What a lot of psychics there are in LA. You would think that they would have had the foresight to know that opening up three doors away from a rival isn’t going to be good business; but if you walk to West Hollywood or, as I did today, back from Melrose Avenue to Beverly Hills (think of the longest walk you have ever done and treble it), there are, literally, dozens.
No, I still don’t have a car, because I am trying to save money; hence my decision not to take a taxi, either. The one I took to Melrose cost me over $20, and I had to suffer yet another driver trying to get to grips with the fact that Wales is a country in its own right and not a city in England.
For some reason, this fascinates them; and today’s man also wanted to know which were the “friendly” people in the UK. That bit of the conversation was easy: everyone except the English.
The prospect of running out of money and having to return to the depressing British winter is already depressing me, so I thought I would drop in on a psychic to find out when my bumper pay cheque for the book I am writing was likely to arrive.
The Psychic Centre, on La Brea, promised much from the posters that lined the road on my way there; when I found it, a massive sign outside was promising a special $10 dollar reading which, at half the price of the taxi fare, seemed a good deal.
I went up the steps to find four women tucking into their Subway takeaway lunch around a crystal ball and a pile of Tarot cards with crumbs on them. Through a full mouth, the fattest one asked whether I was looking for a reading, and pretty much splattered me with the contents of said mouth when I said Yes.
They then could not decide who was going to do me, but called a scruffy girl of about 18 from the back, who looked pretty cheesed off at having her lunch break interrupted.
“What d’you want?”
“Well, what is there?”
“Tarot, palm, crystal ball, eye.”
I had had my eyeball read once before, when I was doing a health programme for Channel 4, and I hadn’t been very impressed. Did the eyeball of a junk food fanatic show spinning burgers in their depths?
Would my LA eyes now reveal the gallons of carrot juice I am drinking: and, just like the advert, would I be filled with optimism that my future was both bright and orange?
I wasn't really sure that my eyes were going to be the best predictors, as I was wearing some new mineral make-up that I bought at the weekend, and appeared to be suffering an allergic reaction to it; hence my eyes were very red with all the rubbing I had been doing to wipe away the constant torrent of water pouring from them.
“Have you had any of them before?”
“All of them,” I said.
A Tarot reader had once told me that I would have twins. Never happened. A crystal ball reader told me that I would marry someone whose name began with W. Never happened. The only W in my life was a William I once dated, who told me in a Paris café that I was the most intelligent, funny, fantastic woman he had ever met – he just didn’t fancy me. Stuff Paris as the City of Love.
Last year, passing through Turkey on a cruise, I had my Turkish coffee cup read, in the same way that people read tea-leaves. I was told that I spend money on big things (tell me about it – I spent 12,000 euros on a Chloe dress after one too many white wines a couple of years ago), that I would be very rich within three years (one down, two to go), and that a man whose name began with S was going to help my career big-time.
I tell you, if Simon Cowell doesn’t shift his backside quickly, I’m going to be on Skid Row.
My LA psychic was clearly having an off day and seemed highly irritated that I had even deigned to enter the room, let alone demand anything once inside.
“Is it all right if I tape it?” I asked, producing my Blackberry. That was a definite no-no. “Can I take notes?” “No. We don’t like that. It’s supposed to be private. Why would you want to tape it?”
Honestly, this was like pulling teeth. I could have finished this life, gone to an after one, AND returned as a sub-species in the time it was taking her to predict the next . . . Well, how many years? Heck, I only wanted to know as far as September. At this rate, I would be lucky to know what I was going to have for dinner.
“So what d’you want?”
“Okay, I’ll have the eye.”
“You want me to read your eyeball?”
“Yes, let’s go for that.”
“But your sign outside says that you’re doing a special deal for $10.”
“Yeah, that’s a palm reading.”
“Okay, I’ll have one of those.”
“To be honest, it’s not very accurate.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake. I read my friends’ palms all the time and am deadly accurate. I have told them about things in their pasts that they have not even shared with their closest family and friends. I have made grown men cry with the accuracy of my palm-reading.
I can even read my own. I’m going to be very successful, but there is going to be a clean break of some sorts before I achieve that ultimate success (could that 6000 miles across the Atlantic be it, I have wondered?).
I’m going to live a long life and I won’t have any kids (my 50 year old body fills in the gaps that my palm has left out on that one).
Clearly, there was going to be no such insight in LA, so I walked out of the centre without having spent a dollar and muttering something about it all being a bit of a con.
In fact, given my own skills in this area – certainly, compared to the La Brea ghoul - I think I could open up a psychic centre in LA and do very well out of it.
The way the money is going, together with Mr Cowell’s ongoing silence, it looks as if it might be my only option. Dollar for your thoughts, everyone. You know where I am.