Thursday, January 05, 2006

the future in the palm of my hands

I had my palms read the other night. Saw a sign in a coffee shop window and impulsively went it. Something about the start of a new year turns me toward plans, goals and that curiosity about the future. Where will I be at this time next year? What will I be doing? Never one to be locked in one place, a year can often bring radical differences (and usually at least 2 changes of address).

So what did Jocelyn, the palm reader, have to tell me?

She was a blonde woman, perhaps in her late fifties, with short hair and glasses. A face not unkind, but not warm. I did not get the sense of strange mystical powers, but more of a housewife who has studied hard and approaches each client with academic sincerity.

She pulled a lamp toward my outstretched hand and spent about five minutes tracing the lines of my hands with a black ballpoint pen - first my right, then my left. The right she told me is my conscious side, the part of me I have affected. The left is more innate, what I was born with. She picked up some insecurity on the left, but said my self-doubt and anxieties shown on the right I had done to myself. "Question self / Trust in self" she wrote on heel of my right.

She also wrote a few other things - 'open mind', 'avid reader'. "You can be giving," she said, and added that I enjoyed the arts. 'Curious' she wrote, 'worries'.

She made a number of hatches on the lines she drawn, then seemed to use those marks to come up with significant years. Apparently my 30th year was supposed to be big for work, but I must have missed that somehow. My chance may come around again when I turn 35. For relationships the big years are 32 and 35 - she said that could mean a new relationship, a marriage, a child, etc. Pretty much covered her bases. She thinks I'll have 2 children.

I can't say my future is much clearer for having let Jocelyn peer at my hands and write all over them. For a few hundred times what I paid her I could go to a clinic in Ottawa and get a genome test that would predict my chances of having cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's and other diseases. That test, though highly debated by ethicists, doctors, and geneticists, would likely tell me more than she could. But the problem with predictions is that they can never tell the whole story. It's like peering through the keyhole and trying to describe the room.

I don't know what I was really looking for in having my palms read. Some confirmation of who I am perhaps? Do it make it more true that I am an avid reader with a curious mind because a woman claimed to see that written in my palms. That she did not see I am a writer, does that make me less of one?

It is one of my core beliefs that as humans we spend a lot of time running around trying to get others to confirm who we believe we are. A desire to be understood is, I believe, one of our most fundamental motivators.

Even when it makes us do strange things like pay $20 to get our hands written on.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Your story of getting ink on your hands is much nicer than mine. Mine involves a drunk, young idiot, some broken car windows, and a ride to the police station in a cruiser. It didn't cost me twenty bucks though. Thank you for helping me see the bright side.

    Just thought I'd leave a little message to let you know that I found your site. I'll be back.