Monday, 29 April 2013

Bug Off!

More insanity from the esoteric side of the street, as it's Monday and all...

Everyday that I work at the tarot shop, Madame X asks me how many readings I want. I am supposed to announce my desires to the universe in the hopes that these desires will manifest into actual readings, therefore cashola. But I've kind of given up on that whole thing, because it never happens and she always adds on to it anyway.

I was especially cynical this morning, because I woke up to snow flurries. Piss me off. So when she asked me, "What do you want today?", I said, "I want to accept with grace whatever the universe sees fit to send me."

"Okay, Universe, Sharon wants six hours and three half hours! Thank you for manifesting this desire today, April 29, 2013!"

I think I had three hours in total, which was more than I was anticipating, but still...

Then, a few minutes later, she called out to the staff, "Someone needs to look up beetles on the internet! I'm finding beetles in my house!"

"What kind of beetles?" I asked.

When she described them, it was pretty clear that what she was talking about are sow bugs.

"Don't worry about it," I said. "They're a little creepy, but they don't harm anything, so they won't wreck your stuff."

"But what does it mean when you find them in your house?" she said.

"That spring is coming and the bugs are emerging?"

She thought I was being funny. But seriously, why would you look for a deeper meaning than that?

Oh, and to top it all off? Client Number One of the day said to me, "I have a mental health issue."

Actual quote. Fuck my life.

Anyway, I had a terrific time at the Calgary Comic-con this weekend. I have a fabulous story to tell about my encounter with Carrie Fisher that all of you will enjoy, so give me a while to get my poop in a group and I'll get it out there, hopefully before the week is out.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Taro...oh, no! Here Comes Another Crazy!

I'm all for going beyond one's comfort zone and trying something new, expanding one's horizons and broadening one's mind. But, in certain circumstances, one really must come to the conclusion that one is not really cut out for certain kinds of work, or that one lacks the skill set to perform a particular job properly.

This is what has happened to me with regard to tarot reading at the shop, where since December, for two days a week, I have gazed into the misty future for all manner of people. A good percentage of those people have been excellent candidates for the puzzle factory. I have related some of my experiences here. Not surprizingly, nothing has changed, except that I have finally become so fed up with the rampant craziness that, following the Victoria Day weekend, I am going back to one day a week at the shop.

There are two recent clients that stand out as memorable.  One has an official mental health diagnosis who only comes to see me because she wants to know if there is a future in a relationship with one of her professionals, who is married with children and is completely unaware of her feelings for him. ("No.") it just doesn't sit well with me to take money from someone who is on a fixed income due to a mental health issue.

The other one was a nice Christian lady who suffers from bi-polar and snow mould: she doesn't work because she can't, and the government won't give her money for disability because her husband makes too much money. And her questions? "We're really poor, and I'm just wondering if my finances are going to turn around for us anytime soon. I really don't know where the money goes." (Really? *cha-ching!* Cuz I do! That will be $100.00 please.)

It has become rather obvious to me of late that I simply lack many of the skills needed to read tarot effectively for most of my clients. Oh, I can build a narrative with the best of them and I know the cards inside out and backwards. That's not the problem.  The problem is that I am intrinsically pragmatic and don't necessarily buy into all the attendant crap that goes along with this kind of industry. I'm not a gypsy. I don't connect you to your spirit guides. I don't even necessarily believe in spirit guides. I do not speak to the dead and I will not take pictures of your aura. My stones are purely decorative. Incense is for in case one of us farts during the reading. Also I like the smell of nag champa. Have deck, will travel, I don't need anything else, like candles.

I also, it must be admitted, lack a certain tolerance and compassion. I must be honest. I have a very general sense of compassion for those less fortunate than I, but, while I would never do anything cruel or degrading to such a person, neither do I have any desire whatsoever to have them in my office. This is best left to professionals who went to university and took the degrees to do the job properly. I do not want the responsibility or the hassle, because I am made uncomfortable by whatever infirmity plagues them.

For example, on Monday, after my first crazy client of the day ("No, I will not put some cards down and tell you what someone else is thinking. That's not ethical."), I heard a small, piping voice coming from the front of the shop.

"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Are we going? Are we going? Are we going now? Are we going now or what? Mommy! Mommy!"

Then the shop went quiet, except for the Deva Premal cd that is on constant rotation, and to which I am forced to listen for eight hours every Monday and Friday. I looked up, and in the doorway was a small child, roughly four or five years old, and clearly a victim of Down's Syndrome. He stood there, staring at me for a second, and then he got up onto the chair across from me and blew out all my candles.

I stared at him in silence, wondering how difficult it would be to beat an aggravated assault beef against a retarded child. I was on the verge of deciding to punch him in the throat anyway, when his mother magically appeared and hustled him out the door, apologizing.

So you see? If you asked me to my face if I feel badly for people who are intellectually diminished, I would tell you in all sincerity that yes, it is an deeply unfortunate thing and I am grateful every second of every day that I am not likewise afflicted. And I do mean that. I really do. Nevertheless, get out of my office.

Now, if it was just the clients--and the client's occasional child--that would be one thing. The other issue I am having is that the chick who owns the shop is just as crazy as her customers. I'll call her Madame X. Madame X is rigid and has some really impressive control issues. She will not leave the store even to get her own lunch, "in case something happens". Recently, she was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection that was bordering on pneumonia, yet she never missed a single day of work. The same is true of her bladder infections, which occur because she puts off using the facilities because she is so busy multi-tasking.

That's none of my business (although she talks about it and describes the symptoms candidly during work hours), but it illustrates how off-balance her behaviour is, and how screwed up her priorities. I mean, it's not like she doesn't have staff, she does, but she can't relinquish control long enough to get over a serious illness. That's a problem.

She is plenty whacky in other ways, too. From my dark little room, I can often hear her thanking Archangel Michael and Archangel Raphael and Merlin (!!!) for favours granted to her.

She believes implicitly that she is an "empath", which is apparently someone who picks up on the feelings and pains of others. It is not at all unusual for her to blurt out, "Okay, who's got the headache?" It doesn't matter if customers are present; she'll ask them, too. If someone admits to having the headache, she will ask permission to tape a lithium crystal to their forehead (because apparently, Tylenol is too complicated). So then the staff member or customer goes about their business with a rock scotch-taped to their melon.

If, however, no-one cops to the pain, the show is even better. Then she says, "Oh, this must be So-and-So's" (even though they may be across town), and she goes down on all fours wherever she is standing and asks the Universe to "sever ties" so that she no longer has to carry the pain. I think it's funny that it never occurs to her that it could be her own goddamned headache or lower back pain, it always has to be someone else's.

She has a lot of jewellery stuck to the wall behind the till with that silly putty sticky stuff that is meant as a temporary adhesive. If  a piece of jewelley falls to the floor (and what are the chances, given the temporary nature of the stuff), there is great meaning to it, depending on the design or the stones ("Oooh! Jade! Abundance! Sales are going to pick up!").

I could go on and on, but the bottom line here is that I just can't immerse myself any longer in that pool of foolishness. I used to enjoy reading tarot, now I resent it, because in so many cases, it seems exploitive of the wrong people. I'm being asked to provide a service for people who are in no position to benefit from it. And the woman pimping me out has but a tangential connection to reality.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to consult my pendulum on where my youthful idealism went.