Monday, April 12, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

I live in a 200-year-old house with my husband, two kids, and a really old lady. She makes herself scarce. In fact, you wouldn’t even know she’s there: the problem is, she’s a ghost who’s sucking my life energy and plans to expel me from my home when she’s done.

At least, that’s what the psychic told me. Just before she told me to sell and run.

Apparently, I’m not alone in seeking psychic guidance these days. It’s one of the few industries that’s on the rise as we all search for answers in these unstable times. Macbeth would have fit right in. And the Weird Sisters would be making a killing (to supplement their actual killings).

But this old lady was not fitting in to my plans: How was I supposed to sell my house in a plummeting housing market?

Bridget would know. When I was living in California, I was devoted to her. She could see your life like a comic strip running alongside your head. She had to stop driving because of all the visual clutter coming from other people on the road.

Unfortunately, Bridget disappeared a few years ago. (Maybe she decided—tragically—to take her car for a spin.) And she did it just when I needed her most. My husband had lost his job, my daughter was facing a medical crisis, and I was a mess.

Desperate for guidance, I drove 250 miles to a Psychic Fair in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

When I entered the Agricultural Hall, it was like walking into the Food Court of my dreams: there were angel whisperers, aura photographers, soul healers. I could gorge myself all day on their predictions.

But I’d given myself a strict spending limit: I decided to take my chances on Karen. She didn’t have Bridget’s pizzazz, but she’d been on some true-crime shows.

I took a seat.

That’s when she dropped the bomb about the old lady sucking my karma dry.

On the long drive home, I considered my dilemma: You don’t have to be psychic to know that selling your house has been a no-win proposition for a while now. Especially if you bought at the height of the housing boom in an area that was over-priced to begin with. Like, say, the Boston suburb I live in.

I let a few years go by and figured I could live with whatever it was I might be living with. But recently I decided I'm ready to sell, so I thought it was time to revisit my possible see-through roommate. I opted for a relatively low-rent spiritual solution-- a quick consultation from a local shaman-lady who came with great recs and a relatively reasonable one-time fee.

I held my breath as she wandered around my house, picking up on its aura. There was a lot riding on this reading. After 30 minutes, she declared us spirit-free! All I had to do was burn some sage to get rid of the old emotions in the walls. Since she didn't try to sell me any more services, crystals, or herbs, I figured she was solid.

I know I should feel comforted. Before this, it was looking like me and the old lady were going to be stuck with each other. Even if we are, she probably won’t expel me any time soon since I can’t sell my house in this market and give her some other victim to latch on to.

But, Bridget, if you’re listening, put down the car keys and give me a call. I know you know where I live.

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