There are a million ways to avoid work when you're self-employed. Actually, with the Internet factored in, more like a billion. In fact, the essential skill for self-employed work-at-home types is avoiding all those ways to avoid work. But, alas, sometimes, you succumb.
And so it is that I acquired a psychic.
It started out as a somewhat excusable diversion from writing, or polishing up the resume, or scouring job sites, or contacting contacts. I was perusing the Washington Post online. I can almost always rationalize reading the Washington Post online as a business-related activity. Many of my clients are in Washington. I need to keep up with what's happening. I need to toss around the latest political news and gossip as though I've been attending every modish Georgetown soiree (not that I ever attended a Georgetown soiree when I actually lived in D.C.).
Wandering off into the comics section is a bit less excusable. The Washington Post, alone among serious newspapers, has three pages of comics. The tie between politics and comedy is too obvious to belabor. Still. Some of those comic strips are quite topical. Almost required reading for the true Washingtonian.
Clicking on the horoscopes is almost definitely a step too far.
But still, what's the harm. I zip in; I read what's in store for every Aries on the planet that day; I zip out. Then I see the ad. An ad that promises to go beyond the homogeneous anonymity of the standard daily forecast. I can get a forecast tailored to me, specifically, based on my own fabulous personal qualities. I click over.
I don't believe in astrology (though I've always wanted to be a horoscope writer. What a lot of fun that would be). Yet, when I see Jenna's offer of a detailed, free reading outlining all the fantastic stuff that will be happening to me in the very near future, I think, yeah, why not, ok.
Some minimal instinct of wit or self-preservation makes me use a false name (I choose my self-adopted Irish name, Siobhan) when I submit my email and my request for Jenna's free reading. I click. I forget about it. I run out of procrastination options and go back to work.
A few days later I get an email: "Siobhan! Did you get your free reading? I haven't heard from you!" "Who the hell is Siobhan?" I think before remembering it's my Irish alter ego. The email turns out to be a concerned message from Jenna, asking why I haven't responded to the detailed reading she sent me. "I don't think I got any… " I begin musing, "…Ah… I see." Sort of. I know she hasn't sent me anything, and that I'm now supposed to respond and tell her that, but I can't see what the game is. Doesn't matter. The whole thing is boring me now.
A few days later another email arrives from my friend Jenna. Now she's ready to let me in on a few things, willing to overlook my uninformed disinterest. Here's the news: I am about to enter a very, very exciting period in my life. Great! No one could use a bit of excitement right now more than me (I mean it. No one). There's a Transit coming up. Starting approximately March 18th and ending approximately June 14th (Kinda sounds like spring. Sounds very much like spring). Fantastic things will be arriving at my doorstep.
There's a slight problem, however. I, not skilled in the astrological arts, may not know how to use this time to best advantage. It's possible I think I can navigate these charged waters alone. If that's what I think, I'm wrong. To quote Jenna: "Unfortunately, despite the importance and the intensity of the Transit if you just sit back and wait for chances to come along then nothing will happen and you can believe me when I say that this Transit represents a real chance in your life. You won't be living through such an astrologically favorable period for a long time to come."
"Today I simply wanted to tell you, Siobhan, that I am still at your disposition and if you change your mind and you want me to produce this reading for you then it would be a pleasure for me to do so however you must act soon as it is almost too late."
Siobhan decides to go it alone. From March 18 through June 14th I will be up and ready for action, alert to opportunities, seizing them, seizing the day, whatever. I expect that Jenna, disgusted, will accept me as a lost cause. But she gives me one more chance.
"I just wanted to tell you that you entered into the beginning of this Transit a few days ago. If you decide to today then there is still time for me to do your reading for you and so I will give you one last time the link towards my web page. I will leave this page online for you for the next few days."
"Whatever you decide and whatever happens Siobhan, I want you to know that I don't want to bother you any more about this Transit and as a result this will be my last email to you about this. You can always count on me. Your friend, Jenna"
Which of us will crack first? Will she finally break down, forced by the astrologer's code of ethics to tell me what I need to know to get the most out of my Transit? Or will it be me, as the weeks of the Transit tick by, and nothing the least bit exciting happens? Will I start to get nervous? Will I wonder if, perhaps, I could be so much more fabulous if only I would consult my very willing psychic?
Right now, I'm holding steady. So is Jenna. I expect I'll hear from her again.
[Addendum: I have heard from Jenna again, many, many times, most recently in January 2012, to let me know of another transit during which I can expect major positive changes in my life. It's from February 14 – March 12. And today is February 22nd. Which is Fat Tuesday. Wayhey! Laissez les bons temps roulez.]