What happens when you visit a psychic and only want to find out answers to pop culture questions? Break out the sandalwood incense.
The smell was what immediately caught my attention. It wasn’t like stepping foot in the wing of a hospital where one is greeted with an antiseptic assault mixed with that yet-to-be-classified odor that is human despair. No, this was overpowering. One scan of the small reception area and my eyes settled on a piece of incense spewing from a makeshift Diet Coke perch. Sandalwood, or something close to it I reasoned. The seating area was made up of a droopy couch that was covered in a blood orange-colored tapestry that wasn’t quite long enough to do the trick, so the arms took on the look of cigarettes spouting out from mustached lips. I settled into it, locking eyes with a disinterested receptionist who from my vantage point was merely a bespeckled bobble head framed by what can only be described as “mystical” Tchotchkes. Over her left shoulder was a brownish/red curtain that I assumed was where she did her forecasting. She being a psychic, who we will simply refer to as Ms. Moon moving forward for reasons of privacy and so as not to ruin her reputation should her predictions be far from accurate. I was here to get her thoughts about some of 2014’s greatest mysteries. While experts in various fields like to give their opinions, I reasoned that an outside source might provide a baseline of sorts.
After about 10 minutes, a woman emerged from the back holding a grande cup of Starbucks coffee wrapped in ring-clad fingers. She was smallish – about 5’5″ with a paunch that protruded right at you as if you were wearing 3D glasses. She greeted me with a hug befitting a stranger, allowing shoulders to touch but other points of the body to stray away.
“Hi,” I said. “We talked on the phone. I’m the guy who has some questions that are a little out of the ordinary.”
She knew who I was immediately. I could see it in her eyes that she was rethinking the hug she just gave me.
“You think what I do is a joke, don’t you?”
We spent another 20 minutes in the waiting room as I tried to assure her that I wasn’t here to belittle her craft – and that I fully realized that troubled people came to her all the time looking for relief about very serious issues like abusive partners, chemical dependencies and other life speed bumps that pop up on the regular. I reiterated that my aim was to seek out a wholeheartedly objective opinion. That was it. I wasn’t here for A Current Affair to expose anybody. I even wrote that sentiment down on a piece of paper for her for record keeping. But let’s step back for a moment.
Before I even showed up I did my research. No, there isn’t a Yelp-like service where soothsayers are given a rating based on their track record. Rather, there seems to be an operating procedure when it comes to seeking out advice. One should avoid “yes” or “no” questions because those type of inquiries inevitably lead to more questions which ultimately defeats the purpose. Additionally, “should” questions are taboo, as are “when,” “where” and “who.” I was quickly understanding how psychics stayed in business – you couldn’t ask a whole lot and they had a certain reasoning for not wanting to answer anything regarding specifics. Their business is rooted in the esoteric and my whole goal was to get answers regarding things that were inevitably going to happen. Yet, when I talked with Ms. Moon the phone, she seemed to like the novelty of tackling pop culture minutia.
The “reading room” was more like a spare bedroom in a person’s house that had slowly morphed into a closet. Remnants of renovations gone awry and swatches of fabric lined the periphery while a small table with wobbly wooden chairs took up space in the middle. I scanned the table for mystical cards or gems of some kind, but it seemed like the only fireworks display would be one of the internal variety. We settled into the chairs and got started.
*note: Ms. Moon needed explanations/clarity about certain subjects in order better “understand” how to make a reading.
What will the Kanye West and adidas collaboration be like?
The facts: adidas has a history of working with designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Kazuki Kuraishi, Takahiro Miyashita, Jeremy Scott and Mark McNairy. Kanye West’s deal with the imprint is estimated to be worth $10 million USD, plus royalties. In the months since the announcement, adidas has confirmed additional partnerships with the likes of Pharrell Williams and NIGO.
Ms. Moon: The shoes will be a direct reflection of how he was feeling at the time. He is a passionate person. Insatiable, even. They will be more accessible.
I pressed her on what she meant by “accessible.”
Ms. Moon (continued): Either in the inherent design of the product or how they will be delivered. More people will understand his vision. Starting from scratch is a universally relatable sentiment. Everyone has the chance to say “hello” for a second time.
What can you tell us about the “Power Laces?”
The facts: Back in 2011, Nike MAGs brought the futuristic looks of Marty McFly to the feet of sneaker collectors. At a recent event at the Jordan Brand’s Flight Lab, Tinker Hatfield was asked, “Are we gonna see Power Laces in 2015?” He replied, “To that, I say yes!”
Ms. Moon: We must be weary of looking toward films as a mile-marker for what we deem to be progress. They will come, but at a cost.
Cost, meaning, “labor issues/negligence?”
Ms. Moon (continued): Meaning that the initial intrigue will quickly be overshadowed by how and where they were created.
Will the OutKast reunion lead to bigger things for the duo?
The facts: OutKast has planned 40 festival stops including performances at the likes of the Hangout Festival , Coachella, Counterpoint, OVO, Big Guava, and The Governors Ball. Yet, Big Boi has confirmed that this reunion doesn’t mean that there’s a new OutKast album on the way.
Ms. Moon: They no longer thirst for “bigger.” “More” doesn’t interest them. They are worried that excess will tarnish their legacy, so I don’t believe that new music is on the horizon for them.
Will the World Cup go as predicted?
The facts: Spain is the top-ranked soccer nation but not the top betting choice to win the 2014 World Cup. That honor goes to host Brazil who are 3/1 favorites – followed by Argentina at 9/2, Germany at 11/2, defending-champion Spain at 7/1, Belgium at 14/1, France at 20/1, and Italy, Uruguay and Colombia at 22/1. The last home country to win the World Cup was France in 1998 and West Germany in 1974 before that.
Ms. Moon: As you’re probably well aware, things rarely go as expected. I suppose that explains our interest with athletic competition. The pressures associated with having to accomplish something is taxing – especially given the weight of an entire nation. I don’t see Brazil winning unless they approach it with a resolute disinterest.
Will J.J. Abrams’ version of Star Wars focus on characters we’re already familiar with or emphasize a completely different version of “a galaxy far, far away?”
The facts: The script for Episode VII is complete. It will focus on events following Return of the Jedi (the final film of the original trilogy). Abrams has discussed casting after rumors began circulating that Jesse Plemons (of Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad notoriety) was a top choice to be the lead, saying he “is one of the actors that we’ve talked to.”
Ms. Moon: …
Ms. Moon paused for a while. She seemed suddenly racked by some kind of guilt.
“I can’t speak objectively about that.”
“I love Star Wars. I’ve read everything I can about Episode VII.
“I’d be telling you not predicting.”
“Jesse Plemmons is going to be Ben Skywalker.”
I left a short time after. I could sense that Ms. Moon was facing a moral quandary where she questioned if she was giving me legitimate advice or if she were influenced by Star Wars sub-Reddit. I’ll never forget my time with Ms. Moon. The smell of incense will do that to a person.
Alec Banks is a Los Angeles-based writer who can be found @smart_alec_