I have become accustomed to the alternate reality of hairdressers. I look forward to the time apart from my life. Stepping aside, for a few hours, from the vigorous aggressiveness of being. And as I step through the worm hole of time, into the salon, I let out a sigh of relief. I have come for my ritual shearing and I can already feel the layers starting to drop away. Today, however, I am taken slightly off guard. In addition to the tanning room, waxing of all things hairy, eyebrow tattooing and nails- to- go on offer at my hairdressers, there is now also a psychic. While your colour cures in your hair and sends its toxic fumes out to the ether you can spend the time being useful and preparing for your future, whatever that may be. $40 for 40 minutes with your very own psychic. And when she is not busy she sweeps the floor.
She stands next to me with eyebrows raised and broom poised. Asking me to choose. The broom loses. I follow her, all dripping chemicals and burning eyes into the waxing room, where all will be revealed, peeled away, exposed. Ouch.
We both make ourselves comfortable. She perches on a stool and I sit opposite. We both use the massage table to lean on. Organised and businesslike she supplies me with clipboard and pen. I momentarily wonder if I am interviewing people here today, channeling my own inner news reporter. No. Apparently I am to take notes.
I make a heading. ‘My Future’. Good start I feel.
There is always the preamble with psychics. Mystical static. Tuning in and getting the sound right. I’m not one for small talk so I largely ignore the first round of messages. You know, house repairs, health issues and finances. All the things I ignore in life generally. My ears prick up though when my spiritual guides move toward the territory of the heart. What does love have in store? This bit is often pure genius.
I have options. She sees one potential candidate with a pitchfork and pot belly. I may need to learn how to ride a horse and this lucky person gets to teach me. She frowns, maybe you just learn something from this person, it’s not, ummm, romantic. Close call.
The next candidate is described in glowing detail. An Intricately wrought biography ensues. Job, dress sense, hair style, location, work ethos, passions. She looks directly at me and smiles. Pleased as punch with my future and the affirmation from the other side that all is well in the world of happily ever after. See? It can happen. You just need a little faith, a waxing room and a floor sweeping psychic.
I stare in horror. The person she describes is my archetypal nightmare. In every way. Egotistical, self important, saving the world and wearing ghastly clothes. Surrounded by children from Africa, or somewhere like that, because they are black. Clearly there is some otherworld joke going on here. And now I think of it, I’m feeling small and foolish. Shamed partly because I have never lacked faith. It’s a joke within a joke. The mumbo jumbo sucks, however the connection to an inner knowing is real. If you come seeking the ridiculous, you will find it.
Dutifully I continue to take notes as we come down from the crescendo of the romantic fantasy. She is a little breathless and momentarily flushes and says. ‘Sometimes I wish it was my life I was seeing’. Yeah honey, I think, me too.
During the next few weeks I visit with two amazing women, in two countries. Strong, independent, capable types. In very different ways. I glimpse their worlds and momentarily share their domestic spaces. I observe that both of them have small and annoying plumbing dilemmas. Ones they have both attempted to remedy with creativity, skill and patience. To no avail.
And I think of my own domestic space. Plagued as it is with leaking taps and rusting pipes. And that’s the romantic fantasy. And it doesn’t require the mystical arts to foretell. If ever there was to be a chance at love. It would have to come dressed as a plumber.