Years ago, my mother and I went to see a fortune teller at the beach. I was 15; she was 38. I was thrilled to be going. I owned two paperbacks on palm reading and a few others on Being a Leo. (Why I was so into my horoscope, I have no idea, especially since Leo is known to be the Bitch of the Zodiac.)
To my mother, the fortune teller described that there would be two significant men in her life: one younger, one older. Although the younger one would be fun, the older one would be the lasting relationship.
This was the sort of news that a person likes to hear. Specific. Promising. A little sexy.
This is the fortune I got: "You're a good girl. And you try very hard."
You think? I'm fifteen years old and hanging out with my mom at the beach. Of course I'm a good girl who tries very hard.
Why does this stuff fascinate me? (It still does. I can watch John Edward's Crossing Over all day long.) I don't believe in destiny, that you can look at my palm or read my aura and find that I will have x number of kids, a mate two months older, and my death will come when I'm a healthy old lady in my sleep. (Knock wood.)
But, if the project taught me anything, it's that I also can't believe 100% in self-determination either. You can't just throw up your hands, but surely, there will be the unforeseeable, I'm convinced. It's not destiny but chaos.
I've been thinking lately about this $5 fortune. Could it have been some sort of Ocean City koan? You're a good girl (destiny). You try very hard (self-determination). Goodgirl, tryhard, goodgirl, tryhard, around and around.
I wonder what we would have got for $15.
If you are the artist Alison Elizabeth Taylor, would you email me? It's jennifer at practicallyperfectbook.com. Thanks!