Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Public Offering

I’m so glad I’m not a celebrity. I have an inkling every once in a while of what it’s like to be pursued by the wrong person.

In my Tarot life, I originally set up my Facebook account to the settings that make everything public. 

My background in technology has taught me that no matter how personal a conversation you thinking you’re having, if it’s electronic, it’s recorded somewhere and accessible by people other than the one you think you’re talking to. So I originally figured my Tarot life was open, out loud, ordinary, unremarkable or at least amusing.

Recently, some strange things have been showing up in my electronic world so I took advantage of the Facebook settings to limit access somewhat. It’s helped a little but there are still stories to tell.

When I was younger and svelte, I got used to catcalls from construction workers. I thought they were disgusting and stupid but also threatening, that implied threat that men stronger and faster than I am could overpower me if they dared. Oh, I would have put up a fight, no doubt. But the fear, just the fear, that made what should sound like a compliment turn into something menacing was bullying on a level that terrified me, revolted me and basically made all men seem like coarse slime. I hated that feeling. I liked men, still do, so why would they do something so mean? I realized I was an object, not a person in that instance. I didn’t want to be an object.

Then one day while I was in the public library in my unremarkable town in southern Illinois, the police swarmed in and surrounded the young man on the other side of the stacks from me. I had not noticed. The policeman and librarians told me later. He was stalking me. As I hummed happily to myself, savoring books on antique glass and china, looking up marks and dates and manufacturers, researching patterns and processes, then popping over to Agatha Christie, remembering my mother saying she could write a better mystery (she never did), I noticed the Army green jacket through the stacks and thought idly how odd it was that the guy was interested in the books on the other side of the shelves. When the police came and took him away, I was stunned, then shaken, then scared, then reassured. I’d dodged some awful situation and was grateful for others looking out for me.

Cyber-stalking can be much more subtle. Someone can have the account of someone you know or they can friend a bunch of your friends. Then they send you a friend request and you check—briefly—and think even if you don’t recognize the name, the folks in your home town or your Tarot community must be real friends with this person and you might accept their offer.

Most of the time people are just people, not stalkers or creeps. They have good days and bad. They have political opinions you agree with or don’t, take subjects too seriously or not seriously enough, have pet causes that resonate with yours—or not. Most of the time, people are OK.

Then there are people who presume to be innocuous enthusiasts who are actually advanced hackers who are looking for something valuable to them in your world. I don’t “get” why people would do this, but then again I’m too nice. I don’t get why people will threaten each other or feel threatened by someone, why people will hurt animals or feel little regard for nature or other people, why people will persist in sharing negativity and spurn any ideas on how to resolve it. I don’t “get” that. That’s me.

And some people just feed off others’ energy. My friend Fortune says there is a word in Danish, superlomsk. It’s the “creeptastic” feeling you get when being menaced by a vampire only perhaps moreso. Sometimes it’s just love. Sometimes, it’s like the Devil.

Reading in public venues opens me to a wide variety of people and their problems. I’m glad to be able to help in some small way and always emphasize to my clients in public or private readings that they have free will. They can choose their next actions. But I get surprised sometimes, of course.

Recently I had my table up at a public venue. Happily in the shade on a warm midday, I welcomed the brave souls who had never, ever had a Tarot reading before. A few of the readings were upbeat. A few were heavy and deep. As the sun rose high in the weekend sky, I stood to stretch my legs, knocked my cards off my table, laughed and bent to pick them up. I looked up to see a middle-aged man in a polo shirt and khakis walking towards the table, smiling. I quickly scooped up the rest of the fallen cards, then looked up.

He stood in front of my table smiling, looking at me with shark’s eyes, blue irises thin around suddenly wide chasms of pupils. He was an unremarkable man, clean, clean-shaven, medium everything except his close-cropped light-brown hair around his balding hairline.

“Hiiiiiiiii, Marrrrrrrciaaaaaaa.” He looked me up and down and scanned my table. He paused too long. Something wasn’t right.

“Did you want a reading?” I asked, still standing, not wanting to make myself smaller in front of a predator. I smiled too. It was self-defense. I faced him square on.

“I just have one question,” he said, shark eyes never leaving mine as he spoke. “Is there anyone here as pretty as you are?”

A thousand things filled my mind, all the alternate realities based on my response. I assessed the effectiveness and lung capacity should I determine screaming bloody murder at a Farmers Market was the right response. My matching alternate personalities appeared in my mind, only. I reviewed the possibilities:

SmartAss: Still live with your mom, huh?

BabyBoomer: That line didn’t work 30 years ago either.

CompletelySarcastic: Eeek. It’s a man.

PublicOfficial: Move along, sir. There’s nothing to see here.

And a lingering favorite, NinjaPsychic: Back up slowly or I will kill you with my mind.

I resisted all those temptations, understanding that any engagement, positive or negative, was the response he wanted. Whether he was a socially awkward sincere admirer or serial killer or anything in between, the answer was still, No. No way. What part of no…? No, thank you.

I gestured broadly with both arms wide, again increasing apparent size, some lizard-brain reaction from some non-human ancestor.

“Why, look around you! Everyone is pretty here!”

He stepped back, shark-eyes back to blue, hands in pockets and turned away.

I offer my services reading cards for a small fee. I have boundaries. And I like this work. If you want to meet me, strike up a real conversation with me. Leave the lines and the shark-eyes at home.

Best wishes.

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