.” He hung up quickly. I glared at the phone. Unbenknownst to both of us, Crazy Dennis, our Speed-Freak landlord was breaking into the Fun House at that very moment, so he could leave an eviction notice in my bedroom on the back of an envelope. I found it when I got home from school. “What do you think about Tarot now?” “I just try not to think about it.”He replied uncomfortably. And I thought “Well, if Steve can ignore the fact that Tarot’s real, than I can too.” So, I put my cards away, and I moved to Portland. Tarot died when we moved here, he’d gotten into a fight and some other cats sharp parts had knicked his lungs. The vet said if I’d had a million dollars, I might not have been able to save him. And I was so sad, I couldn’t say the word for a long, long time. I ran out and got two kittens to replace him three days after he died. They were cuddly and cute and open and loving and so opposite him, I put the cards and the cat away in my mind and I haven’t thought much about either since.
But the last six months have been hard on me. I love my life. But it’s become unpredictible and extreme. And every day something huge happens, and I have to figure out how to deal with it. Some of it is good stuff (which I will reveal to you, dear internet, when it’s all finalized. I don’t want to get your hopes up and then dash them) and some of it is bad stuff. And it’s gotten to the point that I’ve realized that The Universe was right when it decided to give me Tarot Cards.
I had always thought the ability to see my own future was a consolation prize for giving me such a shitty childhood, abusive parents and a stubborn nature. But now that I’ve had some therapy, and my abusive childhood is no longer the defining thing in my life. I mean, I still think about it sometimes, but it not longer hurts my feelings that those things happened to me. And I’ve started to accept my stubborn nature, and give it some begrudging props. I wouldn’t have gotten this far with my Snarky Cards if I hadn’t been so sure that this was the best way to make myself a writer. I’ve wanted to be a professional writer since I was 6. I made a promise to myself that I would one day be a writer. Which is why I’ve worked my ass off, 90 hours a week for two and a half years, hungry half the time, promising myself it would get better if I could just stand being poor and scared and tired and hungry for another year. Stringing myself along, ignoring kind-hearted people who told me over and over again to get a real job and work on my dreams part-time. “Like a normal responsible person”. Because I’m stubborn. And I said I would finish this. And I said it would make me a writer. And I don’t have a goddamn book published yet.
Lately I’ve begun to think that rather than being a consolation prize for a hard life, my Tarot Cards tell my future because my life is so weird, and totally unpredictible, and I need some advance warning about what’s coming up so that I can get ready. And The Universe knows that, and so it gives me a heads up out of consideration. And, maybe the advance warning of what’s going to happen next will allow me some mediocum of security in a world where I depend on Strangers in Bars to pay my rent. Or, as I did last night at Kelly’s Olympian and Meridian Gold Dust, the electric bill and phone bill. -Thank you Strangers in Bars! Todays electricity is brought to me from you! And also: Cute-Boy-Rich: Please stop intonating that we’re going to make-out and then disappearing. You are a cunt tease. Nobody likes a cunt-tease. Next time I see you, you better be cornering me in a bathroom and trying to grope me.
So, tomorrow night Fenbi’s playing a show again. FINALLY! They’ve asked me to read Tarot for anybody and everybody. I will be doing that for $5 a reading at the Ash Street Saloon from 8pm until close-to-closing. A word of warning though: When Fenbi plays, you need to shut-up and dance. That’s what I’ll be doing. So -before and after the cute boys entertain us with deliciously dancable music-you can get your present, and possibly your future read for $5. I’ll bring some Snarky Cards too, so anyone who wants to peruse through those can.
I’m off now, to try and make some sort of gypsy costume, so that I’ll look like a vagrant fortune-teller. I hope to see you tomorrow night!